Saturday, 1 December 2012

Advent Calendar

Morning/afternoon/evening all! (Please delete as appropriate)

If you've not been reading my X Factor recaps, then long time no see! If you have been reading my recaps, then it's still long time no see - I was lazy last week and didn't get round to recapping the show - apologies.

Anyway, in a fit of insanity a while ago I decided that it would be a good idea to make a video advent calendar. I have no idea whether it'll actually continue all the way up to Christmas (bit concerned about having enough ideas), but seeing as it's now December, day one is uploaded and ready to watch if you're interested.

(Day One)

Many thanks if you do watch today's or any other future video!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

X Factor 2012 (17th November)

Goshies, maybe I should start watching the X Factor results shows because they look terribly dramatic judging by the clips at the start of tonight's show.

Just when you think Dermot's given up on the 'dancing' thing, he suddenly breaks into Can't Touch This (this week's theme is guilty pleasures, you see). I am both excited by and apprehensive about this theme. I have a horrible feeling that I will think that many of these 'guilty' pleasures are just pleasures (I have a horrible feeling I thought that last year too).

Union J - Call Me Maybe
Last week was devastating (they were in the bottom two) so this week they're coming back fighting. Having first gone for a holiday - no it's not a holiday, it's a working trip because those roller coasters are really hard work - at Disneyland Paris.
I'm not sure about the suits, guys. The ninja dancers can stay though. Vocals are alright - they sound much better together than individually, so as long as they have more harmonies than solos they should be fine.
Tulisa's going to be really honest. She's not a big fan of the song so as soon as she hears it, she takes an instant dislike to it. Isn't that kind of the point of guilty pleasures though? You're meant to kind of hate the song? Gary says that if it's guilty to like that song, he absolutely loves it. Which doesn't work at all (he meant to say something like, if it's guilty to like that song, then I should be locked up, come on, Barlow, concentrate). The song is definitely a guilty pleasure for Nicole and she feels that the group did it justice. She wants them to be more creative with their staging though (she doesn't like them jumping off boxes, see). Louis reminds us that Union J are the only boy band left and he wants people to pick up the phone and vote. What wonderfully insightful words.

Ella - You're The One That I Want
Ella's had a great week. In fact she'd go so far as saying it's been the funnest week so far. Get back to school, Henderson. Clearly the education system isn't quite ready to let you go yet.
Interesting, slowed-down version of the song but because it's so, so famous I just want her to get a move on and sing it properly at full speed. Tulisa said earlier that she thought the idea of guilty pleasures week was to take a song which is a guilty pleasure and turn it into something cool. I'm not sure I agree actually. Ella seems to turn every song into a ballad which she can belt out (and don't get me wrong, she's damn good at it), but Tulisa also said a few weeks ago that the different themes each week give the contestants a chance to try different genres and see what suits them and their voice. Well, not really if you're just going to take a song from different genres and turn it into the exact same kind of song every week.
(I hope that rant made some kind of sense.)
Gary says it was Ella's best performance by far. Nicole didn't like the song (she mentions wanting it to pick up speed). Louis thinks the song choice was amazing and calls the performance electrifying. Tulisa calls Ella a little star.

James - Can't Take My Eyes Off You
James and Rylan have started a strange bromance this week. I'm not sure there's much more I can add anything to that statement, so moving on.
Ah, it's lovely. Just James and his guitar on stage. No unnecessary dancers.
Louis thinks James will definitely get a record deal. Tulisa loves it. Gary wants James to win the competition. Nicole says James is mesmerising.

Rylan - The 80s
Rylan went to Paris this week and held lots of babies and didn't drop any.
Rylan's performance this week comes directly from the 80s. Ugh, what can I say that I haven't already said about him? Nothing probably. The vocals are pretty rubbish, the staging is over the top, etc. etc. blah blah blah.
Louis says Rylan is already a household name. Tulisa says it wasn't one of her favourite performances but she still loves him. Gary: The good news is that you're famous, the bad news? Give it a couple of months. Lols. Nicole argues that Rylan always takes a risk, unlike other contestants.

Christopher - Total Eclipse Of The Heart
How is Christopher still in this competition? Seriously, I'm not even trying to mean but who is voting for him?
Oh Christopher you're never going to do this better than Bonnie. You're a fool for even thinking you could. The huge picture of his face, with laser beams shooting from his eyes, on the screen  behind him is also incredibly disturbing. Don't like it, don't like it at all.
Nicole says it was a lot to take in (she didn't care for the enormous face and weird, glowy eyes either). Louis says he must be doing something right because he's still in the competition. Tulisa says his vocals are always amazing. Gary feels the need to tell us that Christopher is a fantastic guy. I don't really care, Gary - I just don't want him to be in the competition any more.

Jahmene - Don't Leave Me This Way
Jahmene's had a very good week - his best performance, fan letters, a show in France, but he's freaking out about tonight's song.
Someone's put little Jahmene on a huge box. I'm worried he might fall off but he seems to get on with things and nails the performance (of course he does, it's Jahmene!)
Louis says Jahmene is his favourite contestant in the competition. Oh god, I agree with Louis. I need to go and have a lie down. Tulisa is running out of ways to kiss Jahmene's butt - her words, not mine. Gary says Jahmene's talent is ridiculous (he means Jah-mazing) but he says there are sometimes too many ad-libs for his liking. Nicole likes to call Jahmene's ad-libs 'Jahjazzles'. Of course she does.

And on that bombshell, I shall end tonight's bloglet. Thoughts on who will be in the bottom two? I think (and hope) Christopher and Rylan.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

X Factor 2012 (10th November)

A thousand apologies for not recapping last week's show. I wasn't able to watch it live (I know, what's new there?) and then later discovered that Kye had left having been in the bottom two with Rylan. WITH RYLAN.

So I sulked.

Thankfully the sulking is now over and we can get on with tonight's show. Woot.

Theme: Best of British.

Oh holy crap, Wand Erection is/are on the show. I feel the sulk returning.

Christopher - I'm Still Standing
Christopher was apparently booed last week when he got through and the papers then accused him of voting for himself. Is that against the rules? If he is doing it, it's only his money he's wasting. We all know Christopher's not winning the X Factor, don't we? Let him vote for himself if he wants to. (He denies that he does this, by the way.)
Christopher seems nervous. This is a little out of his comfort zone and perhaps last week's boos are playing on his mind. Either way I don't think it's great. I am enjoying the 118-style dancers in the background though.
The audience loves it. Nicole likes the confidence but felt Chris was a little nervous. Louis thinks the song choice was good but that Chris isn't what the X Factor is about. Tulisa thinks Christopher has a great voice but that he always sings songs from the same era and she's bored. Gary thinks he nailed it.

Jahmene - Angels
Okay I shall try to rein in the Jahmene praise a bit this week.
He starts off a capella. It's Ja-mazing. Robbie should just stop performing this song because Jahmene does it better.
(I said I'd try)
Louis thinks Jahmene has star quality and that he should be in the final. Tulisa loves that Jahmene is a perfectionist. Gary says it was an incredible vocal performance. Nicole is moved and stirred by Jahmene.

District 3 - If I Saw You In Heaven
Can anyone actually name any of the members of District 3? Go on, have a go.
Nope, me neither.
Anyway, Tom, Dick and Harry have stripped back their performance this week (which means they're sitting on stools) and are concentrating on their vocals. The camera suddenly cuts to Louis, who is moving and a-grooving to this very slow song. He's an odd one.
Tulisa thinks Louis made a good decision in stripping everything back and concentrating on harmonies. Gary thinks there's something missing, but he doesn't know what. Nicole doesn't know what Gary's talking about because the boys brought tears to her eyes. She's rather emotional tonight. Louis blathers on about something but I'm pretty sure no one's listening.

Ella - Written In The Stars
Last week Ella realised she is the only girl left in the competition. No, she's not very observant, is she?
I'm starting to think that 'slowed down and stripped back' should be this week's theme. It's a really good version, though - I'm enjoying it. It's perhaps a little low for her at times but once she gets into the chorus it sounds ace.
Gary is fairly confident Ella won't be leaving the competition this weekend. Nicole reminds Ella she is the only girl left in the competition - is this her new thing now, instead of 'being only 16'? Louis thinks Ella is an old soul trapped in a young girl's body. Weird. Tulisa thinks the performance was epic. I have a bit of an issue with overuse of the word 'epic', so I don't agree with her, but it was still a great performance.

Rylan - Spice Girl Medley
As soon as Rylan heard that the theme was best of British, he knew that there was only one band he could sing. The Spice Girls (did you think he was going to say Wham too?) Turns out he is a massive, borderline stalker, fan of the girls.
He has his own video at the start of the performance! In it he skydives. Who else gets this much money spent on their performances? Pretty sure Barlow will take issue with this.
Oh yes, vocals. They're awful but what do you expect?
Louis thinks he's a brilliant showman (camp as Christmas but brilliant). Tulisa bloody loved it. Gary thinks it was brilliant fun (the audience goes mental at this point) but that the vocals were diabolical. Nicole climbs on the table and announces that it was a Rylan Spice explosion on stage.

Christ, Dermot's in the crowd again. Get out of there, O'Leary, they're probably germy.

Union J - Fix You
This week the boys are looking forward to their song as it has a strong connection with the armed forces. (Mum reckons they'll be singing In The Navy so I'm kinda disappointed when it's Fix You.) I don't know for certain, but I'm fairly sure this song has nothing to do with the army.
Tulisa thinks Louis is on a roll with his acts this week. Gary thinks it was a good performance. Nicole thanks them for recognising the men and women of the armed forces. The song has bugger all to do with the armed forces!

James - Home Town Glory
Judging by the video clips, James had an amazing time last week.
Sticking with this week's theme of slowed down and stripped back, James is alone on stage with his guitar. He's fast becoming a favourite of mine, actually. Not THE favourite, obviously. It's a very cool version of the song. I have no doubt that the judges will love it.
Louis thinks it's great to have someone like James on the X Factor because he's a brilliant interpreter of great songs. That was surprisingly erudite of Mr Walsh. Tulisa is happy to be a judge while James is on the show. Gary says it was brilliant and that James is ready to record an album right now. Nicole says James is the future of music.

I am told that Wand Erection will be performing. But there are no more contestants, right? Okay, TV off!

Thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

X Factor 2012 (27th October)

Seeing as it's another late recap, let's get straight down to business.

Last week MK1 left the show. I didn't like them (well, specifically her) so I wasn't particularly heartbroken.

This week's theme: Hallowe'en.

Dermot and his entourage enter to Michael Jackson's Thriller. Judging by the red devil horns he's wearing, someone's been to the Steps reunion tour recently.

The judges are here. Ah ha ha ha ha ha methinks Nicole didn't get the memo that we don't really do Hallowe'en here like they do in the States. Wonder how long it took to back-comb her hair to that height. Tulisa's opted for some slightly more subtle fangs. Gary and Louis have chosen not to dress up at all.

Gah, this is why I dislike watching on the ITV player (the picture's gone). Sound is still working, for the moment at least, so I shall persevere. Unfortunately this means I won't be able to admire/take the piss out of the contestants costumes. Fiddlesticks.

Dermot's just informed us that Lucy is unwell and won't be singing tonight. So we're down to nine performances.

Kye - Let Me Entertain You
Kye just wants to have fun this week (he was in the bottom two last time). Robbie Williams gives him some tips (which basically amount to 'go for it').
Having no picture really sucks. Vocals are good though. It sounds like he's doing a good job of getting the audience involved, which seemed to be his problem in previous weeks.
Nicole thinks it was a great way to open the show and that he came out swinging. Apparently there was dancing too. Dammit ITV player! Louis thinks it was probably a shock for Kye to be in the bottom two last time and he hopes he has done enough this week (he winds the audience up by suggesting it may not have been enough). Tulisa disagrees with Louis. She thinks Kye gave everything. Gary says Kye came back with a bang, boom and a crash. If you say so, Barlow.

Union J - (don't know the song)
Every time Union J get asked about what it's like to be in Union J, they tell people, "It's bananas." What fun, fun, incredibly simple guys they are. One of them tells us that every single second that they're awake, they're having fun. Even when you're on the toilet? I mean, necessary? Yes. Fun? Not so sure about that.
It doesn't start very well. They sing much better together than separately. I suppose that's good for a boy band and maybe I'm just being picky when I want them to be able to sing individually, but I'm not wowed.
Tulisa thinks the vocals are really good tonight but she reckons they played it safe. Gary agrees - he thinks it was safe. Nicole thinks it was absolute perfection. Louis believes in this group. Well that's nice to know.

The adverts play perfectly. Sound and picture. In fact, they're louder than the show. Grumble, grumble, stupid ITV player.

Rylan - (various)
Rylan's had a good week. Kylie and Robbie have apparently both shown support for him. Robbie's like the X Factor whore this week. It was also his birthday (Rylan's not Robbie's) and Nicole tricked him into thinking she couldn't go to his party. You tricky trickster, you.
Rylan vocals (without Rylan picture) is awful. It's another medley from him this week. Why does he do that? Does he feel it necessary to destroy three songs at once, instead of just one?
Rylan reminds Louis of a young Jean Paul Gautier - this is a good thing, I know because Louis told me. Tulisa says Rylan 'may not have the best voice in the competition'. May not? MAY not? Surely that's not even up for debate, is it?  Gary says it wasn't any worse than last week, that the music was so loud he couldn't hear Rylan singing, and that he liked the dancers. Nicole says it was her favourite performance so far.
Rylan says that if he gets through to next week's show, he'll just stand and sing (no gimmicks) to prove he can sing. Well I'll believe it when I see it.

Ella - Bring Me To Life
"I may be the youngest contestant in the competition, but I'm having the best time ever." Clearly 'being the youngest' is just Ella's thing now because why would being the youngest mean that you couldn't have the best time? Sigh.
Oh guess who Ella met this week? Yup. X Factor whore.
Vocals are ace, but you knew they would be, didn't you? This is Ella. I recommend listening to Ella without watching her - you totally forget she's so young - well, you do until she stops singing and reminds you of it.
Gary thinks it's disrespectful that people keep saying 'she's only 16' - well stop reminding us of it all the damn time, Barlow! Nicole says it was her least favourite performance of Ella's because it was in the wrong key. I love Nicole. She says the weirdest things and then surprises everyone by saying something that shows she actually knows what she's talking about. Louis doesn't like her hair because it's scary. Tulisa thinks Ella's special.

Christopher - I Just Died In Your Arms
Gary likes that Christopher uses his nerves positively, and he thinks Christopher is starting to believe in himself.
Vocals are good, but just like with Ella you expect that from Christopher. The audience is pretty quiet actually. You notice these things when you can't see what's going on - sort it out ITV.
Nicole says it was fun and that she felt like she was watching an '80s Hallowe'en pop opera. Louis says Christopher must be doing something right because he hasn't been in the bottom two yet - backhanded compliment if ever I heard one. Tulisa asks Gary how many '80s classics he's going to let Christopher destroy. Meow. Barlow doesn't have a comeback so just accuses Tulisa of having bad breath.

District 3 - Every Breath You Take/Beautiful Monster
Wow, Robbie Williams gave the guys some advice this week. Robbie Williams! Wow.
Ok, from the sound of it, Louis is going to be in their performance this week. I need to see this. YouTube to the rescue.
Oh disappointment. I misunderstood. Louis is not in this. Bored! I'm sulking now, I'm not even going to comment about their shaky vocals and weird make-up. Nope.
Tulisa loved it until they went into the Ne-yo bit. Gary thinks last week was a massive step forward and this week was a massive leap back. He's also fed up of mash-ups. You and me both, Barlow. Nicole agrees with Gary ... and me (re. their make-up). One of District 3 defends their mash-up choice by saying, "It's Hallowe'en and we did a monster mash-up." Leave. Leave right now. Someone escort that man from the building.

Sounds like Dermot's with friends and family. At least I don't have to see the plebs this week.

Jahmene - Killing Me Softly
It's time for my favourite. Yay. This week Samuel L Jackson asked Jahmene to sing for a charity thing he was doing. Take that, Robbie. Heh, Take That. Pun.
Ah it's perfect. Of course it's perfect. What do you expect me to say? I love this little dude. If you're expecting any sort of an unbiased critique of this guy you ain't gonna find it here!
Louis says Jahmene is the best singer in the competition. State the bleeding obvious, Walsh. Tulisa can't find anything negative to say. Don't try, Tulisa - there's nothing negative to find. Gary says it was effortless. Nicole says it was Ja-mazing (this earns an excited grin from me).

Jade - Freak Like Me
It sounds alright. I think I preferred her previous performances with slower songs that she can belt out, though. This one sounds a bit too fast (maybe she's dancing?) and like she's trying to catch up with the backing track.
Gary reminds us that Jade was unwell last week and has come back fighting. But he says that vocals were slightly weaker than usual. Nicole: "Thank god it's Hallowe'en because that was frightening." Louis thinks it was a bad song choice and that Jade didn't look comfortable. Tulisa argues (quite well actually) that the themes help contestants try new things and experiment with their style.

James - Sweet Dreams
Emile Sande wants to work with James - she told him backstage last week. So did Labyrinth. Good for you, James.
This is going to be ace. I can tell from the first three notes. In fact, I may well go and take another look at this on YouTube afterwards.

(I'm enjoying this too much to comment)

Louis loved it and says that a record deal can't be far away. Tulisa praises James for taking an old classic and then making it modern. Gary calls it incredible. Nicole says, "You are the difference. You are the difference." I don't understand but the audience likes it.


Right, I'm off to get a cup of tea and go and watch James' performance properly. Who left the show on Sunday?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

X Factor 2012 (20th October)

I'm watching a repeat again. (Yes, I'm quite the social butterfly at the moment.)

Last week Melanie left the show and District 3 stayed. No, I wasn't very happy.

This week's theme: club classics.

Dermot's little gang is back this week. And my god he's really going for it - splits, flips and everything ... oh wait this is a body double isn't it? Ah, you got me, O'Leary.

Judges are here. Louis is in another polo neck. Just thought you should know.

Christopher - Waiting For A Star To Fall
Christopher is not a dancer. Apparently his routine will involve dancing. This is going to be ace.
So it's not so much 'dancing' as it is 'wiggling from side to side'. Vocals are pretty good but it's very boring. I've already lost interest and am thinking about what Rylan's going to be doing this week. Louis seems to be smirking to himself.
Nicole: "Who doesn't love a warm cheese toastie?" She's decided to embrace the cheese this week. It reminds Louis of a school disco. Tulisa officially doesn't get it because it's too cheesy. She makes a comment about Gary churning his own Stilton (wonder how long she's been thinking that one up?)

MK1 - (various)
Apparently last week was 'love and heartbreak' for MK1. Boo-friggedy-hoo.
Well it's much less Glee than last week, but I have an irrational dislike for these two, so I'm not interested. Nicole clearly loves it - she's waving her hands around in appreciation.
Tulisa wanted them to do their own rap. (Raps are easy - I've written one about cheese.) Nicole doesn't know what all the smack talk is about because she thinks it was frickin sha-mazing. I'm too stunned by 'sha-mazing' to concentrate on what the others are saying.

Jahmene - Say A Little Prayer
My favourite little smoochie face has had a difficult week because of some personal stuff that has come out in the papers. Stupid newspapers.
He's wearing a blue bow tie that matches his trousers - how adorable! He sounds ace (obviously) ...  no, wait ... he sounds sha-mazing. Heh.
Louis says that Jahmene continues to amazing him (he means sha-maze). Tulisa thinks he's adorable ... oh Jahmene's fighting back tears. Someone hug him and then smoosh his little face. Gary reckons Jahmene is a little clumsy when he moves round the stage. Takes one to know one, Barlow.
(Side note: you should know that my computer tries to change 'Jahmene' to 'jazzmen')

Jade - You're Free
Jade's had the 'worst week ever' (she's got a sore throat and has to rest her voice for 48 hours).
She sounds fine to me. Hopefully she's not doing more damage to her vocal chords, though.
Gary wants to know whether Jade's voice is healed yet (apparently it's not). Nicole wants Jade to 'own it more'. Louis thinks Jade looks, but doesn't sound like, a superstar this week. Tulisa's angry at his comments and punches him in the face. Or maybe she's just angry. But she should punch him in the face. He needs to learn how annoying he is.

James - Sexy And I Know It
James has had a tough week as well? The acts are just falling apart this week! (He had an anxiety attack and 'had to calm down'.)
This is a great version of the song - completely different but great! It's much slower and he's playing his guitar. Really enjoyed that!
Louis thinks James deserves a record deal. Tulisa really likes seeing the fun side of James. Barlow thinks it was amazing, amazing, amazing (yes, he means sha-mazing, sha-mazing, sha-mazing). Nicole says James is a revelation with swag 'if that makes sense' - no it doesn't, but I love you anyway.

Union J - When Love Takes Over
These guys had a good week last time so hopefully they can keep it up (I'm nice sometimes - I don't always want them to fail).
They start by sitting down, pretending to be nonchalant. Bets on them standing up halfway through the song? Vocals are alright but I think they did a better job last week. Maybe it was the winter coats, because they're not all wearing them today.
Tulisa thinks they're finding their feet and are getting better. Gary says we're witnessing the birth of a new boy band but he wants more harmonies. Nicole wants more energy. Louis thinks the public love this band. Woah there, Walsh. Love's a pretty strong word, let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

Wouldn't it be marvellous if one of the acts completely disagreed with the judges' comments and started getting abusive? 'I'm going to take all your comments on board' is getting really boring.

Rylan - (various)
Yep, it's that time of the show people. Rylan is here. He's had a pretty traumatic week too. He had his beard shaved off.
Vocals are awful but that's really not why we watch Rylan, is it? Halfway through the song Rylan apologises for his behaviour. Because I haven't been reading any magazines this week, I have no idea what this behaviour is, but apology accepted, I suppose.
Louis thinks Rylan is not the best singer but he is the best entertainer. Tulisa thinks vocals were rusty but the entertainment factor was still there. Gary thinks it's not fair that every week Rylan stays in the competition, one of the good acts will be leaving. The audience doesn't like this. Nicole says he doesn't have the X Factor ... he has the X Y Z factor.

Lucy - Titanium
Lucy got drunk and fell over a lot this week. Apparently this offended some people and she and Rylan have been moved out of the hotel they're all staying in. Ok, whatever. Moving on.
She's alright. It's an interesting version of the song but it's not very sha-mazing. Tulisa's happily singing along though, so maybe I'm wrong.
Barlow likes that Lucy keeps us guessing. Nicole finds Lucy's lyrics endearing (she'd written the verses). Louis loves the new hair (excellent input). Tulisa thinks people connect with Lucy's words.

Dermot's with the plebs again. Get out of there, D, you don't know where they've been.

Kye - Save The World (maybe?)
Gary's counted all the flat notes from Kye's performance last week. There were apparently 32. Hopefully there will be fewer tonight.
Another slow version. Plenty of dry ice. The vocals are good. I'm wondering if maybe I'm not enjoying tonight's performances as much as last week's is because I don't really know the songs very well.
Nicole wanted the performance to be epic, and ... and ... and ... it was. You tease, you. Louis thinks it was the perfect performance. Tulisa thinks the Kye we know and love is back. Gary says he performed amazingly (sha-mazingly).

District 3 - Begging You

Please let them choose their own song this week, Louis.
Louis thinks they've been concentrating on their singing so much that they 'forgot to show their personalities'. Riiiiight. I'm always doing that - forgetting to show my personality. What a load of rubbish.
Yeah it's alright as far as boy bands go. The camera cuts to Louis, who is clearly enjoying it - what he's doing could almost be described as dancing (it's really a weird head-bop thing of smugness).
Tulisa thinks that last week gave them the kick in the butt they needed. Barlow thinks they're the revelation of tonight. Hasn't someone else been the revelation this evening? Nicole reckons they're giving the other groups a run for their money. Louis is full of praise.

Ella - You Got The Love
Ella was tweeted by Adele last week. Well Adele tweeted about her. She's excited that she'll be dancing and actually moving away from the microphone. Simple things.
She sounds perfect, but Gary's frowning. Maybe he's just worried about how his overs are going to beat Ella. Don't worry, Barlow, Jahmene's going to win so you don't need to worry about Ella. The sooner you realise this, the better.
Gary thinks that dance moves like Steps cheapen Ella. Me and you are going to fall out very swiftly Barlow. Nicole thinks Ella is beyond her years. Louis thinks she has the X Factor. Tulisa says she smashed it (this is a good thing, right?)


Any thoughts on who will be leaving?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

X Factor 2012 (13th October)

Yep, I'm running late. My apologies. Life got in the way of watching the show live yesterday so here I am, watching the repeat on Sunday afternoon (and therefore without alcohol).

We start with a recap of last week's results - wasn't that a dramatic show? For anyone who didn't see it, Louis was basically his usual, idiotic self and got one of the good acts knocked out of the competition by being indecisive.

Dermot's on the stage. Do my eyes deceive me, or is he just walking? No dancing? I have to admit, I'm quite disappointed that there's nothing for me to criticise.

The judges are here. Holy crap, what the chickens is Nicole wearing? I'll answer that question: tin foil dress.

Dermot asks Louis what the hell he was doing last week in the results show. Louis makes up some crap about not being able to make up his mind but we all know that one of the producers told him to take it to deadlock and he wasn't brave enough to go against orders.

Jahmene - My Tears Dry On Their Own
Ah, it's Mr Adorable. This week Yoko Ono tweeted him. Standard.
I can't decide if the fact that I think he's adorable is clouding my judgement of whether this is good or not. I think it's ace though. Oh and it's suddenly turned into Aint No Mountain High Enough! What a pleasant surprise. He's so good. He has to win. I've decided.
Louis thinks Jahmene is what the show is all about and he's one of his favourites ever. Tulisa thinks he looks dapper. Barlow loves it. Nicole, who refers to Jahmene as 'Babycakes', also loves it. She says he 'took it' - don't really know what 'it' is, or where he is supposed to have taken it, but it seems to be a positive comment.

Theme is love and heartbreak by the way. Forgot to mention that.

Christopher - How Do I Get You Alone?
Christopher was kinda boring last week. I'm hoping he's more exciting today.
It's a bit of a shaky start but he belts out the chorus. Like, REALLY belts it out. It's nice. That's what it is. He has a nice voice and he looks nice and he sings nicely, but I wouldn't ever buy his album.
Nicole is very impressed. Louis thinks it was very cruise ship and cabaret - which could well be a compliment in Louis' eyes. Tulisa doesn't think Christopher is current. I'd agree. Barlow disagrees with both of us, though. Silly Gary.

Union J - Bleeding Love
This week Union J met One Direction. Apparently this was a good thing.
They're tackling Leona, people. This is a brave move after last week's disastrous performance. All the practise they've been doing though (which they emphasised rather a lot in their VT) seems to have paid off.
I'm actually really enjoying this, and I'm really not a fan of boy bands. Much better than last week.
Tulisa clearly hears my thoughts as the first thing she says is that it was much better than last week. Barlow agrees. Nicole thinks they got everything right. Louis says the boys are bringing something new to the show. I think he's referring to the winter coats. Seriously, since when did coats become a good look for boy bands?

Dermot reminds us we can download the 'legendary' X Factor app. Yep, we'll get right on that.

Ella - Loving You
This week Tulisa took Ella to see her video shoot. Bet she loved that, rather than actually being given time to rehearse.
This girl is amazing. I know I took the mickey out of 'being 16' being her thing last week, but she has a stunning voice for someone so young. She can come second when Jahmene wins. That would be acceptable.
Barlow says the risky song choice paid off. Nicole calls Ella a 'timeless goddess', which Louis then has to follow. Good luck, mate. Louis reckons Ella has been styled too much like Adele. Someone throw something at him. Preferably something hard. And solid.

James - No More Drama
James took Nicole to a pub this week, and gave her pork scratchings. What a brilliant idea (her face is hilarious). I love this guy. In return, Nicole got Mary J Blige to phone James. Think he did better out of that deal.
Thank goodness James seems to have been allowed to style himself this week - at least his hair and makeup doesn't look quite so ridiculous. Blimey he's good. If I were going to vote (which I'm not - Simon Cowell doesn't need any more money) it would be a difficult decision tonight.
Louis thinks James has real talent. Tulisa believes every single word James sings. Barlow is also glad James got rid of the guyliner this week. Nicole thinks James has made Ms Blige proud.

Lucy - Golddigger
Apparently Lucy hasn't had a great week. Oh her nan died. She's chosen to do a song which is upbeat and will make people happy. Good on you.
I like this version. It's quite KT Tunstall-y. She does well and gets through the song.
Barlow enjoyed it. Nicole tells Lucy she swaggered out and made it her own. Again, I think this is praise but I'm not entirely sure. Tulisa congratulates Lucy for not going for the sympathy vote.

District 3 - I Swear
Yep, they're still sticking with the name. Oh well.
Louis has chosen their song this week. They're not fans of it, so it'll probably be horrible.
Ok, it's not awful. It's just awfully cheesy. I'm not sure Louis is aware that music has moved on in the last 20 years. At the moment he just seems to be taking boy bands and turning them into Westlife wannabies.
Tulisa understands why Louis picked the song - because their harmonies are their strong point. Barlow hated it all. I don't think there's one thing he liked about them at all, but he could just be having a dig at Louis. Nicole thinks it was like a warm apple pie, which is nice, but she would prefer some tabasco with it. Louis thinks they're a world class band. Sit down, Walsh, they're not that good.

Jade - Love Is A Losing Game
Aha! The dry ice machine is out. Was wondering when it would make an appearance. Jade's good as well this week! Seriously don't want to call who will be leaving.
Barlow is full of praise. Nicole thinks Jade is an exotic flower who has been picked out of the wilderness. What is Sherzinger on tonight? Whatever it is, make sure she has it every Saturday please, because the stuff coming out of her mouth is brilliant.

Dermot goes into the audience to meet friends and family of the contestants. Or, as I like to call them, the plebs. I'm not interested Dermot, move on.

MK1 - I Want You Back
I don't like these two so I'm hoping they have a rubbish performance. I'm nice like that. This week they've tried to make Louis more urban. Fighting a losing battle there, guys. In fact, the battle is probably already lost.
I really don't want to like this. Isn't it annoying when you try really hard to dislike something, and it's actually quite good? Damn it.
Tulisa praises them for having fun on stage. Barlow thinks it's gone a bit Glee this week. Nicole didn't feel it either because it went too Glee. Apparently I'm a sucker for cheese. Louis defends them by saying it's fun and energetic. Well, so were Jedward but you wouldn't ever buy their songs, would you?

Kye - I Love The Way You Lie
I really like Kye. He seems to have his own ideas about how he wants to stage his performance, and he's quite happy to take a risk (he chucked in some Dido), but I don't know what to make of this.
Nicole liked it but felt that the performance didn't grab her. I'd agree actually. Louis says he got bored and blames Gary, because he's a moron. Hush your face Louis, the grown-ups are talking. Tulisa thinks the audience hasn't seen what Kye is all about. Barlow is defensive.

Rylan - Too many bloody songs to count
Rylan may well be getting even camper by the week.
Rylan starts by singing a Take That song, just for a joke. The look on Gary's face is priceless. Well played! Vocals are obviously nowhere near the level of the other contestants, but it's definitely entertaining.
Louis obviously loves it. Tulisa says it's entertaining. Barlow: "If this was a competition for how many songs you could kill in two minutes, you'd win." Rylan bites back by telling Gary he's got a taxi booked for him, in case he wants to storm off again. Heh. Nicole praises Rylan for not being afraid to take a risk. She also says he was doing two things on stage: li-ving. I like you, Nicole, but don't joke about with the English language like that.

Melanie - The Song Off The John Lewis Advert
Melanie is very grateful that people voted for her. She cries she's so grateful.
Not a fan of the flared white trousers. Bit weird and breathy at the start but she's soon belting out the chorus. In fact, she's dangerously close to shouting rather than belting. Watch it, Mel.
Nicole thinks the performance showed us that Melanie can do everything. Louis likes that Mel can sing old school and new school. What's new school? Someone ask Louis to explain please. Tulisa was worried for a bit in the middle, but was relieved when Melanie pulled out 'them power notes'.

Aaaand that's your lot! Lots of good performances this week. I don't know who will be going. Thoughts, anyone!





Saturday, 6 October 2012

X Factor 2012 (6th October)

For those of you who have read some of my previous recaps and have decided to return for this year's X Factor - welcome and thanks for coming back. It's lovely to see a friendly face.

For those of you who may have accidentally stumbled across this little blog for the first time this year, hello and welcome. I should probably explain a few things.

  1. I don't have anything to do with the show
    If I did, I'd be there in the studio, watching it live, rather than writing sarcastic bloglets about it while slobbing around on the sofa in pyjamas with a glass (or two) of wine.
  2. I try to keep these bloglets clean
    But I normally write while I'm watching the show. So sometimes, if there is a particularly exciting moment, I may get carried away and the occasional 'bloody hell' might accidentally slip in. 
  3. This year, I haven't watched the auditions
    I think I've seen two episodes (one of auditions, one of bootcamp). This was partly because I wanted to be as impartial as possible, and not have pre-conceived ideas about the contestants in the live shows, but mainly because I was out of the country when this year's show started and never really caught up.
  4. Louis will not be taken seriously
    I've never really understood why Louis Walsh is a judge on X Factor, given that approximately 98% of what comes out of the man's mouth is nonsense. So, he gets quite a lot of abuse in these bloglets. If you are particularly fond of Mr. Walsh, it may be a good idea to give these a miss.
So, without further ado, let's get this show on the road, shall we?

We start with a quick recap about how the finalists reached the live finals. Goodness, it looks rather dramatic. I'm quite glad I wasn't watching all of that; I don't think I'd have coped.

Next we're introduced to all the finalists and informed that the winner of the 'wild card' will be announced later. This would probably mean more to me if I'd been watching the rest of the series, but I'll just go with it for now.

Dermot and his entourage are on the stage. Are they doing the dancing thing which they started last year? Of course they bloody are. This week it's to Gangnam Style, which is a promising start, but Dermot's pretty awful and ruins it. Well done, O'Leary.

The judges enter to the Superman theme. Obviously.

Oh blimey, the wild cards are here already; we're not hanging about. The winner is someone called Chris Maloney. He falls over and looks like he needs medical attention. Drama queen.

Goodness me, the voting lines are already open. No, we haven't heard them sing yet, they've just walked on stage. Apparently walking is worth a vote.

Just FYI, tonight's theme is heroes. I love it when there's a theme. It's always fun to see just how far they're going to stretch it.

District 3 - Simply The Best
Ah they're a boy band. Apparently they had to change their name quite late in the game, so they asked the internet ... and clearly the internet hated them, because the best name it suggested was District 3. Really? You went with District 3? I already don't like you, boys.
It's a very different version to the original but they start well and sound quite nice together. It's just ... kinda ... boring.
Tulisa, who doesn't realise that some sort of creature has attached itself to her cleavage, thinks they did a good job. Barlow thinks they'll probably be somewhere in the middle in terms of tonight's performance. I'll translate - he thought it was average. Louis thinks they're ace. He's easily impressed.

One Direction is/are here. No, I don't care for them either, so I'll just wait until they leave.

... and they're gone. Good.

James Arthur - What Doesn't Kill You
I recognise this guy. I think I liked him.
Judging by the perfectly coiffured hair, the makeover team have clearly had their grubby little hands on poor James. I'm not sure about this song choice for him. Again, it's good - probably better than District 3 - but it doesn't make me think 'wow'.
Louis thinks James will go far and congratulates all the people of Middlesborough. Random. Barlow wants James to keep his integrity. (Clearly he doesn't like the hair either)

Melanie Masson - With A Little Help From My Friends
Her daughter is the girl from Brave! Well, she's Scottish and has ginger hair.
Mel's standing on a box and looks like she means business ... and goodness me this woman has a set of lungs on her! She probably doesn't need the microphone. Wow! This is how it's done, District 3! She's awesome. I have an early favourite.
Nicole praises Melanie for singing for her life. (What we often don't realise is that the finalists who get booted out of the competition get taken outside and shot - sad but true). Tulisa reckons Mel's got some of the strongest vocals in the competition. Barlow thanks Melanie for giving the 'overs' category back some integrity (he's all about the integrity tonight) ... and what the hell does he mean? Wagner had tonnes of integrity, didn't he?

Lucy Spraggan - Mounted (it's her own song)
I'm impressed she's put her foot down and is singing her own song, especially on the first live show. I'm very impressed actually. The audience obviously doesn't know it, and can't sing along, so it probably took a hell of a lot of guts. Good on you, Lucy
Barlow thinks she's a good song writer. Praise indeed! Nicole thinks she's spunky.

MK1 - Born A Champion (maybe - I don't know the song)
These two I remember, because in bootcamp, when they had to sing against another group, the girl was a knob and got in the other people's way. Poor sportsmanship that is.
They're probably good. I don't know, it's not my kind of music.
Tulisa thinks she doesn't have the strongest voice in the competition. Well, no - clearly. Barlow reckons she's sung better and he also has a pop at Louis by asking what part of the performance was his idea. I can answer that - none. None part. You want to know how I know? No stools for them to sit on.

Christopher Maloney - Hero
This man is orange. Like actually orange. Aside from being a strange colour, he's also very nervous, which makes me nervous.
Well he seems to make a good start. I wouldn't have guessed he was nervous. He sings nicely but unfortunately it's a boring song choice, and following on from MK1 (who I am told, are very 'current') his performance is dated.
Nicole says it was cheesy - yep. Louis says it was heartfelt. Tulisa thinks the song choice was dated - boo ya, I could be a judge - and Barlow tells Christopher to leave the sunbeds for a bit.

Are we halfway through yet? I think we are. I hope we are.

Union J - Don't Stop Me Now
Another boy band. Apparently one of them is new and the others don't remember the band before he joined. Clearly some sort of quite serious memory loss situation going on there.
Excellent song. Bit apprehensive about a boy band doing it ... and yep ... they're ruining it. Dear god make it stop. It's pretty horrible. Oh good, it's over. They don't look very happy. They shouldn't be happy with themselves after that performance.
Tulisa wasn't feeling it but if there's a silver lining, it's that she thinks any faults were not theirs (i.e. they were Louis'). Barlow reckons Louis has destroyed them. Tulisa and Louis fight for a bit and Nicole interrupts with the diplomatic, "Well done for performing together tonight as a band." Dermot speaks to the band and one of the guys says that next time, "Maybe we'll try another song." Yeah, probably a good idea not to stick with the same song for the next 10 weeks.

Jade Ellis - Hero
I don't really like the song (it's Enrique Iglesias) but she sings it well and she has pretty shoes. She's cool. She can be my second favourite for now.
Barlow thinks Jade will surprise everyone. Nicole thinks the song was in slightly the wrong key for Jade. Louis thinks she deserves to be on the stage. Tulisa thinks she's captivating.

Rylan Clark - Gold
I remember him! I can't remember if he can sing though.
He answers my question fairly swiftly: no. I've never been to a Kylie concert, but I'm pretty sure this is what it's like. You know what? This wouldn't look out of place at Eurovision. If he's the UK entry next year you remember that I called it first, ok?
Louis thinks it's amazing and loves his vocals. Apparently we're watching different shows. Tulisa doesn't think the competition would be the same without Rylan - no shit. Barlow says he was having fun until Rylan started singing. Wow! I mean, I know we're all thinking it ... but to say it to his face! Goshies.

Kye Sones - Man In The Mirror
I haven't seen Kye before but I like him. He seems genuinely excited about all the X Factor buzz. Oh good, he's ace at singing too. Ok, he's another favourite.
Louis thinks it was an incredible performance and says Kye will get a record deal. Barlow reckons the production crew spent the budget on Rylan and had nothing left over for Kye. No, they were probably just trying to hide Rylan's vocals behind all the gold and sequins.

Ella Henderson - Rule The World
Ella is the youngest in the competition. She's 16 so she was born in 1996. That sickens me a bit. She also has a beautiful voice. This sickens me even more. If she didn't sicken me so much she would be on my favourites list. She gets a little screechy/strained towards the end, so she's not quite so sickening.
Barlow thinks it was stunning. Nicole thinks she is from another planet and seems to worship her a bit. Tulisa reminds us Ella is only 16. Being 'only 16' is clearly going to be her thing.

Carolynne Poole - Starships
"This literally is a dream come true for me." - I don't like her already.
I don't like this version of the song (it's much slower) and I am distracted by the fact that Carolynne looks like if Shania Twain and Cheryl Cole were to get smushed together into one person.
Nicole thinks it was a bold song choice, which I think is diplomatic for, "I didn't like it." Louis thinks she's like the UK version of Shania Twain - I am on fire tonight! Tulisa (quite rightly) wonders how the song fits into this week's hero theme.

Jahmene Douglas - Imagine
Aw, Jahmene seems ADORABLE! He's going on my favourites list even before he sings. Oh good, he's aces at singing as well as being adorable. He looks quite nervous though, and I think he's glad to get it over with.
Louis is Jahmene's biggest fan. Tulisa thinks he's got the strongest male vocals the X Factor has ever seen. Nicole is glad Jahmene has "found his balls." And on that bombshell, I think we'll bring this bloglet to an end. If you enjoyed reading (which I hope you did), be sure to come back next week!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

X Factor Live Shows

It's a Saturday evening in late September, which means it's X Factor season.

So, last year I wrote weekly bloglets about X Factor. Some of you may remember this. Most of you probably won't. Anyway, it's that time of year again.

This time round I toyed with the idea of creating a separate, new blog dedicated solely to the X Factor recapping but decided that I wasn't sure that I would continue doing it every year and seeing as I usually ramble and rant a lot in them, they would probably fit quite nicely into Inane Ramblings anyway.

That being said, unless you watch the UK X Factor, these bloglets probably won't make much sense to you, so I will not be offended if you skip reading them (look out for the give away 'X Factor' in the bloglet title).

For anyone who is still interested, the first recap will be up sometime after the first live show. There is a slight problem in that I don't actually know when the first live show will be (haven't been paying much attention to the series this year) so maybe give me a shout if you know? Ta!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Vancouver Is Awesome



My family and I just got back from our summer holiday. We went to Vancouver. Vancouver, by the way, is a FREAKING LONG WAY from the UK. It's about 7500km (a fun 'technical problem' with the 'blade system' meant that we were treated to the information channel on the plane for half an hour before take-off, so I became well acquainted with the statistics).

Aside from being a long way from home though, Vancouver is also a very cool place to visit, and here's why.

1. It has an aquarium which somehow manages to care (like really, actually, properly care) about conservation projects without ramming it down your throat every two minutes or guilt-tripping you into making donations and immediately turning vegan.

2. It has a museum which has such a high percentage of its artefacts actually on display, and not hidden away in storage, that it's practically impossible to see them all (you can take a look at them online if you're worried about missing something, though).

3. It is beautiful. Just amazingly, stunningly, effortlessly beautiful. Rather like me, actually.

4. The wildlife is way cooler than anything we have here in the UK. Don't get me wrong, I love badgers and hedgehogs as much as the next person, but you're not going to convince me that this...



...is anywhere near as cool as this...



5. It has English chocolate but better versions of it. Cadbury's is pretty much the yummiest chocolate around (that's non-debatable by the way) but while on holiday we discovered that the Vancouverites ... Vancouverans ... Vancouverish ... Canadians get even more interesting versions of it than we do. Like pretzel and peanut butter. Whoever thought of that combination should just retire immediately. There's no way they can better that one.

How about you? How was your summer? Did you visit any cool, new places?

Saturday, 25 August 2012

A Birthday Message

Hello Hannah (and anyone else who may be reading, but specifically you, Hannah). Today, as you are probably aware, is your 24th birthday. Unfortunately I am on holiday at the moment and therefore unable to wish you a happy birthday in person.

But do not fear.

Your ever loyal and wonderfully organised Grover has prepared for this by scheduling this bloglet and by making a video message for you. If everything goes according to plan you will be able to watch this video by clicking here. (The video has annotations which won't be visible on a phone, so please watch on a computer!)

If things are not going to plan, you won't ... but I hope you have a fantastic day, get lots of presents and eat lots of cake.

Happy birthday, lovely!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

I'm Still Here

Just a quick one to let you know that I'm still alive and just being lazy with bloglets at the moment (plus the Olympics have been a HUGE distraction and I haven't strayed far from a TV).

Normal service will hopefully be resumed towards the end of summer (family holiday to Vancouver first), but until then, what's been going on that I might have missed?


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

New Year's Resolutions - A Second Revisit

Believe it or not it's now July.

A few months ago I wrote about how my new year's resolutions were going and I said I'd be back around May/June to see if I was still sticking to them.

So, as a quick recap, my three resolutions this year were to:
1. Keep a weekly blog.
2. Learn 12 new songs on the ukulele.
3. Learn how to knit.

Number 1 is going very well, largely due to the A to Z challenge which added an extra 26 bloglets to my count (I'm mostly sticking to at least one new bloglet a week, but as long as I've written 52 more at the end of the year than at the start, I'll be happy).

Number 2 is going pretty badly. I do play my ukulele quite a lot, but I'm not learning lots of new songs. Must try harder, I know.

Number 3 is just not 'going' at all. I probably haven't picked up a pair of knitting needles since I wrote my first resolution revisit back in March.

How are your resolutions going?
Do you even remember them or have you already completed them by the half-way point in the year?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Am I Crazy?

I talk to myself.

Well, I say 'talk' but to be honest it's more of an under-the-breath mutter. Usually something like, "where's my hairbrush?" or, "did I finish that cup of tea?"

I think this is a fairly normal thing to do (I might be wrong - leave a comment and let me know). I've always thought that, by saying something out loud, it's like I'm directly asking my brain to wake up, get into gear and supply me with an answer. (It usually replies with something helpful like, "wherever you left it" or, "yes of course you did, now go and make another one")

My brain talks in purple italics.

But recently I've become aware of the slightly more worrying fact that I can quite happily have entire conversations with myself. This, I think, is a fairly un-normal thing to do.

Maybe it's not. Maybe it's completely normal to chat to yourself while you plan lessons. Maybe this is something an entirely sane person does:
"So, last week we looked at noun/adjective agreement and most of them were pretty happy with it."
"But there were four of them away, so we need to make sure they're not left behind."
"Ok, so if we do a recap maybe some of the children who were in the last lesson can help to explain it to those who weren't."
"And then they'll be consolidating what they learnt last week too ..."
etc.

So, I ask you - am I alone in doing this? Am I crazy?

Sunday, 24 June 2012

I've Been Thinking

I didn't choose a Saturday song for a bloglet yesterday.

To be honest, I've kind of gone off the whole idea (of Saturday songs, not bloglets).

You see, it seemed like a good way of making sure I blogged at least once a week after all the excitement of the A to Z, but I've noticed that that's all I'm using it for - something easy to write about each week - and it's becoming more of a chore than a pleasure to choose a song.

I don't particularly like the idea of this blog being a chore to write (or read), so I am nipping things in the bud and putting a stop to Saturday songs. It might mean that I don't blog quite as often, but I think I need to concentrate on quality, not quantity for a while. I hope you'll still come by now and then.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Cookie Challenge

Remember when I mentioned I'd started video blogging with a friend and we were sending each other challenges? Well, I've filmed a new one. Do take a look if you're interested. I can't see why you wouldn't be interested in watching someone you've probably never met eat cookies ...

Side note: don't watch if you're eating - I'll probably put you off.


Saturday, 16 June 2012

Saturday Song: Docteur Qui

Bill Bailey is one of my favourite comedians. He's also a very talented musician. This song is taken from his 'Remarkable Guide To The Orchestra' which was filmed at the Albert Hall a few years ago. If you like this, I've included links to more of his stuff at the end of this bloglet.


The Cockney Overture
American vs British News Themes
Cow Bells
Cars
Sirens

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Saturday Song: This Is How You Load A Dishwasher

An instructional song about how to load a dishwasher.

I don't think it needs more of an introduction than that.

I love the vlogbrothers.




Thursday, 7 June 2012

Looking Back

I realised recently that the vast majority of blogs I now follow and visit regularly are ones which I came across in the A to Z challenge. It's great that I have new bloglets appearing in my reading list on a pretty much daily basis, but I have to admit that because I've been spoilt for choice with all these new posts, I haven't really spent time reading the old ones - the stuff you wrote about before the challenge - and I suspect I'm not the only one.

So, I have a request.

I'd like you to choose one of your bloglets (blog posts) from any time before the challenge started and leave a link to it in a comment. I don't mind what it's about or when it was posted (as long as it was before April) - the choice is yours.

I shall start things off by sending you to this bloglet which I posted back in February. It has a video for you to watch and everything.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Saturday Song: Sing

This is a rather special weekend in the UK (and Commonwealth).

No, Eurovision was last weekend.

Unless you've been living in a cave or under a rock (or under a rock inside a cave) for the last few months, you've probably heard some mention of the Diamond Jubilee. This year marks the 60th year of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. Hers is only the second Diamond Jubilee in British history (Victoria was the only other monarch to reach this milestone - Elizabeth will need to continue reigning for about another 4 years to knock Victoria off the top spot).

All of this means that it's time for lots of bunting, a four day weekend and a MAHOOSIVE party!

It also means that it's time for Gary Barlow to write a song in honour of the occasion.

So good old Gary wrote his song and then went travelling round Commonwealth countries to find musicians to perform it. The result was this rather brilliant official Jubilee song.




Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Cheese Rap

So, I wrote a rap this week. It's about cheese.

You're probably going to need some more information to make sense of those statements.

Recently my friend Hannah and I started making videos and uploading them to YouTube. Yes, I realise that not long ago I claimed that I was far too boring to consider doing this but apparently I've changed my mind. Anyway, we decided to start sending each other weekly challenges (we've now done one each), partly because we live in different parts of the country and don't get to see each other often enough, and partly because apparently we like making fools of ourselves.

I'm not going to lie - part of the reason I'm writing this bloglet is because I'd quite like the view count on our videos to reach double (or even triple!) figures - it's always a nice feeling when someone takes an interest in (and hopefully enjoys) something I've made ...

BUT

I'm also writing this bloglet because I think it's really important that we all occasionally do something which challenges ourselves.

So my first challenge was to write and perform a rap about cheese.

Now, admittedly, I had plenty of time to write this rap and I wasn't performing it to a live audience - just a camera lens in my bedroom - and I was able to edit out any mistakes that I didn't want in the final video, but I still found it pretty tough because I'm really REALLY not into rap music. At all. Everything I know about rap could probably fit onto a post-it note, so the idea of having to write my own rap and then actually share it with people, was a little unnerving.

But I did it.

I'm certainly nothing that Eminem or 50 Cent need to worry about (they're still current, right?) but I'm pretty proud of myself for having a go. And I suppose that's the point I'm trying to make here - that if we can't occasionally dress up and rap about cheese in our bedrooms while wearing a pair of 3D glasses 'accidentally' taken from the cinema, then really what's the point of it all?

No, wait ... the 'challenge yourself' thing ... yeah, that's the point I was trying to make. If that happens to involve dressing up and rapping about cheese, then all the better!




Monday, 28 May 2012

Kreativ Blogger










Apparently I'm a Kreativ Blogger. It says so right there. Yep.

I'll be honest with you; I had absolutely no idea what this meant until very recently. After a minimal amount of research, I learnt that the Kreativ Blogger award is a little nod to your blogging efforts: someone who reads and enjoys your bloglets ('bloglets' = 'blog posts' - I'm determined to get this term used more widely) wants to give you a metaphorical pat on the back. At least, that's how I'm interpreting it.

It also seems to be an opportunity to:
- point people towards blogs they may not have visited before, and, more importantly -
- talk about yourself for a bit.

Excellent.

So, there are some rules. (I know, rules are usually boringy-snoringy, but there are only four.)
1. Thank and link back to the awarding blog.
2. Answer the seven questions.
3. Provide ten factoids about yourself.
4. Hand this on to seven others.

So first of all, thank you Danielle at Sweet Tea Reads for sending the award my way. I really appreciate the gesture. I still think of myself as being pretty new to blogging, so it's hugely flattering when someone I've never met enjoys reading my blog and takes the time to comment regularly. Thank you.

Questions
1. What is your favourite song?
What, ever? In the history of the world?
I'm not very good at choosing absolute favourites; it makes me kinda nervous because I might pick the wrong thing. With songs, particularly, I find that my favourite changes all the time. I tend to find a song/album that I adore, listen to it over and over again, and then find something I like even more.

Shut up, I am so not stalling in giving an answer!

Okay, fine. Favourite song at the moment, because I'm still in a Eurovision mood, is Euphoria by Loreen

2. What is your favourite dessert?
*Sigh* Another favourite.
Treacle tart ... no strudel ... no profiteroles ...

3. What do you do when you're upset?
Cry ...?

4. What is your favourite pet?
Out of the animals we've ever had - rabbits. They're so damn cute. I'd love to have cats though.

5. Which do you prefer: white or whole-wheat?
What a random question. Whole-wheat I suppose.

6. What is your biggest fear?
Drowning. I can swim but the thought of being underwater and not being able to get to the surface for air terrifies me.

7. What is your attitude mostly?
Optimistically laid-back. Unless bad grammar/spelling is involved - then get angry and smashy, like the Hulk.


Factoids
1. I studied Latin and Ancient Greek at university and if there's a chance to tell someone about a word with origins in either language, I'll take it. Even when they don't want to know.

2. I just started vlogging with my friend Hannah. We'll probably be YouTube stars by next week.

3. I think that iPhones are better than most other phones but I refuse to own one.

4. I have never been to the southern hemisphere.

5. I used to want to be ambidextrous (comes from the Latin, means 'right-handed on both sides' - sorry lefties!) I tried to teach myself to write with my left hand for a while.

6. I can name all 50 states of America despite having never lived there.

7. I have never broken a bone but I always wanted to, just so I could have people sign a cast.

8. I secretly quite like cricket despite not understanding most of the rules.

9. I'm really bad at listening to song lyrics properly. If I don't know the lyrics to a song, I'll just sing what I think they should be. Hence, for quite a few years, every verse of The 12 Days of Christmas ended with "... and a party ginger pear tree."

10. I currently teach Latin.

Bloggers
Sarah at 'The Ugly Bug Ball'
Hannah at 'See The Thing About That Is'
Philly at 'The View From Here'
Becky at 'Feeling Skittish'
Laura at 'Daily Dodo'
Jo at 'In Which We Start Anew'
Maryann at 'It's Not All Gravy'



Saturday, 26 May 2012

Saturday Song: Dancing Lasha Tumbai

Today is the day.

It's finally here.

I hope you're all doing happy dances.

I certainly am.

Yes folks, it's that time of year again. Time for the wonderfully bizarre and often insane EUROVISION SONG CONTEST!

For anyone not fortunate enough to have Eurovision in their lives, it is, as the name suggests, an annual song competition between European countries. Well, in theory. In reality it's become more about politics and voting for your neighbouring country (oh, what a surprise, Cyprus - you've voted for Greece) but we won't get into all of that today.

I didn't actually know this, but apparently the competition started in the 1950s (with only 7 countries competing) when Europe was rebuilding itself after WWII as a way to bring countries together to participate in a light entertainment programme. What a genuinely lovely idea, huh?

Since then, Eurovision has grown massively in popularity, and now there are two semi-finals before the final in order to cut down the number of countries taking part. It's something my sister and I have grown up watching and each year we love it a little bit more, which made choosing just one song for today's Eurovision themed Saturday Song rather tricky.

After much deliberation, I'm going with a fairly recent song from the 2007 contest because I think it demonstrates beautifully what Eurovision is all about:
- Sparkly/shiny outfits
- Ridiculous dancing
- Hearing music not sung in English (although this song, like the majority of Eurovision songs, does contain some English)
- Insanely catchy tunes (which you may well find yourself humming later in the day)
- General confusion about what is going on (why does he have breasts?)
- Having crazy amounts of fun despite looking like a wally


Maybe this time next year I'll be able to use a song from the 2012 contest.

Bet you're looking forward to it already!

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Okay, so despite the title of this bloglet being Saturday Song (in the singular) I just can't pass up the opportunity to share more delights from Eurovision. Here are some of my favourites (they're all brilliant in their own special way):

Waterloo (Sweden, 1974) Before my time but you've got to love a bit of ABBA.
Making Your Mind Up (UK, 1981) Still before my time but we don't often win now. Europe hates us.
Wild Dances (Ukraine, 2004) She looks like she's having the most fun ever!
Pirates Of The Sea (Latvia, 2008) Forgot this until I started this bloglet. It's pretty unforgettable really.
Fairytale (Norway, 2009) His photo is in the Bergen Aquarium. Just FYI.
Opa! (Greece, 2010) I tried to learn all the words to this one. I failed: it's all in Greek.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

[This Bloglet Has No Title - I Was Too Lazy To Think Of One]

I'm beginning to realise I'm quite an extrovert. I like being with other people and get bored very quickly when left on my own for too long. I'm either an extrovert or still a child.

So, with the house to myself today I am obviously already bored (it's about noon while I write). Sarah left for work at about 8am. Four hours, people! I only managed four hours of being in my own company before getting bored. Geez.

In order to combat the boredom, I decided I wanted to write a bloglet. Excellent. Decision made. Problem is I didn't have anything I wanted to write about (I did actually start writing a bloglet about having nothing to write about but began to bore myself even more so aborted that one - you're welcome by the way).

Eventually I realised I could combine this wish to write a bloglet with the beautiful weather we've been having recently and went for a wander round our garden, camera in pocket. What follows are some pictures I took. Enjoy.


An orange flower I thought was pretty. I'm not very into botany so have no idea what it is (other than orange and pretty). I'm also not very into photography, hence my shadow across it. D'oh.




The family who owned the house before us had a son called Cyril. Cyril, it seems was a budding sculptor and inscribed his name into this piece of stone by our front door.




That's the wall where grass snakes like to sunbathe. Unfortunately, they weren't there today. What you're looking at is essentially just a wall. Fascinating.





This is our garage door. It's not very beautiful, I'll grant you, but that horizonal(ish) line you can see is a chalk line that my dad drew about 10 years ago. It's roughly at the height of a tennis net. Made a brilliant thud when you whacked a ball at it.








This is a hand-print. No, honestly. It's mine. It must be around 12 or 13 years old now. When we put the climbing frame up we decided to put hand-prints in the concrete round the base. I should probably have put my hand next to the print so you could see it better, but it was icky and muddy.





Everyone has sun-bleached rubber ducks sitting on a tree stump in their garden, don't they?




We have a statue. Sarah and I named her Mary. One year we covered Mary with snow.





Last year we saved a frog and left this ice cream tub near a pond so it could hop out when it was ready. Ice cream tub got left for a while and seems to have created life, in the form of moss.




Pride Rock (off of The Lion King). Probably enough said.




On that exact piece of patio (well, on a chair on top of that exact piece of patio) I fell asleep one summer and woke up to find that a bird had pooped on me. Worst nap ever.




I've often thought this would be the perfect place to put a hammock. We've never got round to it. If I was more committed to this bloglet, I would have photoshopped a hammock in there with me waving at you from it.

Just imagine I'd done it, will you? Ta!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Saturday Song: Weight Of The World


I'm not very good at writing essays. I dislike the whole process. Thankfully I am finished with full-time education and never have to write another essay in my life if I don't want to. 

One year, while I was still in full-time education (I think it was university rather than school) I had to write two or three essays over the Christmas holiday. Obviously I left everything to the last minute and ended up having to stay up late into the night before term started to write the damn things (my own fault, I know).

Anyway, as well as being an unenthusiastic essay writer, I was also a slow essay writer. I would check the word count after every paragraph (sometimes every sentence) in the hope that I may have miraculously reached the word limit all of a sudden. While I stayed up late and plodded my way through these particular essays, I decided to treat myself after every few hundred words by listening to this song. 

Admittedly it's probably more suitable to be listening to it blasting from a car stereo with the windows down as you drive around the coast of somewhere sunny, rather than in your bedroom at 1 o'clock in the morning at a volume which won't wake up the rest of the house. But I still liked it.



Sunday, 13 May 2012

Excuses

So I haven't made an appearance round these 'ere parts for several days now. Except yesterday when I posted a new bloglet. Yeah, except then.

But that wasn't actually me.

Well it was, but it was me from about a week ago when I had one of those rare moments of being organised ahead of time and I scheduled a bloglet.

Anyway, today's ramble is an excuse for why I haven't been visiting and commenting on other blogs recently. To make things more interesting, I have actually prepared two excuses. Only one is true. The other is utter poppycock. I feel kind of bad about lying to you, but it's probably okay if I tell you beforehand that I'm going to do it.


Excuse One
For about a week now we've been having yucky internet troubles in Casa del Groves which have put a stop to blogging, twitter and YouTube (basically all the good stuff). Methods for fixing this problem have included:
- Trying all cables in every possible combination
- Attempts to persuade the router to wake up by changing its view and putting it in different rooms 
- Crossing our fingers and hoping for the best
- Switching everything off and on again
- Swearing at things

Eventually, Mum and I discovered the ethernet cable under the carpet had been squished by years of us walking over it.

Ah, we'll just get a new cable then.

Nope, Dad will fix/bodge it with duct tape.

So in summary, the internet broke for a week but now it's been mended with tape.


Excuse Two
The aliens did it.

They were keeping an eye on Earth (as they always are) and noticed an unusually high amount of blogging going on last month. As you probably know, the aliens are wary about blogs. They find them so darn interesting that they have to read them all (to them, blogs are like pokemon). With all the blogging going on last month, they got so caught up with reading that they completely missed the annual space picnic they had been heading for.

Last weekend they finally finished reading, realised that they'd missed the picnic, and immediately sulked (there had been talk of someone bringing party rings). They decided to beam someone up to explain the sudden surge in blogging and yours truly was selected at random (I know, right? What are the chances?) 

Since then I've been trying to calm them down about the picnic, and convince them that we didn't distract them on purpose. I gave them a heads up that there'll be another increase in blogging next April. They said they'd take the longer but more scenic route that avoids Earth next time.

We parted on pretty good terms - I gave them some party rings for the journey home and they seemed satisfied.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Saturday Song: Runaway Horses


It has recently come to my attention that it's quite common to blog about a particular subject or theme on a particular day of the week. I have never been this disciplined with my blog (it's called inane ramblings for a reason, folks) but I've decided to have a go at it, just for one day a week to start with.

You can still expect the same rambly, inane musings you've grown to love (admit it: it's true), but Saturdays will now see a little more structure. Each week I'll choose one song to write about and include a video of said song. It's an idea I tried out (extremely unsuccessfully) on twitter that will hopefully work much better in bloglet format.

So, without further ado, this week's song is Runaway Horses by Belinda Carlisle.


The first album I owned (on cassette!) was The Spice Girls. That must have been around 1995. Before then, when my family and I went on long car journeys, we would always listen to my dad's CDs. Apart from Meatloaf, his taste in music was pretty good (don't tell him though) and my sister and I would be allowed to choose from 5 or 6 of his albums. I don't think we ever needed other options: we always chose Belinda Carlisle.

For some reason her album became known by Sarah and myself simply as 'Doo-Doo-Dares', so whenever Mum or Dad asked what we wanted to listen to, we'd request, in unison, "DOO-DOO-DARES!" Of the whole album, Runaway Horses was always our favourite. We would insist the volume was turned up and would shout along gleefully to the chorus every time it came round.

It's weird how even now when I hear the quiet tinkly build up at the start of the song I feel excited: I feel like I'm 7 years old again and sitting in the back of my dad's car. And it's ace.

What song transports you back to childhood?

Monday, 7 May 2012

Reflections

"This is your time to tell us about your A to Z experience. 
Share your pleasures, your pains, your setbacks, your gains."

Those nice people over at the A to Z challenge would like us to write about our experience. I've been kind of lazy and have just picked out a few of the questions posed on the A to Z reflections page. Let's get reflecting!

Who did you meet along the way that you found to be especially helpful or inspiring?
Maryann and Shiela were helpful (and patient) in answering questions I had about their blogs.
Jessica and Lucy often taught me something new.
Sarah was, and continues to be, inspiringly nutty.


Did you have a favourite blog post*?
Kind of putting me on the spot there. No, it's too hard to choose. I can't pick one ... you can't make me! *sulk*


Or a favourite series?
Sweet Tea Reads, which I think I only discovered towards the end of the challenge but I like Danielle's style of writing and will definitely be going back to read more in the future.


Which blogs did you discover during April that you will be returning to in the future?
Lots. I will be quite happy to go back to any and all of the blogs I've started following. Go ahead and click on my profile (or here) to see a full list. (Quick side note: if you're following me and I haven't yet reciprocated it's because either I've been lazy, or I've been thick and am unable to find the 'follow' button on your blog.)


Would you do the challenge again? Why?
This was the first time I've attempted the challenge so I didn't really know what to expect when I started. What I discovered was a fantastic sense of camaraderie among those taking part and some brilliant blogs which I will definitely be visiting regularly from now on.
From a purely selfish point of view, the challenge was also responsible for my blog views going through the roof (they're still nothing to shout about, but I was amazed at the increase), and (miracle of miracles) people actually started commenting on my blog!

So, would I do the challenge again? Do you even have to ask? 


* When are we going to adopt the term 'bloglet' officially? It's way better than 'post'.