With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Eurovision Song Contest 2012 May 26, 2012


So here we are again the cultural peak that is the Eurovision Song Contest. This is the 57th contest and it is being held in Baku, Azerbaijan. There are 26 entries in tonight show, with Sweden favourites and the UK fifth with the bookies. I will be writing this blog as it happens and I won’t be going back to edit it, especially my predictions! So you will be getting my first thoughts on each and every song in this years contest. At this stage I’m sticking my neck out and going for Engelbert to make the top three along with the singing grannies from Russia

First up it’s the traditional dancing and singing, that happens in every show doesn’t it? Guess who’s up first? It’s only the Hump himself a.k.a Engelbert Humperdinck with “Love Will Set You Free”. A truly consummate performer but he looks a bit plastic doesn’t he?  But he is 76 now, which for me makes it quite amusing that the song has plummeted down the UK charts, apparently because those ‘silver surfers’ of the Hump’s generation don’t seem able to download it! Actually it’s not a bad song for Eurovision either and I reckon plenty more CD versions will be produced for next week if it does well.

Compact Disco performed the Hungarian entry. Not very compact or very disco really. Very 80s and very power ballad is “The Sound Of Our Hearts”. Are leather coats back in vogue? Rona Nishliu sang next for Albania, she is an experimental jazz vocalist, do I need to say more? Other than perhaps was that a real beehive on her head and a snake on her neck? Don’t give up the day job love!

Donny Montell sang “Love Is Blind” for Lithuania, with an oh so contrived blindfold which appeared to have been made from one of Michael Jackson’s old gloves. He whipped it off with a Bucks Fizz skirt type flourish. Bosnia and Herzegovina had a unmemorable ballad, I can’t recall the artist either!

They’re here, it’s those awesome Russian Grannies with “Party For Everybody”. Stop the contest now and hail them the winners. Absolutely spot on Eurovision entry. Twenty million YouTube hits can’t be wrong can they? They’re also raising money to rebuild a church that Stalin destroyed 70 years ago.

Iceland’s entry was a quite interesting song, but not winning material methinks. the song was “Never Forget” by Greta Salóme & Jónsi. A return to very traditional Eurovision Eurodisco values came next from Ivi Adamou for Cyprus. It was called “La La Love”, see what I mean by traditional contest values? She also danced on a table constructed from books, what was that all about?

It’s France with Anggun singing “Echo (You And I)” surrounded by topless male gymnasts. I wonder if it put her off at all? It was hard to tell for me, largely because the song was pretty crap. But there were some English lyrics in it, quite a departure for France. Italy, with their second performance after 14 years away gave us a fabulous Amy Winehouse pastiche from Nina Zilli. I quite like this, probably now my dark horse for winner. The English version is called “Out Of Love”. Great song, great look, great style and no gimmicks!

“Kuula” from Ott Lepland did the business for Estonia. An ok kind of song, reminiscent of many 70s ballads. The voice was very good, but those eyebrows had a life of their own. I’m sure they’ll be preparing to become moths or butterflies very soon. Tooji represented Norway with “Stay”. Apparently he was born in Iran. He also had a hoodie look going on, no chance of him getting into our corner shop then. He’d probably end up with an ASBO or a CRIMBO as they’re now known. The song was identikit and formulaic 80s disco.

Here come the locals! It’s Sabina Babayeva with the rather unfortunately titled “When The Music Dies” Of course the cost means they might not want to win two in a row. The song was pretty lightweight, so unlikely to win. Apparently she is a big fan of the Hump. Sabina is a very nice looking woman, but what was going on with the dress? Did she get dressed during a hurricane in a pillow factory? Mandinga were the Romanian entry and the group is made up of Romanians and Cubans. the song was an everything but the kitchen sink Eurodisco oompah sound production called “Zaleilah”. Was that really bagpipes? Surely not.

Denmark was represented by Soluna Samay with “Should’ve Known Better”, for some reason she was wearing a sailor’s hat, with some manky feathers in it. But the song was good, her voice is strong too. Shades of KT Tunstall. Soluna was supposedly once a busker. This is one of my favourites so far, but as Catwoman pointed out to me; Soluna is probably better than the song. Now is the time for Greece, surely they can’t afford to win can they? Will the IMF bail out the Eurovision Song Contest next year. Somehow with this song I don’t believe the Greek Government or the IMF need to worry. Incidentally the song was “Aphrodisiac” by Eleftheria Eleftheriou.

It’s time for the favourite, here come the Swedes led by Loreen with “Euphoria” which has already been a smash in many European countries. Her performance was clearly influenced by Florence off of Florence and the Machine and perhaps some Kate Bush mime dance moves. But I think I agree with the bookies, this has winner written all over it. But me saying that is probably the kiss of death for the song. But it really is a classy dance track. Can Bonomo sang next for Turkey with “Love Me Back”. I can only assume he is a big fan of English band sailor from the 70s. Well apart from the fact that his song was odd, bewildering and frankly shit! But yes clearly long leather coats are back!

Pastora Soler is a seasoned performer with quite a few albums under her belt, probably not as many as the Hump though. She sang “Quédate Conmigo” for Spain. She does have a superb voice, but this is not really my kind of song. Roman Lob (what a great name that is) stepped up to the plate for Germany with a pretty good song, “Standing Still” which was co written by Jamie Cullum along with Wayne Hector and Steve Robson.

Malta’s representative was Kurt Calleja, does that make him a Malteser? A reasonably competent dance track is what “This Is The Night” is for me. Kurt had a pretty trendy and funky suit and shirt combo, but why was he wearing a driving glove? And was that the ghost of Rick Astley on guitar? The Macedonians pushed forward Kaliopi to sing “Crno I Belo” That title looks like a Welsh road sign to me. The song struggled to make it’s mind up about what it was; ballad, pop song, rock song, dance track? Who the hell knows, but more importantly who cares?

Bloody hell it’s Jedward, their career can’t have much more life left in it surely. But “Waterline” is a pretty good song, so why did the writers waste it on these two talentless dorks? Jedward winning this contest would be on a par with a dog winning Britain’s Got Talent wouldn’t it? “Nije Ljubav Stvar” was the Serbian song from Željko Joksimović. Do you suffer from insomnia? This song might help you to sleep. Were those wellies or cowboy boots he was wearing?

Gaitana was next with a song she had cowritten, that song was “Be My Guest” and was the Ukrainian entry.  Not a bad song and a damned good voice. But the dancers were camper than a row of pink tents. The brass intro and sometime refrain in the song did sound a bit like an elephants call though. Moldova had Pasha Parfeny singing “Lăutar” which was no more than just alright for me. As for his supporting dancers, a chimp with wooden legs could have done better.

So that’s it folks, now it’s results time. I won’t bore you with any commentary about the results though. But I will tell you about them in the next few lines. But right now I think the top two might be Sweden and Russia. Well I was right with that last line although some of my earlier predictions were way out! Sweden won the contest with 372 points followed by Russia with 259 and Serbia with 214. The UK finished second from last with just 12 points. Norway were bottom with only 7 points. Luckily Sweden are one of the few countries that can comfortably afford to put the show on in the current economic climate. So next year it will be from Sweden.

 

“All the words are gonna bleed from me and I will sing no more” May 22, 2012


Matt gets in the posh grub to celebrate the sales of his album. A Fray Bentos each for everyone who bought the album

Matt Cardle has been dropped by Columbia Records and Marcus Collins may follow very soon. In terms of sales they have been the least successful winner and loser respectively. Am I surprised? Not in the slightest. Am I pleased? Only if this is a portent for the death of the X Factor and shows like it.

Columbia drop him and all his 'friends' disappear too. I wonder if he has eaten all those Fray Bentos pies yet?

Of course those conspiracy lovers may say Matt Cardle (or Matt Curdle as I like to call him) was dropped after his comments suggesting that 9/11 was an ‘inside job’. I can’t see that myself, however my theory about Marcus Collins is that if he does get dropped it will be for his awful cover version of the White Stripes classic, “Seven Nation Army“. So as a means of redressing the balance here are Jack and Meg with the original of the song. Enjoy!

The only thing keeping Marcus from being dragged from Columbia records are all the members of his fan club

 

“Now I’ll walk down our great lane” May 21, 2012

Filed under: News — justwilliam1959 @ 10:06 pm
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Back on February 6th I posted about Robin Gibb‘s apparent remission from colon cancer. (Click here to read that post). As many of you already know he has now passed away aged just 62. Robin was a talented singer and songwriter who until the Bee Gees found mega success as the doyens of disco in the 70s was their lead vocalist.

I have nothing to add to all that has been written about him so far other than to say that my thoughts go to his family, friends and fans. Robin Gibb RIP.

 

“I’m like the B-19, loaded with Benzedrine” May 20, 2012


Hands up who thought that heavy drug references in music arrived in the 60s and the ‘straights’ just didn’t get it? Well if that’s you, you’re very, very wrong. Fred Astaire was singing about Benzedrine in a song back in 1942. The song was “On The Beam” written by Johnny Mercer and Jerome Kern. Astaire sang it in the film ‘You Were Never Lovelier‘ (Thank you to the rather excellent Word magazine for bringing this to my attention)

However much he took, Fred could never get as high as Audrey Hepburn

It’s certainly not the earliest drug reference in song either. Cole Porter wrote “I Get A Kick Out Of You” for the Broadway musicalAnything Goes‘ in the early thirties and the song has the lines  ‘Some get a kick from cocaineI’m sure that if I took even one sniff That would bore me terrifically, too’ I love that I have been able to talk about lines and cocaine in the same sentence there!

Feel free to contribute with your own favourite drug reference in songs, especially if it’s earlier than these two!

 

 

“But it’s worth it all just to hear them say that they care” May 17, 2012


Supreme Disco Diva Donna Summer passed away today aged just 63. It has been reported that she had battled breast cancer and lung cancer and died at her home in Key west, Florida. She was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines exactly 10 years and one day before me.

In the late 60s Donna auditioned for the part of Sheila in the Broadway production of ‘Hair’ but the part went to Melba Moore. However when the show moved to Europe she was offered the part and moved to Germany. She later went on to appear in the stage versions of ‘Godspell’ and ‘Showboat’.

While in Germany she married an Austrian, Helmuth Sommer in 1972. They divorced later but Donna kept an Anglicised version of her surname. She also learned to speak fluent German. She met influential producer Giorgio Moroder while she was singing backing vocals for Three Dog Night. Her first album came out in 1974 and was titled ‘Lady Of The Night’. A single taken from the album “The Hostage” went to number one in Belgium. Following this Donna worked with Moroder on an idea for a song that eventually became her first major hit, “Love To Love You Baby“. It was eventually released in November 1975 in both the edited 7 inch version and the extended 17 minute 12 inch version. The latter was at the request of Casablanca Records head honcho Neil Bogart. Many radio stations refused to play the song owing to the orgasmic moans it featured. Those noises certainly worked well on my teenage mind!

Donna Summer would be seen by many as a singles artist, but in my opinion she also released some superb albums. In particular the four albums that came out through 1976 to 1977; ‘A Love Trilogy‘, ‘Four Seasons Of Love’, ‘I Remember Yesterday‘ and ‘Once Upon A Time’. Of course the track that epitomizes the peak of her disco success was almost hidden away on ‘I Remember Yesterday’; that track was “I Feel Love“. There is a very strong argument to say that this song was one of the most influential songs ever, certainly of the 70s.  Without it there may never have been electro, techno and according to the Fatboy himself (that’ll be Norman Cook) no Acid House either. David Bowie recalled Brian Eno‘s reaction on hearing the song when they were recording in Berlin. Bowie said ‘One day in Berlin … Eno came running in and said, ‘I have heard the sound of the future.’ … he puts on ‘I Feel Love’, by Donna Summer … He said, ‘This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.’ Which was more or less right’

Her last big album of the 70s was 1979’s ‘Bad Girls’ which spawned three classic Donna Summer singles; “Hot Stuff”, “Bad Girls” and “Dim All The Lights”. Whilst the 70s was probably where she peaked she did release a few more classics. In the 80s there was “On The Radio”, “State Of Independence” and “She Works Hard For The Money”. Also in the 80s there was the stuff she recorded with Stock, Aitken and Waterman, notably “This Time I Know It’s For Real”. I heard Pete Waterman talking about Donna on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 show earlier today. He said that she was by far one of the most amazing and talented vocalists he had ever worked with. She scored a few number ones on the US dance charts as late as 2008 and 2010. She also won five Grammys between 1979 and 1998.

She became embroiled in controversy over alleged derogatory comments about gay people and AIDS. However she refuted those claims and publicly apologised. But this should not mar her glittering career. I for one will miss such a great talent and my thoughts go to her family, friends and legions of fans across the world. Donna Summer RIP.

 

“Strangled by the wishes of pater, hoping for the arm of mater” May 9, 2012


A few of you will know that I am part of what can probably only be described as a jokes syndicate. I receive tons of jokes from friends via text/ SMS and send them on to a select group of 18 people. I presume these 18 send them on to their buddies too. Perhaps this is what the real six degrees of separation is all about!

I occasionally receive a music related joke as I did earlier this week. If you are easily offended I suggest you stop reading now because I am going to publish said joke in this post. You have been warned! I would be interested to know if any of you have already seen this via an SMS/ text message, who knows, we may have mutual acquaintances.

Mick Hucknall of Simply Red has been arrested for shagging a rabbit. Apparently he was holding back the ears and singing bunnies too tight to mention!

And finally to show that I have ill feeling toward Mr Hucknall, it is only a joke after all, here are three Simply Red classics fo you to enjoy

It definitely looks like he has been holding back the ears!

 

“And when they stink, the people blink and blame it on the drains”

Filed under: Observation — justwilliam1959 @ 7:39 pm
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According to a recent article in the Australian Geographic magazine it seems that global warming in the Mesozoic era may have been caused by windy dinosaurs. Scientist have calculated that all the herbivore sauropods produced around 470 million tonnes of methane, that compares with up to 90 million tonnes produced by modern ruminant animals, which includes cows, pigs and giraffes. I suspect that Catwoman (my good lady wife to those of you who aren’t regular readers of this blog) would say that I contribute another 50 million tonnes at least!

Current global emission of methane including natural and man-made (and me) is in the region of 470 tonnes and plays a big part in the warming of the planet. I would like to thank Simon Mayo‘s show on Radio 2 yesterday for bringing this wonderful story to my attention. Come on anything that is fart related has to be funny right? They used this story as the theme for a number of tracks yesterday, my favourite of those was probably “Whodunit” by Tavares. But the one that they didn’t play is the one I will use to bring this flatulent dinosaur story back to music. It is the rather beautiful sonnet, “I’ve Parted (Misprint)” by Ivor Biggun and the Red Nosed Burglars. Did you know that Ivor Biggun is in fact Doc Cox who used to appear on Esther Rantzen‘s ‘That’s Life‘ programme?

Enjoy the song, which in my opinion is a brilliant earworm and I’m confident it will be in your head for days! Click here to read the article on the Australian Geographic site.

 

 
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