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Friday, 15 May 2009

Prospero and it's all Black and White

Wednesday 13.05.09 – Today the journey into work was a step back in time as the iPod played ‘New Kid In Town’ by the Eagles followed by eighties rock classic, ‘Heat Of The Moment’ from Asia and the Beach boys, ‘Little Deuce Coup’. Once in the office we have to deal with the ongoing saga of our actors in the field neglecting to purchase tickets for the London ‘Congestion Charge’. Today one of their agents rang asking why they had to pay the fine: SIMPLE, because they didn’t buy a bloody ticket. I sometimes wonder what planet these agents are on? (Mine included sometimes, but that’s a different story altogether)

Now having a life on shuffle does have it’s drawbacks, an obvious one being that readers of this blog get to discover the embarrassing songs on my iPod; yes there is the greatest hits of The Nolan Sisters. The other downside is having to sit through songs that are seasonal, out of season. An example is today as ‘Boredom’ by the Buzzcocks faded away Barbra Streisand singing ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ replaced it; oddly enough no one in the office attempted to move the track on. This indicates that we are used to the shuffle principle or just bone-idle. Thursday 14.05.09 – Woke up today with Kate Bush; steady on....... if that had literally happened I’m sure I’d just as surprised as Ms Bush, what I meant to say was, I used my iPod as an alarm clock today and my slumber was broken by ‘Blow Away (For Bill) from the superb Never For Ever album, strange how a song about dying should be the one that causes me to rise. I lie there just listening, not stirring. The dogs have heard the alarm and are making a noise downstairs, but I just ignore it and listen as the song fades out.

Here it is, the second semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest, I pour a glass of red and sat on the sofa with the dogs we watch as the two hosts, Mr Porn Star and the model with a mouth so wide she could fit a meat pie inside without breaking the crust, crack inane jokes and try to look like they like each other. We get a run down of who is through by default, Russia because they won last year, France, UK and Germany, because they put the most money into the contest. We’re then given a quick recap of who went through on Tuesday and it’s straight into the show. So here’s my review of tonight’s proceedings. Croatia: Opened the show with a strong look, a handsome man with smouldering eyes, were told he wanted to once be a priest, but chose singing instead. Dressed in black with calf length black boots he looks as macho as possible without spilling testosterone across the stage, then he opened his mouth and this weak, almost whispering voice came out. Andrea, a willowy girl dressed in white; then joins him, (that’s original, white and black). Her voice is stronger than his and overpowers him, then at one point they are howling like cats in oestrus, Andrea is so out of tune it becomes difficult to listen to. I come to the conclusion there are so many long notes in this song because they couldn’t come up with many words for the piece. This one wont do well methinks. Ireland: The most competitive country in my opinion, having won it the most times. This year the offering is an all girl rock group singing a monotonous song called ‘Et Cetera’, sadly it’s all a little too much Hannah Montana than indie-chick. They come out of the middle eight with a key change a la Westlife, not very original. I find myself watching the singer wondering how long it took her to get those slashed tights on and smiling every time we catch a glimpse of the bass player who is the spitting image of Bridget Nielsen. Latvia: sing a song called Probka, meaning traffic jam, it’s an awful song with very little melody and the staging looks messy. The singer obviously took dancing lessons from Madness front man, Suggs, not so much ants in the pants as armadillo in the boxers, the highlight/funniest bit being his crotch grabbing homage to Mr Jackson. The girl’s dresses look like they’ve been made from sheets of A4 paper stapled together, and at one point they become a screen for a projected image that is completely indiscernible. The whole thing smacks of desperation. Serbia: An accordion player who looks like the lovechild of Alvin Stardust and Steve Strange opens the routine, then a rotund gentleman with a huge blonde afro who looks like he’s been dressed by a blind shop assistant lumbers on, to begin singing; I use the term sing loosely, a song about a shoe. 3 bald guys prance around him and a girl with enormous breasts in a white tutu does the splits and stays there staring at the audience like a demented doll. Part of me thinks they are taking the proverbial. Poland: A pretty girl sings a song called ‘I Don’t Want To Leave’; part of me wants to shout out, ‘well you’re the only one love’, as we’ve a thriving Polish community here. The song’s a bit shouty, but not strong enough I think to make it through. Norway: The favourite to win comes on, Alexander Rybak, a young guy who can open his mouth really wide, he plays a violin, and then starts to sing, it’s not unpleasant and quite catchy. He’s not handsome, but is enigmatic and has also gone for the black and white theme; I can see him gaining quite a following from young teenage girls. The three male dancers from Frikar Dance Company are a tad distracting and at one point it looks like one of them has kicked the singer. The audience liked this one very much, and I think is a contender easily for the top three in the final. Cyprus: My first thought is that the singer should be at home studying for her exams instead of balancing precariously on top of a white light box. The song’s a plinky plonky annoying jangle about a firefly, it’s drab with no substance or meat on its bones. At one point I’m willing the singer to put me out of my misery by leaping off the white box. I’d sell my soul to get these three minutes of my life back. Slovakia: Starts simple with a man at the piano and another on a cello, the female singer is doing a fine job when suddenly she’s joined on stage by an unshaven scruffy looking bloke; the theme being black and white again, the cellists stands and plays his instrument like a frenzied viola player. The song begins to fall to pieces, there’s no sex appeal between the two singers, in fact it looks like they’re both arguing over the last bottle of vodka in the off licence, suddenly the girl emits a note so high only dogs can hear it and the whole thing falls apart from thereon. Denmark: A song co-written by Boyzone singer Ronan Keating, now I don’t want to make any comparisons to Mr Keating, as many have already been made, but sadly the singer does sound similar, in fact I did think at one point I was watching a tribute act. The song was okay and stood its ground, but sadly the final note was off key and the vibrato wavered a little too much. I don’t think this song a serious contender. The singer Niels Brinck is a nice looking young man, but his jeans were so tight I hope he’s not planning starting a family in the near future. Slovenia: This was for me the oddest performance, the performers are behind screens that look like blinds tacked to some two x four from B&Q, the introduction starts and plays on an on and on and on (a third of the song is just the introduction). The musicians appear from behind the blinds, all handsome, hot looking men but the singer remains behind her blind warbling away, then with just 45 seconds of song left she appears and all I think is OMG it’s Lady Gaga’s mother. Get back behind that screen love. A rather indulgent offering that deserves to be confined to the back of the Eurovision cupboard. Hungary: Begins sounding rather like a Pet Shop Boys track, the acts are dressed in…. wait for it black and white, the rather pointless arty beginning ends and they all rip clothes of each other and the three girls and one man are dressed in colourful if not figure hugging attire. His green trousers are so tight at times I think he’s smuggling plums. Rather than a dance routine the performance looks rather like a workout video cum soft-core sex show. The guy, exfoliated beyond belief would not have looked out of place in a Euro-gay porn video. Azerbaijan: The music starts and all I can think of is Mutiny on the Bounty meets Moulin Rouge. Aysel and Arash sing ‘Always’ and at the start are an odd coupling, she’s very Hollyoaks whereas he’s more Holyhead. It’s a repetitious song well below par and instantly forgettable. I pondered why she only had one leg clothed by a gold stocking; perhaps she didn’t have time to put the other one on? Sadly this got through to the final. Greece: Sakis Rouvas, dressed in white with his backing dancers in, you guessed it, black looks rather like a young Nick Knowles. The presentation is slick, the dancing in perfect synchronisation, with plenty of shots of the Rouvas torso as his shirt lifts with his arm movements. The performance is at times melodramatic but has lots of energy and is actually a good song called, ‘This Is Our Night’, and I think it could well be. By far the best performance of the evening and in closing all I can say is Sakis, I’d like to have your babies. Lithuania: Sasha Son a young man at a piano sings ‘Love’ a simple song from a young man with a nice voice. He’s also chosen the black and white option and topped with a trilby, whilst at the piano he looks good, but as soon as he stands and walks around the stage it’s all a bit reminiscent ‘Singing in the Rain’, all we need is Eric Morcambe dressed as a policeman. It’s a proper song and lacking in gimmicks, apart from the trilby homage to Justin Timberlake. It got through to the final, but I feel will need to have more impact to win, may I suggest three nuns dressed in tin foil? Moldova: This is a traditional costume entry, the song has a rustic feel to it and the shouting, leaping dancers give it a feel of one of those meals complete with entertainment you get conned into going to on holiday, by a rep named Susan from High Wycombe. Oddly the singer looks just like the Polish entry but in a red wig. It gets through to the final much amazement of the audience, but come on let’s face it, it’s Eurovision and the men are so camp it’ll fit in just nicely. Albania: This can be described only as the most bizarre entry, A young girl with a sinister smile, that indicates she enjoys pulling the legs off spiders is dancing with a man in a green lycra body suit complete with sequinned gimp mask, it’s a little bit reminiscent of the 1978 Dee D Jackson video for her single ‘Automatic Lover’, complete with silver robot; only here this manic looking singer has a green one. The backing dancers look like two painted dwarves, and the spinning on their heads lends little to the performance, how this got through to the final is a beyond me, it’s like a nightmare set to music. Ukraine: Pole dancing and male strippers, rotating wheels and Centurions, what looks like a medieval torture device coupled with a centrifuge, is the best way to describe this spectacle. This wouldn’t be out of place if Amanda Lear, French, disco chanteuse was fronting it. It’s a crazy song with a mad woman singing then playing the drums before the beefcake gladiators throw her around the stage. OTT and fabulous, this will be a huge hit on the night. What was it called? I don’t know I was distracted. Estonia: Louise Brookes meets Betty Blue, wow the most beautiful girl of the night, beguiling blue eyes beneath a black bob. Sung in her native language it’s a wee bit Enya without the multi-tracking, but none the less it’s as easy on the ears as she is on the eye. There’s a brief moment of chaotic violin, but it soon calms down again. I like this one but don’t think it’s strong enough compared to the bolder performances. Netherlands: The final act of the night is Toppers, and my revue will be as brief as my interest in this performance. Three overweight men in their late thirties dressed in sequinned suits that look like a massacre in a mirror ball and a very large lady dressed in white with what looks like a life support machine strapped to her midriff. An awful song and dance routines that looked like someone’s dad dancing at Carly and Ryan’s wedding down the Dog and Feathers.

Thursday is wound up with my doing some work on the Tempest, I’m worried about how we’re going to get an ageing Prospero out of an eleven year old, with dance routines and song bouncing around my head I find it difficult to sleep, just as I’m dropping off the rain comes, like stair-rods it’s lashing down outside, looks like the tempest is outside already, oh well it could be worse, I could be sat in the office with Rachel using my head for target practice.
I upload this installment as Kanye West sings 'Touch The Sky' and Rachel is getting busy with a padded envelope and lots of sellotape.

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