31 May 2008

Britain's got talent shows

The finals of both BBC's and ITV's big talent shows were held tonight, battling for the Saturday night tv ratings. I'll Do Anything whittled down hundreds of auditionees to find the role of Nancy in the latest Cameron MacIntosh/Andrew Lloyd-Webber West End stage production of Oliver. Meanwhile ITV scoured the "talent" of the country to 10 final acts, in the most part all worthy of a spot on the Royal Variety Performance in Britain's Got Talent.

Now both shows are old fashioned variety, unlike "modern reality tv like Big Brother which starts it's 9th series in the UK on Thursday, but both are entertaining in their own way. Both ramp up the drama, all face-off's between the contestants and dramatic pauses. They are both ultimately voted for by the public (after lengthy audition stages by Lloyd Webber, Simon Cowell and co. I still can't past the fact though, that like karaoke, it's more fun watching the people who think they have talent than the ones that ultimately triumph.

I'll Do Anything finalists:

Winner: Jodie Prenger

Jessie Buckley
Sam Barks

Britain's Got Talent finalists:

Winner: George Sampson - dancer

Runners up:
Signature - comedy asian dancers
Andrew Johnston - dancer in shower

other finalists:
Andrew Muir - annoying young singer
Cheeky Monkeys - nauseous talent kiddie dancers
Escala - babe sting quartet
Faryl Smith - 12 year old amazing opera singer
Kate and Gin - amazing dancing dog (and owner)
Nemesis - urban dance group
Strike - more dancers

30 May 2008

Happy Birthday Sally!

It was my beautiful wife, Sally's birthday yesterday so I thought I'd dedicate a list to her. I didn't do it yesterday as we went out for dinner last night after she'd spent the day shopping in London. Unfortunately I couldn't get the time off work, which was probably a good thing, to let her shop alone! When I came back from work tonight she was on one of her presents, the Wii Fit: highly recommended.

Anyway, here is a list of events that happened on the 29 May:

:: 1660 - Charles II (on his birthday is restored to the throne of Great Britain (the Restoration)

:: 1886 - The first advertisement for Coca-Cola appeared (in the Atlanta Journal).

:: 1913 - The premier of Igor Stravinsky's ballet score The Rite of Spring performed in Paris.

:: 1942 - Bing Crosby records Irving Berlin's "White Christmas", the best-selling Christmas album in ever.

1953 - Edmund Hilary conquers Mount Everest

:: 1954 - First of the mysterious annual Bilderberg conferences for the world's rich and powerful.
:: 1982 - Pope John Paul II becomes the first pontiff ever to visit Canterbury Cathedral.

:: 1985 - Heysel Stadium disaster: , 39 football fans die and hundreds are injured at the European Cup final in Brussels in the match between Liverpool and Juventus.

:: 1999 - Space Shuttle Discovery completes the first docking with the International Space Station.

:: Birthdays: 1630 - Charles II, 1903 - Bob Hope, 1914 - Stacy Keach, 1917 - John F Kennedy, 1949 - Francis Rossi, 1953 - Danny Elfman, 1959 - Rupert Everett, 1967 - Noel Gallagher, 1975 - Mel B, and of course, Sally.

28 May 2008

Most Mourned TV Shows

Communications company Tiscali has done a poll to find out the tv shows the country missed the most when they came to the end of their runs. The usual suspects are in there and it seems the point of them ending has been missed by those asked. Fawlty Towers and The Office finished when they were on top, Only Fools and Horses and Cheers had seen better days and do we really need any more Friends?

Most Mourned TV Shows:
  1. Only Fools and Horses
  2. Friends
  3. Fawlty Towers
  4. Cold Feet
  5. Sex and the City
  6. The Office
  7. Cheers
  8. The West Wing
  9. The Sopranos
  10. The OC

My top five would be:

  1. Twin Peaks
  2. Murder One
  3. Dead Head
  4. Black Adder
  5. I'm Alan Partridge

What would you choose?

27 May 2008

Eurovision Song Contest 2008

The huge farce which is the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Belgrade this weekend and surprise surprise the eastern block countries voted for the neighbours resulting in a win for Russia. The United Kingdom entry, by Andy Abraham, came joint last (with Germany and Poland with just 14 points) as no one likes us, no matter how good the song was (not great but better than Spanish effort, some singing pirates and a 75 year old rapper).

I didn't actually watch it but the results are listed below. We were far too buy having a party for Sally's birthday (where I rewrote the words to the Kaiser Chief's Ruby, the horrendous results can be heard here, along with some photos - link. A lot more entertaining!

  1. Russia - Artist: Dima Bilan - Song: Believe - Points: 272
  2. Ukraine - Ani Lorak - Shady Lady - 230
  3. Greece - Kalomira - Secret Combination - 218
  4. Armenia - Sirusho - Qele, Qele - 199
  5. Norway - Maria - Hold On Be Strong - 182
  6. Serbia - Jelena Tomašević feat. Bora Dugic - Oro - 160
  7. Turkey - Mor ve Ötesi - Deli - 138
  8. Azerbaijan - Elnur & Samir - Day After Day -132
  9. Israel - Boaz - The Fire In Your Eyes - 124
  10. Bosnia & Herzegovina - Laka - Pokušaj - 110
  11. Georgia - Diana Gurtskaya - Peace Will Come 83
  12. Latvia - Pirates Of The Sea - Wolves Of The Sea 83
  13. Portugal - Simon Mathew - Senhora Do Mar (Negras Águas0) - 60
  14. Iceland - Euroband - This Is My Life - 64
  15. Denmark - Vânia Fernandes - All Night Long - 60
  16. Spain - Rodolfo Chikilicuatre - Baila El Chiki Chiki - 55
  17. Albania - Olta Boka - Zemrën E Lamë Peng - 55
  18. Sweden - Charlotte Perrelli - Hero - 47
  19. France - Sébastien Tellier - Divine - 47
  20. Romania - Nico & Vlad - Pe-o Margine De Lume - 45
  21. Croatia - Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents - Romanca - 44
  22. Finland - Teräsbetoni - Missä Miehet Ratsastaa - 35
  23. Germany - No Angels - Disappear - 14
  24. Poland - Isis Gee - For Life - 14
  25. United Kingdom - Andy Abraham - Even If - 14

23 May 2008

Actors that sing

This is not an excuse just to have a picture of the luminous Scarlett Johansson, honestly. She has an album, Anywhere I Lay My Head, out in the past couple of weeks, cover versions of, of all people, Tom Waits (who I love) with backing support from people like David Bowie and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It's had mixed reviews, I haven't heard it myself but it sounds an odd combination. It makes me think it would never have been made had she not been the movie star she was.

It also made me wonder if the records in the following list would have been made if the singers weren't actors.

:: Nick Berry - Every Loser Wins - highest UK chart position: No 1
:: Clive Dunn - Grandad - No 1
:: Windsor Davies and Don Estelle - Whispering Grass - No 1
:: Bennie Hill - Ernie, the Fastest Milkman in the West - No 1
:: Lee Marvin - Wanderin' Star - No 1
:: Jimmy Nail - Ain't No Love - No 1
:: Telly Savala - If - No 1
:: David Soul - Don't Give Up On Me Baby - No 1
:: Bruce Willis - Under the Boardwalk - No 2
:: Dennis Waterman - I Could Be So Good For You - No 3
:: Anita Dobson - Anyone Can Fall In Love - No 4
:: Kate Winslet - What If? - No 6
:: Don Johnson - Till I Love You - No 16
:: Edward Woodward - The Way You Look Tonight - No 42

That's not to mention William Shatner, John Travolta, Judy Garland, Jennifer Lopez, Jim Dale, Richard Chamberlain, Danny Kaye the list is far too long, unfortunately. Can you think of any?

22 May 2008

Ivor Novello Awards 2008

The 53rd Ivor Novello awards for the best in British song writing (as opposed to performance) were held today and Amy Winehouse won the two awards for her song Love is a Losing Game, best song musically and lyrically. Phil Collins, who won the international acheivement know what for, perhaps for moving to and staying in Switzerland!) thanked the gorilla from the Cadbury's ad for taking In the Air Tonight to number one for the third time.

Winehouse turned up late to the ceremony, on the day she was announced as special guest to play the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury, behind headliner Jay_Z. That bodes well for a cracking, on-time performance from the troubled singer.

The Ivors are considered the top awards in songwriting. It's nice to see talent like the Squeeze frontmen, Difford and Tilbrook (who I'm seeing ater in the year as Squeeze having seen both solo) and Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmore being recognised, and Radiohead winning best album. Here is the list of winners:

:: Best song musically and lyrically:
Love Is A Losing Game - Amy Winehouse

:: Best contemporary song
People Help The People - Cherry Ghost

:: Best television soundtrack
Oliver Twist

:: Best original film score

:: PRS most performed work
Shine - Take That

:: Best-selling British song
Beautiful Liar - Beyonce and Shakira

: Album award
In Rainbows - Radiohead

:: International achievement
Phil Collins

:: Ivors Inspiration award
Jazzie B

:: Ivors classical music award
Jonathan Dove

:: Outstanding song collection

:: PRS outstanding contribution to British music
Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook

:: Songwriter of the year

:: Special international award
Diane Warren

:: Lifetime achievement
David Gilmour

Football, a vintage season

Well, I'll keep this short cos I never get any comments on football related threads, but it's been a great season for teams close to my heart. Topped off with Manchester United (the team I support) not only securing the Premier League title but also winning the Champions League in Moscow last night, beating Chelsea on penalties.

It was a fantastic match and the stmosphere at the pub was electric. United were well in control and 1-0 up until Chelsea equalised just before half time. Chelsea were unlucky and powered back into the second half but both teams failed to score again, even after extra time. The penalty shoot out was nail biting and went both ways after misses by both Ronaldo (who had scored United's goal) and Chelsea's John Terry and Nicholas Anelka. But only the winners name will be remembered and Sir Alex Ferguson's side won their 29th trophy under his reign. And Ryan Giggs got his Manchester United record breaking appearance, coming on for Paul Scholes (who missed out playing in United's last Champions League final win in '99).

The best man at my wedding, Nobby, was in Moscow (and is a Chelsea supporter). That result means he remains my best man.

This is a list of why my season has been great:

:: Manchester United won the Champions League
:: Manchester United won the Premier League
:: Portsmouth win the FA Cup (I used to live in Pompey)
:: Peterborough promoted to League One (I live in Peterborough)
:: Exeter promoted to League Two (I used to live in Exeter)

but i is counteracted by:

:: England failing to qualify for Euro 2008

20 May 2008

Added note: Bearded Theory rocked!

Bearded Theory festival was brilliant. Great crowd, great organisation and most of all great fun. The bands were great: unfortunately Dan Donnelly pulled out but The Runners were a fantastic replacement one of the highlights) and one to watch: a spiky, indie band with great songs and the stage presence f a band much bigger. Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs got everyone singing along, the Beetroot Kings were fabulous and should go far (first single release next month), Dreadzone Sound System rocked the dance tent and the open mic stage in the tea tent was inspired, and great fun.

The only complaint could be the weather, aftre two blazing hot weekends it was a little damp and cold. The buzz on the multitude of festivals forums (including the official one) is very good. Well done everyone involved and see you again next year.

Here's a few of my photos. link
And videos of my cousin Al and buddy Keef (who had never played together before) playing on the Open Mic Stage. link 1, link 2

15 May 2008

Bearded Theory: the summer starts here

Well, I'm all packed and ready to go for my first music festival of the year, Bearded Theory, a small charity gathering in Derbyshire. It's going to be brilliant. Sally (my wife) has been heavily involved in organising it (with a little help from me) after the organiser asked for volunteers. She's actually on site now, sorting out last minute preparations and shivering in a tent.
All the profits are going to Oxfam. The ethos of the whole festival is one "for the people, by the people", with everyone mucking in. Even the bands are doing their bit, some have even bought their own tickets so the money goes to Oxfam. Keep an eye out for this one next year because there is a major buzz about this one.

So today's list has to be the line-up of Bearded Theory, check out their web sites (click their names, most have examples of their music), there are some great acts appearing and I can't wai

"We welcome back the wonderful Monkeys to HEADLINE Bearded Theory 2008. 3 Daft Monkeys are one of the biggest and best festival bands around. The 2007 festival scene has seen them make ground breaking appearances at festivals such as Beautiful Days, Glastonbury and Solfest. Whether it's Celtic, Balkan, Gypsy, Latino, Cornish or other World Music you are drawn to, you will hear it's influences in their self written music. Add to this the band's varied backgrounds from Dance, Dub, Punk, Reggae and Traditional Folk, and you have a stunning combination. The Exeter based Monkeys have released a new EP called "Go Tell The Bees" which is available in all good record shops; all is set for this threesome to hit the big time and deservedly so!!"

"Beetroot Kings are a Mansfield based five piece folk/rock/indie band who formed in May 2007. Gary Armstrong lead singer, guitarist and songwriter in The Beetroot Kings states "Luckily we live within a very musical environment and the rest of the line up are all local lads with a passion for the music we have produced”. The sound and style is unique yet palatable to just about any music enthusiast and thus the band has gained a strong following. So now it is for you to listen and hopefully love what The Beetroot Kings have done and will continue to do. THE CALLING E.P is the first studio release from THE BEETROOT KINGS "
"It’s all about dancing, always has been, from tribal drums, mediaeval pipes or a frenzy of voices. To sweaty pub back-rooms, banging nightclubs, free festivals & parties or anywhere there is a beat! Dance music embraces all of this history & Tarantism bring all of these influences into their songwriting & performance, weaving traditional instruments & styles with ska, punk, funk & dub. Along with contemporary lyrical content & imaginative arrangements this produces a unique mix of infectious dance rhythms & memorable tunes, real music that is fun & uplifting!"
"The True Deceivers were formed from the ashes of The Blazing Homesteads. Homesteaders Nick Bliss (guitar and vocals) and Mark Mitchell (fiddle, mandolin and vocals) teamed up with former Plenty frontman Graham Firth (lead vocals and guitar). They were joined on bass by Dee Coley (also a former Homesteader) and on drums by Jamie Legg (Eat The Sofa/ Jonson). The line up was completed by Nick Legg whose lighting and effects create the perfect ambiance for The True Deceivers unique brand of roots/ rock. Expect fiddle driven riffs, catchy tunes and great harmonies – a live experience not to be missed."
"Rev Hammer regards his music not so much as a passport to fame and fortune but as a ticket to ride. He learned to play guitar and sing at the same time and wisely thought busking was the best way to get to a standard where he could play publicly. Rev spent 18 months busking in the streets before he dared stand on a stage. By combining traditional and modern folk styles with jokes and idle banter he is able to create a warm and friendly atmosphere in even the coldest rooms. He is at his best however, when playing small intimate rooms where the audience can feel part of the show. Rev’s song writing has been featured on recordings by a variety of contemporary artists including The Levellers, whose version of “Maid Of The River” featured on their No1 album “Zeitgeist”. REV HAMMER’S FREEBORN JOHN is a musical biography of the radical Civil War unsung hero JOHN LILBURNE, who spoke out for the common man against oppression by the Royalists and then later against Cromwell himself. Rev is one of the country’s foremost modern folk singers. "
"Hobo Jones & The Junkyard Dogs are one of the more unusual acts playing in the UK today. Basically a skiffle band who can skiffle almost anything (including The Pussycat Dolls!) but also a comedy band who will keep you laughing all night while enjoying their own brand of musical entertainment. They seem to make themselves at home anywhere they play; from the corner of a small pub to a large outdoor stage, it doesn't matter where this band play, they can adapt their act to fit any type of venue. The band have supported Dr. & The Medics, Chas & Dave & Bad Manners, won the Maidstone Busker's Festival, played many weekend festivals including Run To The Sun, VW Expo, The Bath & West Bike Show and Beautiful Days Festival. Dressed in tattered suits and top hats, they grab your attention wherever they go and their tongue in cheek comedy & rock n roll skiffle will have you tapping your feet, laughing and singing along in no time."
-unfortunately couldn't make it
"Playing mainly original songs written in a collective environment Flick, as the bands affectionately known, aims to bring you high energy emotive rock music with an emphasis on melody and structure. Now in their fourth year and with more than twenty years live experience between them, Flick are gradually forming a musical style all of their own, which leaves live audiences wanting more and not knowing why! When asked what who they sound like the band cannot say, but quote influences including AC/DC, The Wildhearts, Foo Fighters, Guns and Roses, Pearl Jam and Therapy. Flick pride themselves on being a professional live act and strive to both entertain and tell it like it is. "

"Freedom is the perfect accompaniment for any festival. Not having him playing would be like not bringing scrumpy cider to a festival! Freedom has years of experience in music game and is the grandfather of acoustic music. Freedom is at his best around a campfire singing festival and folk anthems to an appreciated crowd. He will cover almost anything you throw at him and he pulls it off every time. Don’t just expect singing expect story’s of his colourful life and jokes as bad as Jonny Rotton`s socks. His music and personality brings togetherness wherever ever he plays. We are over the moon he agreed to play at Bearded Theory 2008."
"Gail is Britain’s undiscovered queen of folk. Gail has strong vocals that match the legendary Joan Baez and passion for music that can rival Jonny Cash. Gail has been long overlooked for the quality musician which she is. Gail is not afraid to cover sing-a-long anthems which always go down a storm wherever she plays and will surprise you with her own songs such as the beautiful “This Land”. Gail has played at countless festivals over the years such as Wessex Gathering, Lammas Festival and has supported prestigious artists such as Mc Dermott’s 2 Hours and Last Nights Fun. Get your singing voices in order; Gail is back at Bearded Theory!!"

There is also a ball (with everyone dressing up on the Friday night), special surprise guests and the following DJ's doing sets in the dance arena:
Dreadzone Soundsystem
Avante Garde
Mr B
Tall Sarah.

There is a reason that it's called Bearded Theory, something about a drunken episode with the organisers in Amsterdam but the great thing is that everyone has been asked to wear a beard, with a prize for the best. I've attempted to cultivate a little one on my chin which someone at work described as a "brazilian". Hmmm.

13 May 2008

The Sony Academy Radio Awards 2008

The best in UK radio had it's own awards ceremony last night when the winners of the Sony Radio Academy Awards, the UK’s most prestigious radio accolades, were announced.

The biggest prize is generally considered to be the Breakfast Show category and the winner is a very "Marmite" choice, you either love him or loath him. I love the Chris Moyles show. We have BBC Radio One on in the car to work and at work itself and it's the best show of the day. It alwas raises a smile and the team atmosphere make me think it'd be a wonderful place to work. Moyles himself comes across as a grumpy, egotistical moron but it's all an act and I think this is where people get the wrong end of the stick. He's a funny man, with a great team and it's a very inventive programme and so much better than the rest of Radio One's output: people complain there's too much talking but with some of the terrible tracks on the playlist I would rather hear them waffle on!

Here's a list of the Gold award winners at the Sony Academy Radio Awards 2008:

Programme Awards

:: Breeakfast Show:
The Chris Moyles Show - BBC Radio One

:: Music Programme:
The Dermot O'Leary Show - BBC Radio 2

:: Specialist Music Programme:
Friday Night Floorfillers with Krystle - 97.3 Forth One

:: News and Current Affairs Programme:
Newshour - BBC World Service

:: Sports Programme:
All The Tickets Are In The Wrong Hands - Radio City

:: Speech Programme:
Saturday Live -BBC Radio 4

:: Listeners Participation:
World Have Your Say - BBC World Service

:: Entertainment:
The Russell Brand Show - BBC Radio 2

Personality Awards

:: Music Broadcaster:
Andi Durrant - Galaxy Network

:: Music Radio Personality:
Jonathan Ross - BBC Radio 2

:: News Journalist:
Owen Bennett-Jones - BBC World Service

:: Speech Broadcaster:
Simon Mayo - BBC Radio 5 Live

:: Station Programmer:
Mary Kalemkerian - BBC7

Production Awards

:: Drama:
Q & A - BBC Radio 4

:: Comedy:
Down The Line (Series 2, Episode 2) - BBC Radio 4

:: Feature:
Malcolm McLaren's Life and Times In LA: A Radio Movie - BBC Radio 2

:: Music Special:
The Feelgood Factor - BBC Radio 2

:: News Feature:
Britain's Missing Girls - BBC Asian Network

:: Breakfast News Award:
Omagh Fire Tragedy - BBC Radio Ulster

:: Live Event:
Gosnold 400 - BBC Radio Suffolk

:: Community:
Lights Out London - Capital 95.8

:: Promo:
96.3 Radio Aire's Green Project - Radio Aire

:: Competition:
Sell Me The Answer - Key 103

:: Station Imaging:
Magic 105.4

:: Internet Programme:
The Book Slam Podcast - Book Slam Website

:: Multiple Format Radio:
The Bangladesh Boat Project - BBC World Service

Station Awards

:: Station Of the Year: Under 300,000:
Silk FM

:: Station Of the Year 300,000 - 1 million:
GWR Bristol

:: Station Of the Year 1 million plus
Key 103 Manchester

:: Digital Radio Station:
Planet Rock

:: UK Radio Station of the Year:
BBC Radio 4

I'd just to make a small note about the death a couple of weeks ago of one of my favourite radio broadcasters, jazz muscian (who collaborated with Radiohead on their Amnesiac album) and host of the brilliant I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue (BBC Radio 4), Humphrey Lyttelton. A true genius who will be sadly missed.

12 May 2008

The Permier League in numbers

Yesterday Manchester United secured the Premier League crown for the tenth time in 16 seasons. The top flight English football league was a very tight affair but, though I may be biased, the best team won. For the first time in nine years it went down to the last day with the top two teams, United and Chelsea, on the same points, the northern team ahead on a far superior goal difference. It celebrate here are a few facts and figures about the the season:

5: The number of times Sir Alex Ferguson has won the FA Cup, more than any other manager.

5: Number of games lost by United in the league this season.

6: number of games drawn by United in the league.

10: number of times Manchester United have won the Premiership since it was formed, under the managership of Sir Alex Ferguson, who was voted League Managers' Association manager of the year tonight (and number of championship medals Ryan Giggs has won).
14: Age Giggs was when he sign for Manchester United
17: Age Giggs was when he made his first-team appearance.
17 Number of times Manchester United have won the English top flight league (one behind Liverpool's 18 titles).
20: years Ferguson has known Ryan Giggs
21: Years Sir Alex has been manager of Manchester United
26: Number of years since Man Utd last won the title when Fergurson led them to victory in 1994
27: Number of games won by United in the league this season.
28: Number of trophies Sir Alex Ferguson has won with Manchester United, more than any other manager in English footballing history.
34 Age of Ryan Giggs
41: number of goals scored by Christiano Ronaldo for United this season, a record for a winger.
50: Years since the Munich Air Disaster which claimed the lives of eight United players and 15 passengers. United are in the European Champions League final next week, what a fitting tribute it would be for them to lift the trophy.
80: Number of goals scored by Man United - goal difference +58 (compared to Chelsea, there nearest rivals 65 - GD +39)
758: Record-equalling number of times Ryan Giggs has played for United (equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's record - Giggs came on and scored the second goal in yesterday's game against Wigan, to secure the title)

08 May 2008

Do you want to be a spaceman?

...or woman? The European Space Agency have said it's looking for four new astronauts to replace it's aging team of current space travellers. They have set out a list of requirements for missions on the International Space Station starting in 2012 or 2013, with the ultimate goal being possible missions to the moon and Mars. Between 20,000 and 50,000 aspiring astronauts are expected to apply for the years of training, developing expertise and learning technical skills that may not even lead to going into space.

Now, when I was just stating as an A-Level student my first Graphic Design lessons was a get-to-know-you session. We all sat in a circle and the tutor asked us one by one to say our names and what we would like to do in with our lives. The other students said said they wanted to go into advertising or work in magazines and the like*. When it came to me I said "I want to be a spaceman." Suffice to say the tutor wasn't very happy but it was true. I'd love to go into space! Trouble is, with the ESA's criteria I don't think I could learn Russian or get a science degree before I am too old for them.

If you fancy following the few pioneers who have travelled into space, this is what you need to do or be:

  • Display “team competence, empathy and emotional stability”.
  • Have the ability to work in stressful conditions
  • Aged 27-37
  • To be chosen from ESA's 17 member countries
  • Have a science degree
  • Fluent English
  • Know a smattering of Russian
  • Be more a team player than "an adventurer"

A spokesman said “We are not interested in the Right Stuff; we want the right staff”.

Selection will start on May 19, to be followed by a huge number of psychological tests, skills assessments, medical evaluations and formal interviews. Those chosen will be announced in 2009.

Fancy it?


*Funnily enough I now work for an advertising agency, I wonder if any of my classmates went in to space exploration?

07 May 2008

Rose c'Or European Television Awards

The winners annual awards celebrating the best of European television entertainment, held in Switzerland every year, has been another good year for British television. The 48th Rose d'Ors where held in Lucerne last night and Britain won five of the nine awards. Probably my favourite programme in the last 12 months, E4's Skins, won the best drama, beating Billie Piper's Secret Diary of a Call Girl, from ITV2, and BBC One's Jekyll. 402 programmes were nominated from 34 coiuntries.

:: Best drama:
Skins - E4/Company Pictures - UK
Special mention: The Street - BBC - UK

:: Arts Documentary:
Strictly Bolshoi - Ballet Boy Productions/Channel 4 - UK

:: Entertainment:
Hinder in the House - Eyework BV/BBC2 - Netherlands

:: Gameshow:
Power of 10 - Embassy Row/Sony Pictures Television - UK/USA

:: Performing Art:*
Mozart's The Magic Flute - TPC TV Productioncentre Zurich AG - Switzerland

:: Reality:
Celebrity Shock - Eyeworks BV - Netherlands

:: Comedy:
Kombat Opera presents... - Avalon Television/BBC - UK

:: Best Entertainer:
Peter Serainowicz - The Peter Serainowicz Show - BBC1 - UK

:: Sit-com:
The IT Crowd - Talkback Thames Limited/Channel 4 - UK

:: Honoury Golden Rose:
Ben Silverman - NBC Entertainment and Universal Studios co-chairman

06 May 2008

Actors turned director

Today would have been the 93rd birthday of the late Orson Welles and is also George Clooney's 48th. Both very different actors that have also directed movies to great effect. Does being directed in movies make you a better director? Many of the greatest actors have tried their hand with the megaphone only to fall flat (and go back to what they do best). With John Favreau's Ironman now making waves at the box office and Ben Affleck's Gone Baby Gone finally being released in the UK this is quite topical. So today's list is of celebrate or commiserate) those thespians who've taken the step behind the camera.

:: Orson Welles:
Shook up Hollywood with his first foray into film (Citizen Kane) he broke all the rules, partly through ignorance but also through brilliance. Considered one of the greatest actors and directors of his generation he was voted the greatest film director of all time in the British Film Institute's poll of Top Ten Directors in 2002.

Must see: as director: Citizen Kane, as actor: The Third Man

:: George Clooney
His good looks and charm brought him from TV hospital drama ER via Attack to the Killer Tomatoes to Hollywood A-lister (Oceans' 11, From Dusk Til Dawn, Batman and Robin, O' Brother Where Art Thou, Syriana) and even more acclaim as a director (Goodnight and Good Luck, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). The man's got it all!

Must see: as director: Goodnight and Good Luck, as actor: Out of Sight

:: Ben Affleck:
Burst into Hollywood, sharing the best original screenplay (along with Matt Damon) for Good Will Hunting, in which he also starred. Whilst Damon went on to become a huge star and well respected actor, Affleck became a tabloid joke, with his relationship with Jennifer Lopez and a string of turkeys (Pearl Harbour, Jersey Girl, Gigli, Daredevil). Back on the scene after directing his brother Casey in Gone Baby Gone (finally being released in this country this month, after being put oin hold because of the similarities to the Madeline McCann case), critics are saying Affleck has found his calling.

Must see: as director: Gone Baby Gone, as actor: Shakespear in Love

:: Charlie Chaplin:
Most famous silent movie star of them all (and a favourite of Hitler, who he lampooned in The Great Dictator) Chaplin excelled as both an actor as well as director.

Must see: as director: Modern Times, as actor: too many to mention but try The Great Dictator or The Kid

:: Clint Eastwood:
Hard man, gritty thinking man's action hero, Eastwood has moved on from his classic Westerns roles (The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Rawhide) through his amazing 1970's output (Dirty Harry, Play Misty for Me, The Outlaw Josey Wales) to emerge as a brilliant director (Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima), reinventing the western along the way (Unforgiven) and winning two Oscars and more nominations for acting, producing and directing, in the process. Not to mention his political career.

Must see: as director: Unforgiven, as actor: Dirty Harry

:: Ron Howard:
Best know for his role as Richie Cunningham in Happy Days, Howard surpassed his acing career becoming one of Hollywood's most successful director around today (Cocoon, Far and Away, Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code).

Must see: as director: Ransom, as actor: American Graffiti

:: Jodie Foster:
Probably the greatest actress of her generation (winning best actress Oscars for The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs) her directing career hasn't hit the same critical or commercial heights (Little Man Tate, Home for the Holidays, Flora Plum).

Must see: as director: err, Little Man Tate I guess, as actor: Taxi Driver

:: Kevin Costner:
When the biggest star at the time (The Untouchables, Bull Durham, Field Of Dreams, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) turned to directing Hollywood thought they had a new directing star on their hands (Oscar winning Dances With Wolves). They didn't anticipate Waterworld or The Postman.

Must see: as director: Dances With Wolves, as actor: JFK

:: Sean Penn:
Intense, bad boy actor with a good body of work under his belt (At Close Range, Carlito's Way, The Game) turned to directing with The Indian Runner and has critical, if not huge commercial since (The Crossing Guard, The Pledge, Into the Wild)

Must see: as director: Into the Wild, as actor: Dead Man Walking

There are plenty out there. What are your favourite actors turned directors (or the ones who didn't cut the mustard)?

04 May 2008

The British Soap Awards 2008

Another awards ceremony was held in London last night, this time for that loftiest of television output, the continuing drama (that's Soap Opera to you and me). Now, I only really watch Eastenders, though Hollyoaks kind of gets viewed as I veg out after work (though that's been taken over by my daily Wii Fit workout!). I find Coronation Street too silly ( I haven't watched it for a long, probably since moving out from my parents *mumble mumble* years ago, and Ive never watched Doctors of Emmerdale.

Soaps are the kind of programme you can just turn off to, feel better about your own life and "know" what's going to happen and have the satisfaction of saying "I knew that was going to happen" but not knowing quite how. People can get very pretentious about "low brow" television but it has it's place. The same place in society as cheesy pop, The Sun newspaper and microwave ready meals. With such high brow categories as "Sexiest Female" and "Best Exit" these are their Oscars:

Voted by the viewers:

Sexiest Male:
Rob James -Collier (Liam Connor - Coronation Street)

Sexiest Female
Roxanne McKee (Louise Summers - Hollyoaks)

Villain Of The Year
Jack P. Shepherd (David Platt - Coronation Street)

Best Actor
Chris Fountain (Justin Burton - Hollyoaks)

Best Actress
Emma Rigby (Hannah Ashworth - Hollyoaks)

Panel voted categories:

Best Comedy Performance
Maggie Jones (Blanche Hunt - Cornation Street)

Best Dramatic Performance
Jo Joyner (Tanya Branning - Eastenders)

Spectacular Scene Of The Year
Hollyoaks: Claire drives her car off a cliff

Best Dramatic Performance From A Young Actor Or Actress
Jamie Borthwick (Jay Brown - Eastenders)

Best Single Episode
Emmerdale: Daniel’s Death

Best Exit
Gemma Bissix (Clare Cunningham - Hollyoaks)

Best Newcomer
Michelle Keegan (Tina McIntyre - Cornonation Street)

Best On-Screen Partnership
Matt Littler (Max Cunningham) & Darren Jon Jeffries (Sam OB O’Brien - Hollyoaks)

Best Storyline
EastEnders: Max and Stacey’s affair

Lifetime Achievement Award
Liz Dawn

Special Achievement Award
Tim Fee (Line producer on Emmerdale)

Best Soap

01 May 2008

Glastonbury Festival official line-up

Well, here it is, this year's line-up to the biggest festival of contempory performing arts in the country, Glastonbury. This is my annual pilgramage to escape the rat-race and have a few beers in a field listening to some excellent music. Today was the official date of the line-up announcement but they were leaked online on Tueday. I've been a bit slack with the blog (a couple of important football matches got in the way!) so here, a last, the list (for the main stages - this excludes all the dance stages, any entertainment on the Thursday night and much more - more info here):

Pyramid Stage
Friday: Kings of Leon - The Fratellis- Editors- Gossip- The Feeling- KT Tunstall- Get Cape Wear Cape Fly- The Subways-Kate Nash

Saturday: Jay-Z - Very Special Guest - Manu Chao - The Raconteurs - James Blunt - Crowded House - Seasick Steve - The Hold Steady - Shakin Stevens

Sunday: The Verve - Leonard Cohen - Goldfrapp - John Mayer - Gilbert O'Sullivan

Other Stage

Friday: Panic at the Disco - The Enemy - We Are Scientists - Foals - The Hoosiers - Ben Folds - Vampire Weekend - Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong - Hilltop Hoods

Saturday: Massive Attack -Hot Chip - Elbow - Duffy - The Wombats - Neon Neon - Black Kids - The Golden Silvers - The Travelling Band

Sunday: Groove Armada
-The Zutons - Pigeon Detectives- Mark Ronson- Scouting for Girls- Jack Penate- Newton Faulkner- Black Mountain- The Hoodoo Gurus- Emmy The Great

Jazz World
Friday: Jimmy Cliff- Estelle- Fun Lovin Criminals- Special Guest- Candi Staton- Alabama 3- Special Guest- Phantom Limb- Mankala

Saturday: Ethiopiques- Buddy Guy- Imagined Village- Joan Armatrading- Eric Bibb- Massukos - The Blessing- Special GuestBedouin Jerry Can Band
Sunday: Special Guest- King Solomon Burke- Eddy Grant- Dub Colossus- Asere & Billy Cobham- Balkan Beat Fox- Almasala- Portico Quartet- Sense of Sound

John Peel Stage
: Jamie T- The Cribs- Reverend and the Makers- The Kills- The Ting Tings- The Young Knives- Lightspeed Champion- Make Model- Patrick Watson- Roy World

Saturday: Biffy Clyro- The Futureheads- Band of Horses- The Black Lips- Vampire Weekend- The Courteneers- British Sea Power- Holy Fuck- The Teenagers- Hilltop Hoods- Emmy the Great- Dogtanion

Sunday: The National- Spiritualized- Crystal Castles- Brian Jonestown Massacre- The Stars- Rocket Summer- Friendly Fires- The Whip- Yeasayer

The Park
Pete Doherty- Dizzee Rascal- John Cale- Special Guest- Edwyn Collins- The Duke Spirit- Operator Please- Sons & Daughters- Santogold- Beggars- Magic Wands- Island Line- The Langley Sisters

Saturday: CSS- Battles- MGMT- Very Special Guest- 'Music Through Unconventional Means' With Shlomo's Vocal Orchestra & Special Guests- Kool Keith & Kutmaster Kurt- Special Guest- Alphabeat- St Vincent- Jape- Eugene MacGuiness

Sunday: My Morning Jacket- Tunng- Vetiver- Caribou- Laura Marling- The Mystery Jets- Kathryn Williams & Neil Macoll- The Cave Singers- Alberta Cross- Mumford and Sons- Alan Tyler & The Lost Sons- Redbridge Brass Band

Seasick Steve- Sinead O'Connor- Newton Faulkner- Arno Carstens- Eddi Reader- Camille O'Sullivan- Eleanor McEvoy- Devon Sproule- Acoustic Stage Blues Club with Grainne Duffy

Saturday: Gilbert O'Sullivan- The Swell Season Featuring Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova- Glenn Tobrook & The Fluffers- Seth Lakeman- Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders- Thea Gilmore- Sid Griffin & The Coal Porters- Emily Maguire-Acoustic Stage Blues Club with Grainne Duffy- The Travelling Band
Sunday: Joan Baez- Suzanne Vega- The London Community Gospel Choir- Stackridge- Tom Baxter- Tift Merritt- Foy Vance- A coustic Stage Blues Club with Grainne Duffy- Amsterdam- Lazenby

Avalon Stage
Friday: Sharon Shannon & Big Band- Xavier Rudd- Hazel O'Connor- The Man They Couldn't Hang- Ron Sexmith- Kissmet- Hobo Jones and the Junkyward Dogs

Saturday: The Proclaimers- Will Young- Alabama 3 Unplugged- The Handsome Family- The Wurzels - Rachel Unthank & Winterset- Bacalao- Malarchy- One String Loose
Sunday: Katie Melua- Blazin' Fiddles- Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara- John Tams & Barry Coope- The Baghdaddies Big Band- The Family Mahone- Rafven- Nuala & The Alchemy Quartet- Prison Love

Queens Head

Friday: DJ Tayo's Tracksuit Party- SingStar- DJ Smash n' Frab- Singstar- DJ Smash n' Grab- Singstar- Kate Nash- The Script- Young Knives

Saturday: Dj Sean Rowley- SingStar- DJ Sean Rowley- SingStar- DJ Annie Mac- SingStar- Pigeon Detectives- White Denim- Ron Sexsmith- Teddy Thompson- Duke Spirit- The Modern Skits- Stephen Pretwell or The Accidental- Red Letter Day- Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong- The Holloways- Catpain- Babel- Team Waterpolo

Sunday: DJ The Voguettes- SingStar- DJ The Voguettes- SingStar- DJ Soulsavers- SingStars- Elbow- Noah and the Whale- Florence And The Machine- Congregation- Dengue Fever- Dawn Kinnard- Cocknbullkid- Ladyhawke

Left Field
John Byrne- David Ford- Frank Turner- Beans on Toast- Alabama 3- The Holloways- Kate Nash- Jenners Field- Charlotte Campbell- Dance for Life- Tawiah- Heve Jones- Buddha Tears- Dockers MC- Brit School Presents - Dance for Life

Saturday: - New York Fund- Lazy Habits- Reverend and the Makers- Get Cape Wear Cape Fly- Neville Staple- The Krak- The Mentalists Rock Against Racism- Cars on Fire- Flykiller- Alex and the Drummer

Sunday: - Night of Treason- Neck - Billy Bragg- Dirty Pretty Things- Bluetones- Build a band youth music- Movie - Jail Guitar Doors- Phil Jupitus- The Beat- Left Field Rally with Tony Benn- Carnival Collective

and a few other acts:

Theatre & Circus: The 2 Ladies • 3cubed • 4 Poofs and a Piano • Airealism • Andi Neate • Andrew Maxwell • Andy Parsons • Angie Mackman •Attila the Stockbroker • Black Eagles • Blackskywhite • Brendan Burns • Bruce Airhead • Cascade • The Cholmondeleys & The Featherstonehaughs •Coreo Hazzard • Dare • Dino Lampa • Ed Tudor-Pole • Fidget Feeet • Flameoz • Fraser Hooper • Glen Wool • Guy Pratt • Half Human Video • Hard Shoulder• Ian Cognito • Jeff Green • Jonathan Kay • Joolz & the New York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack • Josey Long • Keth • Kevin Eldon • Mike Raffone • Missfitz• Mitch Benn • Nick Wilty • Nina Conti • Norbi • The Others • Ole • Robin Ince • Rod Laver • Rory Motion • Russell Howard • Shep Huntley • Sierra Maestra• Siyaya • Starfiz • Stargazing • The Stephen Frost Improv Allstars • Steve Gribbin • Twisted Cabaret • Yvette Du Sol

Shangri La: 12 Stone Toddler • 40 Thieves Orckestra • Amigos • Babyhead • Bearlesque • Bison • Black Twang • Blackblock • Brothers Bab • The Chump DJs• Crystal Distortion • Cuttashine • Dead Silence • Deekline & Wizard • Digs & Whoosh DIY • Don Bradmans • Double Edge • Dubfex • Dynamo Rhythm Aces• Gaz Mayall • Gypsy Delica • Heyseed Dixie • The Holloways • Iiyak • J-Star & McHoney Brown • Jaipur Kawa • Kartel Records • Kid Harpoon •Last Man Standing • Last Man Standing Saloon • Latin Dub Sound System • Lazy Habits • Marner Brown Beans on Toast • Mr Psik & G-Cut • Mudsun• Nathan Flute Box • Natty 4D • Natty Florence And The Machine • Neville Staples (Two Tone) • No 1 Station • Orb Benga And Skream Vagabond Boogaloo• Pronghorn • Ratfinks • Rob & Steve Smokescreen • Robyn Hytchcock • Routes2roots • Shantel and the Bucovina Club • Sick Note • Smerins •Stranger Than Paradise Club • Tofu Love Frogs • Vjamm All Stars • Warlords Of Pez • Wax & Inferno

Kidz Field: Bell and Bullock • Black Cat Theatre • Bodger & Badger • Carolin Emerson • Chris Woz and Picklelily • Christine Willison and Mitzi • CoreoHazzard • DNA • Eventuality • The Foolhardy Folk Circus Clowns • Goffee • Goronwy Thom • Jasmine • John Row • Keep Fruity, Acting Up • MainbraceTheatre • Mike Hares • Monkey Shine Theatre • Mr Mike and Mr Maynard • Nicada Puppets • No Strings Puppet Theatre • Noisy Oyster • Norbi • ParasoleProductions • Pekkos Puppets • Prof. Panic • Seikou Susso • Sidney Sloane • Sirkus on Foot • Steve Tasane • Strawberry The Clown • Tallulah Swirls •Tippety Twig and the Pond Monster • Zu Ariel Dance


Who says it's expensive at£160? What choice. I think it's an excellent line-up. I've seen a few and am seeing others later in the year but me and Sally got our highlighters out the other day and despite a few clashes we've more or less planned who we'd like to see.

Is there anyone there you would recommend?