Wednesday 30 May 2012

Lady Gets Stuck in Deckchair

We have all been enjoying the lovely sunny weather that has blessed us in the last few days. That is all except an elderly lady, who managed to get stuck in her deckchair - for 6 hours!

The 83 year old was sitting on her 2nd floor balcony at her home in Scarborough, North Yorkshire on Sunday afternoon, when the chair's fabric ripped leaving her unable to move.

A passing fire crew heard her cries for help and managed to gain access through a neighbour's home freeing the distraught pensioner. She was taken to hospital for precautionary measures, but released later.

A North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "This was an unusual incident, but firefighters are trained for every eventuality.

Have you ever been stuck anywhre and had to be rescued by the emergncy services?

Sunday 27 May 2012

The Hump Flops at Song Contest

So the Eurovision Song Contest is over for another year and it’s another triumphant victory in Baku for Sweden with Loreen singing “Euphoria” (please go to to see examples of previous winners and losers in this esteemed musical load of nonsense).

Winner - Loreen
Good to see that it has not been won again by one of the former Eastern Bloc states, along with their penchant of voting for each other. It has to be remembered however that the Scandinavian’s are not averse to the same little tricks either (though poor old Norway managed last place again). 

Apparently the winner is already no.1 in 4 countries and their entry, a former Swedish Idol contestant, was the strong favourite to land the spoils beforehand.

Enge will now have the Hump!
As for the UK entry, it was another total and utter disaster. The hope was that the name and reputation of Engelbert Humperdinck would bring in the nostalgic votes and that the UK would come closer to the top than in recent years. 

But it was not to be with the septuagenarian crooner only gaining a total of 12 points, leaving us in sorry 25th place (of 26).

Let’s be truthful, the song was poor and by all accounts, Enge’s performance included the odd bum note or 3. 

Ireland's entry Jedward
It is difficult to see what the UK can try next. Even with a renowned world star we still fail miserably. It truly comes to something when a mega-star like the Hump gets beaten by Irish entry Jedward and the Russian Grannies.

It is abundantly clear that we will never win the damn thing again because of the dislike the rest of Europe holds for us, so maybe it is time for us to hold up our hands, give in gracefully and let the Euro nations get on with it. 

Every year the BBC pile loads of our TV licence fee money into helping fund this complete and utter farce. Surely it could be put to better use and leave it open to the commercial channels to cover (should they be bothered).

Friday 18 May 2012

3 Eurovision Song Contest Losers

I promised in a previous posting (3 More Eurovision Song Contest Winners), to follow up with 3 songs that did not win the contest. With this years extravaganza only 8 days away, I must apologise for my tardiness and reveal these previous entries - one of which being possibly the worst song ever to grace the event.

The Italian entry in 1974 was sung by 26 year old Gigliola Cinquetti and was entitled "Si". 

10 years previously as a 16 year old, she had gained her country's first ever win in the contest with "Non ho l'età" (I'm Not Old Enough). 

The lovely Gigliola
This time, on the English south coast at Brighton, she was close to becoming the first artist to win the contest for a 2nd time (eventually achieved by Ireland's Johnny Logan). She was beaten into 2nd place by a Swedish 4-piece outfit by name of Abba, of whom it is said, subsequently didn't do too badly for themselves.

It is believed that the live contest telecast of the song was blocked by Italian broadcaster RAI because it coincided with a national referendum on divorce. It was thought that the title "Si" (yes) may send a subliminal message to influence the poll. The song remained censored on Italian radio and TV for over a month.

An English language version of "Si" was released under the title of "Go (Before You Break My Heart)" which reached no.8 in the UK charts.

One of the better UK entries in recent years (wholly my opinion although many others would vehemently disagree), came in 2006 with Daz Sampson and "Teenage Life".

Daz Sampson
Sampson, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, was backed by 4 young women dressed in St Trinian's style schoolgirl uniforms. This caused something of an outcry from certain sections of the media, claiming it was overly sexual. Sampson replied stating  "the teenage girl dancers were fully clothed ... there was no sexual innuendo".

The Eurovision audience were not impressed however and the song only managed to gain 25 points, being beaten into 19th place by the Finnish entry.

Obviously Europe did not like, or were not ready for rap in the ESC. More to the point (as I commented in an earlier post), they didn't vote for us as they don't like us, which is fine as we can't stand them either (end of my anti-Euro rant - for now).

And now we come to the worst song (possibly) to ever be entered into the contest and I am sure many of you know what it is going to be before even reading this. Sadly it didn't even reach the final, being eliminated at the semi-final stage.

Over the years, Ireland have the best record of all in the contest, winning on 7 occasions. But they have never been averse to "taking the mickey" out of the whole affair and entering a song with little or no hope of success.

Dustin the Turkey
In 2008, their entry was from a puppet by name of Dustin the Turkey, singing the wonderfully dreadful "Irlande Douze Pointe" 

Dustin has been a fixture on Irish TV from as far back as 1989 and is a turkey with a very strong Dublin accent. The song however only managed 15th place in the semi-final, amassing  a paltry (or should it have been poultry) 22 points. 

Dustin has so far campaigned in 2 Irish presidential elections, where some of his manifesto promises have included ensuring that all young boys in Ireland get to go on a date with their favourite Spice Girl and to industrialise all rural areas (whilst ruralising everywhere else). 

He is a UNICEF ambassador.

Let's be honest here, the song was truly appalling, but still it is a shame that Dustin didn't reach the final - he might have given those Eurovisionists the kick up the proverbial they richly deserve.

This years contest is on Saturday 26th May. Come on Engelbert - we're counting on you!

Saturday 12 May 2012

Moroccan Rapper Given One Year Jail Term

One of Morocco's most famous rappers, Mouad Belghouat, who goes by the name Al-Haqed (loosely translated from Arabic as "the vengeful one"), has been given a one year jail term for criticising the Police in a video. He had been charged with insulting state employees and official institutions.
Moroccan Rapper Mouad Belghouat
Belghouat, 24, a severe critic of King Mohammed VI, was not present in the Casablanca court on Friday when the verdict and sentence were handed down. His defence team had withdrawn from the trial on Monday and no plea was entered on his behalf.

The sentence, which also includes a 90-Euro fine, was described as "severe" by his lawyer Omar Bendjelloun who also confirmed that the star would appeal against what he called "a trial against the freedom of expression".

The charge emanates from a You Tube video which included images of Moroccan Police Officers, one of which showing an officer with a donkey's head. 

Meanwhile New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch, claim that Belghouat denies any knowledge of the source of the video and believes that unknown people created a montage of photos and his music.

So now we know what it means when someone says "the law is an ass!"

Friday 4 May 2012

3 More Eurovision Song Contest Winners

With this month's Eurovision Song Contest getting just that little bit closer, I continue my look at a few selected previous winners of the "great annual musical extravaganza".

Please click HERE should you have missed my previous posting.
Much of the contest is, for want of any other way of describing it, a complete load of nonsense, but sometimes it throws up a decent song and very occasionally that song will actually win. Not to say that all the winners are good, some of them are pretty dreadful as well it has to be said. 

So here we go with another trio of winning songs, it would be intriguing to know of  your opinions on this little lot?

Gali Atari - Love the hairdo sweetie!
In 1979, the contest found its way to Jerusalem after Israel had won the previous year's "shindig" in Paris. The home entry was a sing-along ditty (with an out-of-tune piano plonking along in the background), entitled "Hallelujah" sung by a 4 piece vocal group by the name of Milk and Honey, fronted by Gali Atari.

On this 4th occasion that the host nation won the contest, this winner was (in my opinion) truly awful, being performed by what seemed to resemble, a bunch of "local pub singers". 

In fact, if this lot turned up at the "Bear and Badger" on a Friday talent night, I wouldn't be surprised to see them boo'ed off stage and pelted with rotten tomatoes (they're a rough old crowd down the B & B, I can tell you).

The following year Israel didn't enter the contest. The official reason was that the date clashed with Yom Hazikaron (Israel's Memorial Day), but you do wonder if some sense of national musical shame didn't influence the decision as well.

Is this the worst winner of all? It can't be far off it if truth be known.

9 years down the line in 1988, the contest had again ended up in Dublin, after the Emerald Isle's previous success 12 months earlier (our Irish friends never seem to learn).

That year Switzerland were represented by a 20 year-old, French Canadian female vocalist who, it has to be said, went on over the years, to carve out a fairly decent living for herself.

Celine Dion, (yes, that Celine Dion) sang "Ne partez pas sans moi" (which I am reliably informed translates to "Don't Leave Without Me", to an estimated 600 million worldwide audience.

It is evident, even at that early age, what an incredibly powerful voice Celine possesses, which obviously helped her to win by 1 solitary point, but it couldn't really be classed as one of the better winning songs of all ESC's.

Just one last comment, Celine - that skirt!!! A Fashion Police alert if ever I saw one!

Now coming a little more (or quite a lot really) up to date to 2009 and Norwegian violinist/singer Alexander Rybak's landslide winning song "Fairytale".

Coming through the 2nd semi-final, the song won the final with a massive 387 points, setting a new ESC record along the way and giving Norway their 3rd all-time win in the contest. An enormous hit throughout Europe, it also managed to reach no.10 on the UK charts.

It certainly was a different style of Eurovision winner, with its violin interludes and cossack style backing dancers (popular with the hosting Moscow audience I assume).

To say it was truly appalling is being kind to it.

That's all for this time.


3 Songs that didn't win the ESC - one of which, could possibly be classed the worst entry of all time. 

Watch this space!

Thursday 3 May 2012

3 Eurovision Song Contest Winners

One of the entertainment events that takes place in May every year is the Eurovision Song Contest.

Since 1956, the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union, have got together annually to bring together the best (or in many peoples opinions the worst) of European music in a contest, voted upon by the other participating countries.
In recent years, with the inclusion of many of the former Eastern European Bloc countries, it has become something of a marathon event, with semi-final/qualification events followed by the final on the Saturday night. Some countries are given a bye from the qualification, due presumably to their helping fund the event (France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the UK).

The contest traditionally takes place in the home of the previous years winners, with this years extravaganza final on 26th May in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Over the years there have been many different styles of song that have won the contest, with a vote taking place on the 50th anniversary of the contest declaring Abba's "Waterloo", as the most popular. Other world famous stars such as Cliff Richard, Celine Dion and Lulu have taken part in the event which attracts a global TV audience in excess of 300 million.

Here is a selection of 3 of the previous winners of the contest:

In 1994, the contest was won by Ireland's Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan singing "Rock 'n' Roll Kids". Ireland had won the contest in both 1992 and 1993 and it was popularly thought that they were trying to ensure they lost the contest so that they were not obliged to stage in in the following year. They entered a song sung by a male duo (no male duos had previously won before) and both artists were somewhat older than the norm, which they believed may count against them. 

However they were in for a surprise as the luck of the Irish came to haunt them. The song was the first to ever score over 200 points and went on to win by a clear 60 points. 

It is now generally considered to be one of the better entries in the contest of all time.

The UK has not won the contest since 1997 when  Katrina and the Waves were successful with "Love Shine a Light". Fronted by American Katrina Leskanich, the band were previously best remembered for their big hit in the mid-eighties "Walking on Sunshine" and Katrina actually spent a period working as a night DJ on BBC Radio 2.

"Love Shine a Light" reached no.3 on the UK singles chart becoming the bands biggest hit.

As mentioned, it is 15 years since the UK won and it's inevitable that this poor run will continue, even with Engelbert Humperdinck being the UK's representative in Baku. This is not down to the singer or the song, it's basically because all of Europe hates the UK!

Last but definitely not least, we go back in time to 1973 with Anne-Marie David winning for Luxembourg singing "Tu te reconnaîtras". 

After being cast as Mary Magdeleine in the French production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972, Anne- Marie was chosen by the Grand Duchy, in what proved to be a successful attempt to repeat their win in 1973.

Five years later in 1979, she again took part in the contest, this time representing her native France in Israel, coming a close 3rd behind the host nation.

Anne-Marie, who turns 60 three days before this year's contest, still successfully records to this day, and made a new recording of her winning song as recently as 2011.

I must confess to Anne-Marie David's song being my favourite winner of all. 

I would very much like to know which songs were your favourites. 

As an extra, here is Anne-Marie performing the song in 2005 ie 31 years after winning the contest.