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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Dynasty, Disco and the Eurovision

Had a chilled out weekend, watching some TV, and catching up on a couple of episodes of the 80’s soap/drama ‘Dynasty’, I remember every Friday night getting ready to go clubbing, watching this program, the shoulder pads, big hair and outrageous storylines were brilliant for getting you in the mood to go out and party. I downloaded some new music and added it to my iPod taking the total tracks up to 14,562. The ex wife took me out for lunch to say thanks for helping out recently, we went to a nice country pub called the Hollybush at Denford, It’s a nice looking pub, that used to be a corn mill back in the 17 century. It’s in a picturesque setting beside the canal, with a handful of barges moored as we arrive. Upon entering the pub I’m struck by the amount of young lads that are there, each with the modern day accessory of a bull terrier on a lead. There’s a couple sat in the corner with a cloud hanging over them, she looks angry whilst he just looks morose, I’m guessing they’ve had an argument. This is confirmed when she stands and curtly asks him “You coming or what?” He says nothing, just gets to his feet and walks out following her like a lost dog. Our food arrives, it’s nothing special, pub grub but sadly just average, I watch as a group of what look like travellers enter the car park in a blue Ford Cortina with a flat tyre. Dreadlocks and facial piercings and a small terrier padding behind completes the picture as they leave the car and sit on a wall hand rolling cigarettes. I drive home with Dan Hartman Summer singing the disco classic, ‘Instant Replay’, and an idea begins to emerge. Monday saw us having disco all day in the office, Donna Summer, Sylvester and Edwin Starr to name a few artists that boogied on down at Black Cat. We’ve decided that for the summer workshops this year were going to do The Tempest with the kids, and that Prospero’s island shall be a 70’s discothèque called ‘Island 54’ Tuesday started with my being stopped by every single set of traffic lights on the way to work, that was 9 red lights, mind you I had Bauhaus on the iPod to keep me company with ‘Swing The Heartache’ and ‘Too Much 21st Century’. As I arrived at the offices I saw a van which intrigued me, it was obviously a butchers van but the livery read, ‘chicken, beef, lamb and sheep’ very odd indeed. I have been working on our action project workshops again today; the action project brings kids together and develops confidence whilst teaching them new skills. I’ve been editing the script for the Tempest, thinking what songs to put in and devising dance routines in my head to songs like ‘Le Freak’ by Chic and Ottowan’s, ‘Hands Up, Give Me Your Heart’. The project is great fun and it’s very rewarding when you see a shy child shine on stage. After six hours of non-stop disco music, we are all completely disco-ed out, and pod changes back to shuffle and we get The Killers with ‘Sams Town’, what a relief. Back home and I make a risotto with spicy meatballs that’s inspired by my last visit to Abruzzo and some tasty spicy sausages I had there. I made a decision to write up the recipe and post it on the forum I’m a member of, for my Abruzzolutely friends to try. Last night was the first semi finals of the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, and I watched the proceedings firstly because there was bugger all else on the TV and secondly, because I wanted to see how bad a song has to be to not get through. I have to say I found it all very amusing, and here’s the verdict of the Stoke jury, namely Baz. (In no particular order). Belarus: Singer looked like he was wearing a helmet until the close up revealed it to be his blonde hair lacquered within an inch of its life, the singer also could obtain gainful employment as a Heather Mills look-alike. A white suit is not a good look for a pasty blonde. Song dull.
Czech Republic: Fronted by a short man dressed in a red cat suit cum child’s superhero costume, the musicians look like they’ve all escaped from a home for hobo’s, there is really very little point to this song or act. Belgium: Got the biggest laugh out of me, a lumbering giant of a man dressed like a second rate Elvis; he fiddled with his microphone as two women in awful synthetic pink wigs sang backing. The words came over slurred, but his gold lame jacket sparkled magnificently, sadly his performance didn’t. Bulgaria: A real contender for the ‘Who Said this Guy Could Sing Award’, an odd looking chap dressed in what looks like chain mail, his voice ranges from feeble to an odd falsetto as two stilt walkers prance about behind him. To his right stands a woman with nails like talons and upon close inspection could possibly be his mother in a fright wig. A definite contender for nil points. Turkey: Now I liked this at the start, a nice looking girl but not the best of singers, good costume and dance routine and a catchy hook line to the song, then it all went pear shaped. Why did the odd bloke in a green skirt have to come on and do weird dance moves with her? It was distracting and he looked a complete tit. Iceland: Another pretty girl, just 18 with a nice but instantly forgettable song, however her dress made her look like one of those dolls people use to cover the loo roll. I think this will do well, however if it wins how will Iceland find the money to host the show next year, can’t see many people rushing to invest over there…. Again. FYR Macedonia: Two boys, twins in fact, only comment is, they’ve seen far too many Bon Jovi videos, this will sink without a trace. Andorra: This country keeps entering but never get in, why? Well in the past I guess it’s because their songs have been dreadful, but this it’s by far the best of the evening. Sung by a girl who could be the love child of Belinda Carlisle and Geri Halliwell, the song bounces along nicely, it's upbeat and poppy with all the elements of what is required for the contest. Sadly once again Andorra didn’t get into the final. Romania: Was the most jaw achingly funny entry, it started off with a fake stone chair and women draped over it, looking like a scene from The Lost World, I half expected a dinosaur to appear, however as soon as the singing and dancing started I couldn’t control myself, not only was the song pants the dancing was the worst of the night, particularly the blonde girl who at one point looked like she had a particularly virulent form of Parkinson’s disease. Finland: An ageing rapper and squawking female singers with fire jugglers, why didn’t they put that fire to better use and burn the sheet music. (For the hard of hearing, yes I did say sheet). This sounded like two separate songs joined together to make one, a musical cut and shut so to speak. Portugal: Never won, but keeps trying. This year they have a traditional looking routine and folky song, not very memorable, as it looked more like an advert for the Portuguese tourist industry. The man on the drums looked like he was enjoying it too much, I’m amazed that the skinny girl in the background has the strength to lift the accordion, let alone open and close it. Malta: Now don’t get me started here, sung by Chiara who came third in 1998 and then second in 2005, it’s Malta’s attempt at third time lucky. Once again she sings a dull ballad, all I can say is, give it up girl and get a job in a charity shop. Bosnia & Herzegovina: The group look like they’ve stepped out of a production of Les Miserables, or a dreary Merchant Ivory movie, my comment about the song is, WHY? It’s as pallid as their cream coloured costumes and no amount of flag waving could make it interesting. Montenegro: A sassy looking brunette sings a song telling a willowy man to go away as he dances like a demented python about the stage, every trace of body hair has been removed and he glistens as he gyrates and gesticulates until the song ends and she changes her mind and instead of saying ‘go away’ says ‘stay’. Utterly pointless. Switzerland: Performed by a band called Lovebugs, a popular Swiss rock band the songs a good one but sadly it’s sung terribly, the singer was recruited apparently from a newspaper advert, if he got the job what must the others have sounded like? The Swiss may have cuckoo clocks and chocolate but they didn’t have a hope in hells chance with this song. Sweden: A belter of a song performed by a blonde diva that looks uncannily like she could have been Ulrika Jonnson’s mother, not for me but I think will score highly in the final. Armenia: Looking like a pair of demonic Cossacks, Anush and Inga sing ‘Jan Jan’, it’s over the top and funny to watch the mix of traditional costume married with enough bling to keep a horde of New York rappers happy. The industrial looking pipe players make this one a sure fire contender for the top spot. Israel: Introduced to the audience as a sentimental song delivered by an Israeli Arab and a Jew. It fails to hit the mark with me. I understand the sentiment behind it as these two women hold hands, but as a song it’s just boring, as is the staging. Sadly it did get into the final. Bring back Dana International. Hosted by two inept Russians, the man looked like a porn star, you know the kind, (He) ‘Hello miss, I’ve come to mend your washing machine’ (She) Oh dear look all my clothes have fallen off. The second host is a model with an extremely wide but uninterested smile, she looked bored throughout and uncomfortable with the constant pawing by her co-host, just one word of advice, asylum seekers cross borders, however jokes find it more difficult. Thursday night is the second semi final…………….. Bring it on.

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