Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Weekend That Disappeared!

One minute it was Friday night and I was running out of the office door as fast as my legs could carry me, and the next second it's Sunday evening. Where did it all go?

I have some bits of memory.

Friday I got home to find a bunch of new clothes, much needed after many years of not being able to afford new clothes. Thanks to some new shopping sites I've said goodbye to High and Mighty and their scarily expensive clothes and hello to some better deals. Feel a lot better with them, and feel more confident in going out.

Saturday Jim and I went down to Folkestone. Jim sat around with the parents, whilst I headed out with Sam to lend a hand delivering leaflets for his election campaign. We got a lot done, and even spotted Michael Howard and Damien Collins desperately doing Tory emergency campaigning as they try to maintain their councillors in Hythe following a local expenses scandal. I saw no other parties posters up, but lots (and I mean lots) of Lib Dem posters and placards around town. Usually it's a fairer split than that. People on the door step were unusually positive towards us (and very unhappy with the Tory councillors) and I think Sam has a real chance. Good luck for Thursday Sam, my fingers are crossed for you!

I followed up a lot of walking with a nice BBQ at home.

Sunday we headed home early (mainly to feed Gibbs but also to avoid a village wide garage sale that was already causing a fuss at 8am in the morning, everyone's after a bargain these days) and indulged in an inexpensive Battlestar Galactica marathon.

Wow... look it's a Charles Dera picture I've not published yet! Remember him, Dear Constant Reader? Good times. Good times.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Friday, May 29, 2009

Many Moons Have Passed

Once upon a time I used to work two shifts at TVW (8am – 4.30pm and 4.30pm until 11pm) in order to earn less money than I get now, and for all intents and purposes I am now working 4 day weeks on 8.45am to 5pm shifts. How messed up is that? Yes, Dear Constant Reader, today I received the largest pay cheque I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. Although most of it is already allocated to things, it is still sobering to think that just 4 years ago I was slaving away, walking home up dark country lanes at half 11 at night, for a pittance.

This week is a three day week for me, so today has felt like a Tuesday which means I shall be due a pleasant surprise tomorrow evening when I discover there is no Thursday and Friday. Mmm. This weekend I am returning to Folkestone to lend a hand with Sam’s election in Hythe. It’s been 4 years since I got off my lazy arse and helped out the Lib Dems, so I suppose I owe this to them! Plus Sam is standing (for local elections) and it would be somewhat rude of me not to pop down and help him out.

So plans are that my finances finally begin to get sorted out this month. Time to start properly NOT spending money. No more diet coke at work. No more magazine buying (except Private Eye and the Economist, please you can’t take them away from me!!). I’ve survived with no money for two weeks, if I can just be strong and not buy unnecessary food/books/magazines/related rubbish then I will be MUCH better off and more able to help out with buying food for the evening etc. It’s not like I couldn’t stand to lose some kilos!!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Monday, May 25, 2009

Another Busy Day

Sunday was random.

After a quick drink in the pub, we headed into Greenwich centre (erm... about two minutes walk from home so not really a trek) where discovered a worryingly high concentration of homosexuals. I think there was football yesterday which would explain it, as the Rose and Crown was heaving!

Negotiating our way through this gaggle of gays we made it to the Vietnam restaurant where we had plenty to eat (and my eyes had a feast too as a rather heavily muscled man was sitting at the table next to us yum!). After this we decided to take an evening walk through the park, and ended up on Blackheath where, rather helpfully, a fun fair had set up shop. It was quiet with half the visitors being... police officers keeping an eye on the 12 other people there. Obviously I avoided any ride that I deemed too fast (erm... all of them!) but did eat donuts (yes donuts not doughnuts, the sign said so) and ice cream and candy floss. And Jim drew a crowd of onlookers (and concerned police) as he shot down some targets (21 for 21) to win a teddy bear!! Well a pink and green gorilla...

Afterwards we returned home happy and full. Mmm...

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What A Difference A Day Makes

After finishing work on Thursday, and silently saying a little prayer of thanks to the FSM, I came home to a little stress followed by a nice evening down the local.

My plans for a quiet day following a little stress at work were curtailed by an eager Jim who wished to seize the day so spent the morning in pet shops, toy shops and playing with the new kitten at the local (who is more than a little super cute).

Following that I headed into town and met up with the much missed JP and Vy. We had dim sum in a place just of Leicester Square, which was rather nice, and then spent a couple of hours wandering around the National Portrait Galley have a little too much fun and ended up being followed by a curator and even get evil looks when I suggested I didn't like Germaine Greer. Hmph.

Afterwards we had refreshments in the Crypt under St. Martins In The Fields. Finally we had a drink in Soho with JPs friend Wai before calling it an evening. All very nice and good to see JP and Vy.

Today my plans of enjoying a quiet day were half completed. I had a very quiet day but I did not enjoy one minute of it. Alas it is not a subject for conversation here, but nevertheless I daren't hope for much better before I return to work where the whole stressy thing starts all over again.

Darn it, depressed Jae is back. A very unwelcome guest indeed.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Genetics Lunch And Learn

Decided to treat myself today and took an hour lunch at work (I know, I really know how to party!). But it was all for a good cause, a very interesting presentation on genetics by Professor Gudrun Moore.

Despite the fact she claimed not to do presentations to us "lay" people often, she was both engaging and educational and whilst most of the information was already sort of known to me, she helped put it in to a context and it now makes a lot more sense!

Unfortunately an hour was simply not long enough, which was a shame. Excellent stuff though. My deepest regret will always be my complete lack of scientific ability (and thus total failure to pursue my zoological dreams), and little talks like this always make me feel wistful for biology lessons.

Only downer was one lady who was very much anti-abortion but didn't even know the constraints on when an abortion can and can't be carried out. If you're going to have that strong an opinion wouldn't be worth knowing your facts first??? Grr...

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Bangkok Makes Jae Sad


This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Days Break Me Thinks

After all that Eurovision craziness I thought I'd give you guys a break. With Philip Olivier. Play nice now...

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Eurovision: The Retrospective

I hope you, Dear Constant Reader, enjoyed the show last night! Before we put Eurovision to bed for another year, and return to business as usual, it's time for us to look back and see exactly what we thought of the whole affair. Let's begin.

Graham Norton As Commentator

Last year I was pretty happy when Terry Wogan implied he was leaving. His commentary had gone from charming sending up of the contest to deeply cynical and unwarranted attacks upon it.

When Graham Norton was announced as his replacement, I was not totally happy. I imagined his commentary would be little different to the cynical Wogan's. I was wrong. His commentary was decent stuff, funny but not too jaded. Certainly a welcome return to treating the contest as something to smile about rather than cry about.

Well done Mr Norton.

Jade Ewan And Our Entry

So I very reluctantly gave my support to Jade to start off with. I've always said Jade could sing, but the song itself gave me moments for concern. Well, I was wrong. It did us proud yesterday. Jade took us into the top 5 for the first time in 7 years. She has proven that we can score big, as long as we choose the right singer.

Sadly many fans on Twitter last night and even the BBC news report afterwards were rather morose and downbeat about this turn of events. This is absolutely unacceptable. We cannot expect to always win! There's over 40 other Eurovision countries! All we should hope is that we do well and come in to the top tier. Which we did. Aiming to win is not a bad thing but being a poor loser is a very bad thing indeed. Especially when Jade did so well, it's quite unfair to her to dismiss what is in fact a victory as "a creditable performance".

The Winner Is... Norway

Norway are famous for their nil points, but last night their entry took the top spot in a massive landslide. The highest points total ever shows that my opinion was completely not in line with Europe as a whole!

What I thought was a bit of an annoying song, sung by someone I can think of better things to do with than watch on telly, turned out to be the winner of the competition. And who am I to argue with the whole of Europe? :D

The Eastern Question

Feeling somewhat like a lone voice in the wilderness I have been decrying the nonsensical attack upon our Eastern neighbours voting patterns for some time. Thankfully this contest proved (even before the new voting system) that any such concerns were unwarranted (see voting analysis ad nauseum for further evidence!).

The semi final knocked out only a few Western countries whilst those east of the Iron Curtain suffered a decimation. Even last night, with the new voting system, the top two entries were Western and 3 of the top five were. That's despite the fact Western countries are totally outnumbered by former Communist block states. So in your face Terry Wogan and the entire British media establishment.

I'm not saying neighbouring countries don't vote for each other. Ireland and the UK are notorious for it. But that's because of cultural reasons, not political ones, and the only way around it is to do what we did this year: send our entry around Europe, get them on television, and ensure they know we are around. It has paid off handsomely. (If only the BBC had read this blog they'd know I'd been suggesting that for donkey's years! Sending Andy Abraham around UK television studios last year to promote his song was, to be blunt, serving only his future career not the interests of our Eurovision entry)

The Slavic Pride Controversy

I'd be interested to know if any other nations commentators made a mention of the heavy handed tactics of the Moscow police in breaking up a legitimate, if technically illegal, gay pride demonstration. For our part, Graham used a particularly topical comical interval act (just for those of us without adverts!) of singing policeman to mention the one dark mark against the Russian hosting of the contest. It was very little, and I would have preferred more, but at least he got it out there.

The British Response

Does anyone actually like Eurovision in this country anymore? Listening to the semi final commentary from Paddy, the emails he received and our response to Jade's awesome achievement suggest not. All have been lacking any decency, respect or even amusement. Dark and cynical is the best way to describe it. Paddy obviously HATES the competition and the people whose communications were read out seemed to hate it too (why they bothered to watch or write in I don't know!!). Does anyone in this country ever smile? Perhaps we deserve to be broken up, cut off from Europe and made an international pariah. We certainly seem to lack any sense of joy, hope or any positive emotions as a people.

Well I resolutely shall not succumb to this idiocy nor negativity. Jade did it! She might not have won but she brought Eurovision glory back into sight. And the quality of the other entries was at an all time high. 2009 was, possibly, the best Eurovision contest of the decade!

See you here, this time next year. But if you can't wait that long... Asiavision starts selecting in July followed by the first ever Asia-Pacific Song Contest in November! COME ON THAILAND!!!!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The 54th Eurovision Song Contest Final In Moscow - Live Blog

Official Sites: Eurovision, BBC Eurovision. ESCToday

Other Live Blogs: The Guardian, Bill Cameron

Welcome to Eurovision 2009! Not without it's controversies such as the on again/off again Georgian entry and today's abuse of homosexual activists in Moscow. Whilst I suspect acknowledgment of the Russian invasion of Georgia last year is a little too much to ask for, a mention of today's events would be very welcome indeed.

There's a rather Western European theme tonight as our entries have done comparatively well considering we are vastly out numbered by countries from the East of the old Iron Curtain in the competition as a whole. Of course you won't hear that on the news, as everyone is soooo obsessed with Eastern domination.

Not only is there a change in voting (details plus all artists videos here) but also a rather huge change for us Brits. Terry Wogan has, thankfully, passed his commentating jacket on to a new generation (after last years contest I think it was the best decision for all involved). Graham Norton will be leading the proceedings tonight, and it will be interesting to see how he performs, although those who hope for him to actually like Eurovision might be asking too much.

Anyway... Good luck to Jade!!! Here we go...

20:01 Graham sounds rather reserved, in a good way. Your usual show opening, all costumes and dancing.

20:04 Very impressive Cirque Du Soleil

20:06 Dima looks as cute as ever!! But lip synching? TUT!

20:08 Wow, that was the worst returning performance I've ever seen on Eurovision!

20:10 Thank God. It's not the semi final presenters. Fingers crossed Dimitry still about though!

20:11 Graham, stop talking over the presenters!!!!


"Love" - Sasha Son

I wasn't a big fan of thise last night. He looks very smart, and sings well. But the song is a bit too "Blue" esqe (the band that is!). But a nifty performance nevertheless.


"There Must Be Another Way" - Noa and Mira Awad

As I said the other day, it's the first Israeli entry I'm not dismissing outright for political reasons. (Yeah, I encourage political voting!). The message is good. The song is good. But the singing is really average. Almost good kareoke rather than of the high standard I'd expect.


"Et s'il fallait le faire" - Patricia Kaas

It's the first of the Big 4. Very good. Amazing singing, good song. And it was in French. Always good. Liked it alot.


"La voix" Malena Ernman

Viewing this afresh tonight, it is actually rather good isn't it? Liked it.


"Lijepa Tena" - Igor Cukrov feat. Andrea

Yeah, it's alright. But I don't really like it myself.


"Todas as ruas do amor" - Flor-de-Lis

Very good. Very summery and upbeat.


"Is It True?" - Yohanna

Good song, good singer, should do well. IS IT TRUE??? But Iceland really don't want to win... how would they afford it?!


"This is our night" - Sakis Rouvas

There were nipples. There was dancing. There was Sakis, Mr Eurovision himself. Gotta be in the top ten for me.


"Jan Jan" - Inga and Anush

I don't know. I thought I was in a very forgiving mood for the semi finals, but on second viewing I am even more ready to like these songs. Brilliant song, singing not so much but the outfits and the dancing almost made up for that deficiency.


"Mamo" - Anastasiya Prikhodko

After what happened in Moscow today, I think we should all do raspberries through this song. And it's not brilliant either.


"Always" - AySel and Arash

Again more forgiving. Liked this a lot tonight, very Eurovision. Maybe it's because most of my favourite are gone and I'm very these with less prejudice than before.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

"Bistra Voda" - Regina

Good singing, but the song is soooo boring.

We are not treated to Dimitry during the break, instead a "light hearted" look at singing policeman which allowed Graham to mention the pride incident! In your face Russia!


"Hora din Moldova" - Nelly Ciobanu

Fun song, with Steve's favourite dancers, but difficult to sing along to. Not that I tried... ;)


"What If We" - Chiara

Oh here she is again... 3rd time lucky! I actually really love this song, and not just because Malta have always been generous with their votes to the UK. She can certainly sing, and this song shows that off.

Love you Malta!


"Rändajad" - Urban Symphony

Another great song, another good performance. Not going to get my vote but I'll be listening to it again.


"Believe Again" - Niels Brinck

Too much of Ronan Keating in this song. The sound, the lyrics, all too Ronan for me.


"Miss Kiss Kiss Bang" - Alex Swings Oscar Sings!

Love the song. Really very good. Shame about the glittery trousers...


"Düm Tek Tek" - Hadise

My favourite all along. Sadly the singing here let it down... big time... :(


"Carry Me In Your Dreams" - Kejsi Tola

I do like this song. Very good... Graham and Twitterers seem really down on this... I don't know why.


"Fairytale" - Alexander Rybak

Hmm... it's a bit annoying this song. But then I just imagine Alexander and myself in an orchard frolicing naked and all is forgiven. Sorry for the images there Dear Constant Reader.

I wish someone had told him this was not a speaking contest.


"Be My Valentine! (Anti-Crisis Girl)" - Svetlana Loboda

It's crazy. It's the Ukraine! What does one expect? Men in silver Roman centurion outfits, crazy set, brilliant chorus. I like it in a "I wouldn't vote for it in a million years" sort of way.


"The Balkan Girls" - Elena

Hmm.. good song but the dodgy singing arrangements left me cold.

United Kingdom

"It's My Time" - Jade Ewan

It's my country. Not my choice of song, but Jade is, as always, amazing. Did the Lord need to be there? He looked a mess and made us look tacky! Might as well have had me up on the stage.


"Lose Control" - Waldo's People

Jesus, did I have some happy juice today? At the semi final I decried this as "eurorap" but loved it this evening!


"La noche es para mí" - Soraya Arnelas

Hmm... not as good as in the video. The singing let it down BUT vast improvement on last few Spanish entries.


I'll be voting for Malta who have snuck past Turkey to steal my affections. Esctoday have their top ten as:

1. Norway
2. Turkey
3. Greece
4. Azerbaijan
5. Iceland
6. Bosnia & Herzegovina
7. United Kingdom
8. Ukraine
9. France
10. Estonia

It'll be interesting to see how that pans out.

This year, as a seasoned Eurovision viewer, I have been totally shocked by the high quality of songs this year. Going to be difficult to call, especially with the new voting.

That was the most crazy interval act ever!! Swimming pools in the sky.

Here we go...

Spain gives us 10 points!!!!! We love you Spain!!!
No points for us from Belgium (BOOO)
Belarus gives us 3 points! WOOOO...
Malta gives us 10 points!!! WOOOOOO... best showing for ages!
Germany gives us 8 points! YAYYYY!
The Czech Republic gives us 6 points!!! Love to Prague!
Sweden. No more love for you!
Iceland... grr.. the Scandanavians.
France gives us 4 points.. :D
Israel gives us 4 points. Send them some weapons!!!
Russia gives us 6 points but they are not forgiven!!!
Latvia gives us 2. Who would have thought this could be though of as an insult???? We would have loved 2 points this time last year.
Montenegro shock everyone. Or not. No points.
Andorra gives us 4 points! YAY!
Finland. Nada.
Switzerland. Nada. Off the Christmas list.
Bulgaria. 7 points. We love Sofia.
Lithuania give us 3 points. :D
We give 12 points to Turkey woooo...
Macedonia give us 6 points. Wooo..

I'm stopping this, as really Jade has already done us proud!!!!!! :D See you at the end of voting.

Norway won by a landslide, but that was a sure thing. We came 5th!!!! We are back Europe!! WOOOOO....

see you tomorrow for my thoughts on the winner, Graham and Jade!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlistzz

Moscow Police Break Up Gay Pride March

The Slavic Pride march has been broken up by the Moscow police and Peter Tatchell has been arrested.

Given the fact this is a blatant attack upon human freedom, it seems almost perverse to question how this might affect the Eurovision Song Contest. But it shall certainly make for an interesting wild card in tonights final. Will any artist have the balls to make a stand, or will Eurovision pass off without incident?

Only time will tell, let us just hope that those arrested are being treated decently and are freed soon. Write in to your EBU television station and ask for their reaction!!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Friday, May 15, 2009

Eurovision: One More Sleep

For all the videos and songs of the contest check out this page.

So I'm keeping this post positive, moaning can wait until after the contest is finished. Instead... here's a look forward to who I really like:


If there is a song other than the UK's that I want to win, then it's Sakis Rouva's "This Is Our Night". Fun, well sung, brilliant lively performance and a stunningly gorgeous Sakis. I mean, how can you get any better? Well you could have lots of half naked Roman gladiators like...


My pick of the weird ones is "Be My Valentine! (Anti-Crisis Girl)" - Svetlana Loboda. Hunky backing dancers and a good tune. Gotta love it.


I haven't liked Turkey as much as since since Sertab graced our screens and won the contest. "Düm Tek Tek" - Hadise is really catchy.

Out of the non Semi Final countries my pick is:


Love the swing "Miss Kiss Kiss Bang" - Alex Swings Oscar Sings

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from
his wishlist

Eurovision Sticky Post

My Eurovision 2009 preview can be found here... who's in it, who's hot and my take on each song.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Eurovision Semi Final 2 Live Blog

Yes Dear Constant Reader, it's time for Part Deux of the Eurovision Semi Finals. Let's hope Paddy stops being such a blatantly miserable bastard doing his commentary.

Act names, videos and song titles can be found here

20:00 Here we go!!

20:01 Where are the magic horses today? Hmmm.. but nice Waterloo reference

20:06 Shame the presenters are back again.


Pleasant song, very Mediterranean feeling. Might do well tonight

And Bill has joined the live blogging.


I have to say I loved this song when I heard it the other night, and they actually did a better performance tonight than at their selection. Loved it, come on Ireland!


Fun, shocked by rather high quality, relatively speaking, entries this year.

And good that they didn't sing in English.


Erm... not a very good song but the performance was amusing! Loved the hair!!!


Ok song, ok singing. Not very interesting though. Good for a nice drive perhaps.


He was singing??? Really?? I didn't notice.


Yes, this one is very good. Very nice song, good voice, and it's Cyprus!


A duet which seems pretty good, but really not my sort of thing. Kudos again for not singing in English.


Written by Ronan Keating? NIL POINT just for that.

It's an okay song, but this guy even sung with Ronan's Irish accent at points!! I never liked Keating's stuff and this is no exception.

Oh and Paddy Stevey and Jamie are not getting married because gay marriage isn't allowed in this country. Grrr...


The song that forgot it was a song for a whole minute and thought this was a music contest instead. Good, for what it was


Someone is a walking gay stereotype. No not me. Muscle shirt (in flowery pattern) with the words Disco in the song. GAY! ;)


Very Eurovision. Like it. Probably not a winner though.


Awesome. Winning performance. Gorgeous. Good song. Good dancing. Bravo!!


Good- ish.


Yes, good. No not my thing. But again surprising high quality of songs this year!


Did not think much of this in the previews, but liked her performance a lot more tonight. Very good I thought.

Interruption by Sarah... better not be missing the green room. The stage behind is green. I am worried...


Surely the BBC realise that those watching Eurovision semi finals are fans and want to see the whole show, not a show interrupted by BBC in bits.

oooo... good song... LOVE THE SEXY DANCERS!!


Yeap... liked this song too. I am getting forgiving in my old age!

The Netherlands

Der Toppers remind me of a restaurant I went to once called La Trois Garcons, which was opened by 3 gay guys in a very liberal relationship.

Where they singing? oops. Should pay more attention. (It's ok as a song but I think it will really struggle tonight)


Greece and Ireland! Start voting now Steve and Bill!!

Graham Norton is on here at the moment, he's our new commentator. And he is being really rude about all the acts. Joy. Can we please get someone who likes Eurovision to do this one year? Just one year. It's all I ask!

Where did they get this Russian presenters from????

So whilst the BBC presenters mock the Eurovision contest and interrupt the back stage parts, they also mean Dimitry has been completely absent from British screens tonight. Thanks to Steve we can still stare at him longingly and bemoan the useless BBC

And the winners are:

Azerbaijan!! RANDOM!!
Croatia. Good stuff.
Lithuania. Oh Dear....

Upset about Ireland but not as much as this idiotic "Eastern Dominance stuff". Most of the Western Countries got through tonight. MOST. This is all spin on behalf of the Eurovision haters now. Grrrrrrr...

Good songs got through dross like Serbia didn't. Some good songs didn't make it either but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Apprentice Does Kent

Yes! Our most beloved reality tv show has gone to my beloved home county of Kent. Not just any part of Kent but Planet Thanet itself! Margate was the destination of choice in this rebranding exercise.

While one team took the family approach (Ben thought to rebrand Margate with the slogan "the epitomy of English beauty", this was despite actually having visited it!), the other decided to rebrand one of the most deprived areas of the country as a "gay destination". Erm... okay... that's a bit random. I think team member Howard might think aiming for the pink pound is always the solution to any business problem.

Anyway, who most successfully rebranded Margate? The town officials who organised this, when did one hear about anything in Thanet quite this much? They need a raise!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Eurovision and Moscow Pride

Steve reminded me the other day of an issue I'd first worried about months ago and promptly forgot. Eurovision is being held in Moscow on the same day as the, ever controversial, Moscow Pride.

Peter Tatchell at Moscow Pride 2007

Russian Nationalists and Russian's Orthodox brand of woowoo are certainly not planning on letting Pride pass peacefully. The Mayor of Moscow has made clear his position before. He thinks it's a "satanic" parade, and one that is thus banned in Moscow.

So we face the prospect of people being injured and attacked just for their sexuality, mere moments before the Eurovision final which will be the centre of focus of people across the world.

Given the corruption and backwardness of the Russian security forces these days, and the fact this parade is going on against the Mayor's wishes, attendees can expect no protection from the violence that has characterised this parade in the past.

But that will not stop it. When has violence against homosexuals ever stopped the onwards movement of our equal rights? You may throw stones. You may kill us. But it only makes us more determined to fight for our right to exist as we wish. Peter Tatchell obviously puts the case more eloquently and forcefully here. Good luck to him and all who attend.

So will this affect Eurovision? Probably not. Eurovision organisers are notoriously blind to political matters (which perhaps is a good stance for a music contest!!).

A question was asked about the Dutch parliament discussing eventual withdrawal from the contest if the Russian officials would use violence to stop the planned gay pride parade in Moscow on Saturday. This was addressed by Mr. Stockselius by stating that the Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political TV entertainment show and while politicians could discuss issues like withdrawal it was still always down to the broadcasters to decide. He said the Eurovision Song Contest rules stated that if a country would not rehearse or perform according to a planned schedule it could be sanctioned by a fine and up to a three years’ ban. He also said that every year some countries threaten to withdraw but none have so far. Esctoday

The Toppers, the Netherlands entry, have vowed that, should they make the final, they will boycott it if violence is used against gay protesters.

"If people of my kind are being discriminated against in such a way, I have nothing to expect from this Russia, and I will be on the first plane home."

Is Russia really willing to let something like that occur? Imagine every Eurovision commentator noting the absence, and reason for such, live on air during the performances. Is Russia prepared to help ruin it's hosting of Eurovision? Hmm... Moscow, the eyes of Europe are watching...

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Eurovision Semi Final 1 Live Blog

So it's been a year since we last did this Dear Constant Reader. Here we go again...

I won't bother with videos or song/artist names as they can all be found on my Eurovision page

20:00 I think this is going to be the strongest of the semi finals, with my three favourites all playing: Montenegro, the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

20:02 Magic horses???

20:05 Still no music... but at least we have presenters... can't be long before green room shenanigans start...

20:07 Let's start the show... FINALLY...


20:09 Sexy dancer, proper Eurovision song... :D

20:10 Hmm... not exactly singing so well though. Shame, good song.

Czech Republic

20:11 Gypsies!!! In Superhero costumes...

20:13 Maybe not going to win. Was I on drugs last night? Hmm..


20:15 Oops... he messed up.

20:16 Poor guy, can't sing tonight.


20:21 A proper ballad!!!

20:23 Liked this one. :D


20:24 well she can sing!


20:26 Erm... as Jim says "there's a fucking house somewhere missing it's curtains"

20:27 Hmm... the song is alright, but the costumes... wow, how Near Eastern!

Oh it must be the ad breaks as we are having an interview with Jade now...


20:33 I didn't know Geri Halliwell was from Andorra

Sweet song.


20:37 Cool ballad. Shame he can't sing.

Bill is also live blogging.


20:39 My other favourite, love the clothes, love the song, love the act.

20:42 YAY!!


20:43 Well usually I give nil points to Israel with my Mum's famous voting comment "Stop killing Palestinians" but this song has a good message so I'll be nice.

20:47 Oh God, it's the green room, although the annoying presenter in the green room is actually quite cute...


20:50 Stilts, capes, mullets. Bulgaria have truly captured the spirit of the contest.

Rubbish song though


20:53 It's a nice song. But it's a little boring. And can Iceland really afford Eurovision right now?


20:56 these guys are actually time travelers from the eighties...

20:57 Ooo... the drummer is hot!

20:58 Good stuff, found myself liking it for some reason


21:00 One hour in, and we get a song which would probably do ok on the UKs chart. Not bad, if not my sort of thing. Good for background music before a night out.


21:03 Oh noes. Eurorap.


Hmm.. not bad. Very easy to listen to.


21:12 well I always award 12 points to Malta!! Because they are always nice to us.

Hmm... again.. I quite like this. Surprised.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

21:16 Last song of the night :( Good but NO PASSION...

The songs tonight have, as Bill said in comments, not been awful. But a lot seemed to lack fun/passion/soul. :(

Now... the voting starts.... this will be interesting... new voting system!

Turkey, Belarus, Andorra, Czech Republic to go through please.

21:35 the voting is over... on with the results???

21:39 Steve tells me Tatu are on... and we get a boring segment about how Jade managed to bore the rest of Europe to death with our song. :(

21:42 Mmm... Sakis and Norways entry on the same sofa... wish Sarah would get out from between them.... *allows mind to wander*

21:47 Turn off your telly's! Don't watch our entry... just vote for it. PLEASE. But don't watch it's boring.

21:48 I'd like to give Dimitry an electric shock.

The winners are:

Turkey! YAY!
Israel. Nice.
Portugal. Random!

Jim's hoping Andorra

Finland. Eurorap. :S
Bosnia and Herzegovina???
Romania.. what!
Armenia... nooooo...


What about Macedonia or Montenegro?

Such a shame. Such a shame.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Eurovision Week!!!

Boris the Bearded Dragon is no more! He is now Gibbs the Bearded Dragon, a renaming decision taken whilst Jim and I took a walk in Greenwich Park yesterday morning. Gibbs is, of course, named after the main character in NCIS, a show dear to Jim’s heart. He is amazingly placid, taking food from Jim’s hand and really not getting to stressed out even when things are being moved around in his vivarium. Based on the short experience so far it has to be said Bearded Dragons make great pets!

In a worrying move, I rediscovered Second Life yesterday. I had deleted most Second Life stuff from blog reader but Massively remained in there for some reason and it reminded me yesterday of my former obsession with SL. I spent the whole day yesterday ignoring Jim and Sling. I will try to control this as much as possible… thankfully this week there is a distraction….

It’s Eurovision week!!! Tomorrow is the first semi-final and so, for my sins, I’ve spent the evening listening to all the Eurovision songs so you don't have to! Here's my picks:

Bulgaria is very eighties, both in the song and the video, I quite liked it.

The Czech Republic's song is awesome!!

Ireland!!! I love you, finally it's a song that is not even REALLY BORING or stupid. Yay!!

Montenegro's song is the sort of song I'd listen to over and over on my iPod.

Poland's entry is surprisingly good.

is rather cool this year.

Turkey is one to watch. Crazy for you!

See you tomorrow, for the first Semi Final. All songs can be found on my Eurovision page

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Boris The Bearded Dragon: The First Pictures

Jim has taken the first few pictures of the newest addition to our family. His name is Boris and he's a fearsome dragon. Awww....

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Boris The Bearded Dragon

So ever since we saw the Bearded Dragons at Pets At Home last week, Jim has been pretty much obsessed. Last night we had our mini adventure to Essex to get a vivarium. So today it was hardly surprising that this morning we found ourselves in Charlton Reptiles purchasing all the associated paraphernalia and one bearded dragon.

We've named him Boris and after some fiddling around he is set up in a rather wonderful vivarium where I oft neglected aquarium sat. And he is sooooo cute. Pictures I'm sure will follow.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Mmm... Steak

I had a flexi day yesterday (a bonus I've earned for doing half hour lunches. I should earn about 2 of these a month on top of my normal holiday entitlement) so Jim and I went down to Lewisham and had a Maggie's breakfast. Mmm... always a fulfilling experience. We then went in search of American Comics, a nearby comic shop, but alas found it had closed down. :( We headed back up to Greenwich and Pets At Home to continue our bearded dragon research, followed by a quick drink in the pub.

After spending an afternoon at home we then proceeded on a late night eBay adventure (I wonder how many of these happen these days) to Chelmsford to pick up a vivarium, and to go in search of steak (Jim's current obsession). We got the vivarium but the steak proved elusive.

All in all a bit of a random day. So I'm "randomly" inserting this "random" picture of some "random" guy.

Oh look it's Spartan!! How random...

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Friday, May 08, 2009

Star Trek

I've been a Star Trek fan since I was very young. I got hooked on TNG from an early age and that turned out to be a gateway drug. It was a slippery slope moving me onto such things as the Star Trek Fact Files, buying too many VHS's and lovingly fondling my first edition copy of the Star Trek Encyclopedia. I've been a Trekker for a long, long time. I even loved (I repeat: loved) Star Trek Voyager. Then Enterprise happened. A prequel. *shudder* Star Trek was about progression, hope for the future and constant striving for improvement and then we were expected to swallow this retrograde, gungho trek through the past which only seemed to contravene all our lovingly held Star Trek lore EVERY EPISODE. No. I didn't like it. I stopped buying Star Trek magazine and moved on.

So the proposition of a movie, set before the Original Series, directed by a man who considered anything after TOS to be rubbish (JJ Abrams even seems to think that after TOS only "fans" watched the rest of the series as it had become "inaccessible". Perhaps it's his age but he must of missed just how popular TNG was!) and with the crew of TOS completely recast, did not inspire me too much. But I didn't whine or moan about it. I sat back and waited. And I'm glad I did otherwise I'd have to eat my hat about now!

Firstly. as a space opera, special effects are pretty important to Star Trek. And never before have we seen them even half as good as the effects shown in this new movie. They were outstanding. The opening scene where the USS Kelvin stands off against Nero's giant ship coming out of a black hole is awesome. Mmmm...

Secondly, the actors mostly seemed to capture the spirit of the characters whilst not becoming parodies. I think Karl Urban may have been channeling DeForest Kelley playing Bones McCoy. Chris Pine was the handsome younger Kirk who captured the arrogance and humour without making fun of Shatner. Zachary Quinto was a great Spock

Thirdly, the story wasn't too heavy but just exciting enough to keep you on your toes.

And fourthly, and most importantly for blowhards like me, it got round the whole messy prequel thing and the problems with keeping with the known stories from the other series by having Nero's trip back in time create a parallel universe. It keeps me happy and means there's now no limit on where Star Trek can go now. It's all new. No TOS, TNG, DS9 or VOY. We are free of the binds and can dream again. This is not a prequel. This is a reboot.

And there was eye candy which I've never experienced in Star Trek before. Chris Pine is hot.

And the guy who played Kirk's father (worryingly he is my age. Kirk's dad is my age. AH!!!!!!!!!!!), Chris Hemsworth, is a total stud.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Illiberal But Just?

As you know I'm very uncomfortable with the Government banning people from this country simply because of their views.

But I'll make an exception for Michael Savage. Why? Because he's too fucking stupid to even know what country he is banned from.

He told his radio audience that he was intending to sue British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who he described as the "lunatic ... Home Secretary of England".


He wrote: "What does that say about the government of England? It says more about them than it says about me."

Wrong again! Until he learns his geography and rudimentary international politics I think America should ban him from travelling as he might easily get lost.

Remember... the Government of this country is the British Government. President Obama is not the "President of Virginia" and Jacqui Smith is thus not the "Home Secretary of England".

Get a brain.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Let's not pretend mice aren't pests. They are, and pests need to be removed and, sadly, that means killed. I'm fine with that. But Jesus... they aren't something to be scared of!

Jim is scared of mice but I put this down to a phobia and have never thought much of it. But work today proved how silly some people are.

The first sign was a scream from the other side of the room followed by a fleeing mass of people on wheely chairs. A mouse had been spotted. After 10 minutes or so of activity by the facilities department all was quiet until, from the other side of the room there was another scream and the tedious scenario repeated itself. Again. And again.

I saw the mouse. It was no more than an inch long body wise and barely had a noticeable tail. I've seen bigger beetles or even house spiders. But grown men were actually standing on chairs to avoid it.

Mice are not supernatural creatures. They will not come and attack a healthy full grown human. They are not likely to do much damage to you in the short space of time they appear out in the open. So why the screaming?

Personally I think the mouse was uber cute and I now feel bad that the pest controllers will probably have killed him by the morning. RIP Ickle Mouse. You shall be missed.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Ballad of Chasey Lain

Dennis, the local's landlord, spent the morning rearranging the media facilities in the local so that the feed from the eVA device could be shown across all the screens in the pub. Wonderful.

Sadly the music videos were not.... checked in advance and Bloodhound Gang's (p.s. I have a secret: I LOVE the Bloodhound Gang) uncensored video for The Ballad of Chasey Lain was screened throughout the pub (censored/edited version here). First was the lesbian kiss, which had Dennis thinking that this video needed to be deleted. But amusement followed as an actual lesbian sex scene (one word: YUCK) came up on the screen(s).

Children and elderly people were harmed in the making of this blog post.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Bearded Dragons

We are going to get a bearded dragon! Wooo!!! In preparation, and to pass a couple of hours, we wandered down to a pet shop in Lewisham. It was great!! Not only did they have interesting creatures for sale (crayfish, lion fish, poison dart frogs and Burmese pythons) but they also had.... KITTENS!! Cue sickening baby talk and gooey noises from Jae. I love kittens....

Although I love Maine Coon kittens even more.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, May 03, 2009

What A Beautiful Morning

Had a rather lovely day yesterday. Spent most of it in the pub, which is always a god start, but also went shopping (although was a rather strange incident where a man accused Jim and I of letching over his girlfriend, LOL). We popped into Pets At Home and discovered their new reptile section, and Jim fell in love with bearded dragons. I give it a month until we have one scurrying around our home *pretends disinterest while secretly suppressing his joy*. Really pleasant sort of day.

Today we started early, went and got some breakfast, sat and ate it in Greenwich park feeding the starlings and pigeons and being looking at longingly by passing dogs. Then went round the Queens House and admired the painting collections and the scary Tulip Stairs.

The Ghosts Of The Tulip Stairs

On the way back we stopped off at the market where some idiotic old man grabbed my arm and told me to mind my head. HA! A tall joke I thought (and basically said). I think I am no more than two more tall jokes away from breaking somebody's neck. I was so pissed off that not only did he think making a tall joke to a complete stranger was appropriate behaviour but that he thought TOUCHING me was acceptable. Well it's not and the next person who tries it will die. Unless they are beautiful. Then it becomes acceptable. Grab me all you like I'll shout as I laugh at their hilarious tall jokes. I'm such a hypocrite.

Want to help me get featured in a book? Just click on this link and watch the video. It's about a trailer for a book, safe for work yadda yadda. Pass it round! ;)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Primeval: Why Hath Thou Forsaken Us?

I have given Primeval a lot of leeway. I've done that because I find the concept so appealing. Prehistoric animals, time travel, action, adventure and a little bit of geekiness all thrown in together to create a show with near endless possibilities. It's Doctor Who Mark 2. Sadly, and with much regret, this show has become what Sliders (another show I truly, passionately adored and dreamed of being so much more than what it became) became.

Firstly, the cast changes. Getting rid of Stephen Hart at the end of series two was alright. I'd never really taken to him as he just seemed to be there to provide the macho man that such shows seem to assume is required. But I hope Nick Cutter leaving was because Douglas Henshall wanted to move on and not because the producers thought he wasn't what was needed in the lead role. Because him leaving was a very bad thing for the show. The Cutter character was great as a leader, heroic when needed but intelligent and reflective too. Plus his oft broken heart gave the character a quality to empathise with. Plus getting rid of hard but soft Jennifer Lewis was just as silly a mistake.

Now we have this Danny Quinn bloke. What are we meant to think of him? He was introduced as a police officer who had

1) failed to notice a rather violent and aggressive future animal living in an abandoned house which was the centre of his obsessive investigation into the death of his brother FOR TEN YEARS. Hardly what we'd call a super sleuth. You'd have thought he might have noticed this creature before.
2) he had relentlessly pursued an innocent boy/man who he thought had killed his brother and when he discovered he hadn't barely even apologised to him!

And we are meant to believe he is some sort of super cop and accept him as the leader of the ARC team and a hero? He seems more like a stupid tosser to me, but maybe that's because I've been following the character development unlike the writers.

Season 1 was written to an acceptable standard. You could watch it, enjoy it and forgive the slight slips into cliche and sometimes plagirism. Season 2 was much improved, sharper writing and even a season long build up of a story that was brought to a close with the end of the season.

Season 3 has been... rubbish. You have an almost limitless set of scenarios and they seem trapped around the same ones. Ooo... let's bring in mythology. Ooo... let's do a scary horror in a house. Ooo... let's have one where Helen is really evil. Ooo... let's have a dinosaur one again! Each of those is the ENTIRE plot of each of the first four episodes. In order.

Last nights was the last straw. It was so bad it didn't even actually have a plot and seemed just an excuse for some Jurassic Park-esque shots of Terror Birds (oh God I'm lying in the back of a trailer and the T-Rex Terror Bird is CATCHING UP). It was truly atrocious, and wasn't helped by the really awful editing. The car chase scene was so badly edited that at times the car was being put into reverse and then the shot would show it going forward. AH! Plus one scene includes a car hitting a mine. It was obviously edited badly because the effects were so badly done. Why did they do them in the first place? Was it necessary to the story to have the car explode? No. But they did it, they did it badly and then edited it so it looked even worse.

It's frustrating to watch and so I'm left with only one choice. I'm never watching this show again. It is a disgrace for such a wonderful concept to have been destroyed by lazy writing, cheap effects and bad acting (Connor, Abby and Lester are the only ones left who can act and really I'm being kind to Andrew-Lee and Hannah there...)

Such a bloody shame.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist