Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Gig Review: Leeds Lights 6th Nov 2008

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

I’ve noticed that a lot of comics blogs include gig reviews. What, comics not cool enough for ya? So in the best spirit of copying everyone else, here I go.

Every year my wife suggests we go and see the Christmas lights in Leeds being turned on, and every year it’s exactly the same. Some schmucks from local radio introduce a pop group you’ve never heard of, someone that used to be in a pop group you have heard of, someone who was on The X Factor the previous year, Santa, the Lord Mayor (why are we expected to cheer that guy?), and then someone else from The X Factor. However, in these times of crunch being credited, you can’t really complain because it’s free.

Over the last few years I’ve seen more rubbish pop groups than I can remember. These include, but are not limited to Rachel Stevens, McFly, four fifths of Girls Aloud, Darius Danesh and Cannibal Corpse. That last one might not actually be true. Last year one time X Factor winner Shayne Ward was being helicoptored in from Manchester (take that, environment!) but was running late, so his “set” ended up being shorter than Chico’s. Oh the indignity! Dick and Dom were a laugh though, with their constant chanting of “Shayne Loves Dick!”.

Usually “Santa” appears and does a bit of business with Rudolf, or elves or some such. Santa appears to be a bit of an egomaniac, though. His party piece is his rendition of Santa Claus Is Coming To… LEEDS! I see what you’ve done there to make it a bit more unique, but talking about yourself in the third person? That’s not cool man. I dunno, but seeing some guy (spoiler alert: he’s not the real Santa) leering into the camera saying “I know when you are sleeping!” is a little unsettling. At least this year he didn’t do I Believe which is always a rather excrutiating and this is me moment.

The eyes of a killer

Same Difference: Cute, perky and unthreatening. And her slightly creepy brother.

 

Santa was joined this year by X Factor (I’m getting sick of typing that) runners up Same Difference. Saying anything bad about these two would be like kicking a puppy, possibly while shooting fish in a barrel, so I shall leave it, except to note that they did a cover of Starship’s “classic” Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.

Starship were a bit weird, weren’t they? Originally Jefferson Airplane, one of the most radical psychedelic acts of the 60s, they morphed into Jefferson Starship (sci-fi credentials cemented by an appearance in the infamous crapfest The Star Wars Holiday Special), and then simply Starship. I still can’t get my head around the fact that the band that sang “I’d rather have my country die for me” ended up soundtracking Mannequin. Let’s be honest, Mannequin is terrible. I can just about accept the idea of a shop dummy coming to life as Samantha from Sex and the City (it was the eighties, after all), but don’t expect me to care about the cutthroat world of professional window dressers.

The evening was rounded off by Simon Webbe out of Blue (think about that: he’s a quarter as good as Blue!), Alesha out of Mis-Teeq, and Leon Jackson, who resembles a cleaned up, but terrified Pete Doherty. Leon may have won The X Factor, but it has to be said, he really isn’t cut out for a career as a performer.

Oh well, roll on next year. Steve Brookstein, Matt from Busted and someone from Atomic Kitten. Possibly.

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He Sees You When You’re Sleeping…

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Merry Christmas. Here’s something I should do more often, a unique festive picture for every one of my devoted readers. All twelve of you.

Long time Hope for the Future readers will recognise that this is a reference to the current storyline. Oh yeah, that might be considered a spoiler…

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Hey, Santa, pass us that bottle, will ya?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

You’ll be glad to know that I won’t be jumping on the Best of the Year list bandwagon that most blogs will be foisting on you at the moment. This is partly because I like to subvert expectations, not run with the crowd and challenge the accepted norm, but mainly because I only saw about three films this year. But if you really need to know, Cloverfield mu’fuh!

At this time of year (as Craig from Big Brother 1 would say) I normally post links to my favourite Christmas songs. It’s good to have traditions in these secular times, wouldn’t you say? However, my absolute favourite isn’t really a Christmas song in the truest sense, seeing as how it celebrates the Winter Solstice, but I guess people don’t really care about such quibbles. It certainly sounds pretty damn Christmassy.

Even though the original is utterly perfect in its evocation of medieval England by way of the mid 1970s, a rerecording of this song appears on The Jethro Tull Christmas Album, in which the long in the tooth folky progsters offer some jazzy versions of Christmas carols, a few jaunty originals, and, like the aforementioned Solstice Bells, revisit some of their old songs that have a seasonal theme.

A Christmas Song first appeared on 1972’s Living in the Past album, and, while being a beautiful litle acoustic vignette features some of the clumsiest lyrics Ian Anderson ever wrote. Try this: “Once in royal David’s city/ stood a lonely cattle shed/ Where a mother held her baby/ You’d do well to remember the things he later said” not to menton the line “You’re missing the point I’m sure does not need making” which manages to be both grammatically mangled and completely nonsensical. It is clearly a song written by a very young man, struggling to articulate his frustrations at the contradictory nature of the festive period.

About twenty years later, Anderson wrote Another Christmas Song. Although shot through with a sense of melancholy, it is by contrast is an altogether more optimistic piece of music. It’s clearly written by an older man, accepting that even though the world isn’t necessarily the way it should be, we should surround ourselves with the people we love and wish that ohers can enjoy it however they can. “Hope everybody’s ringing their own bell this fine morning” indeed.

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