Monday, May 31, 2010

End of May update

Just as the Eurovision Song Contest was beginning on Saturday night, a friend we hadn't seen for months called and so I didn't watch it live. I watched it on Sunday, after coming back from Collectormania.
I watched it with my daughter on BBC iPlayer. It was a mix of techno pop, slower ballads, chart-friendly melodic metal and pure pop. This year's wierd entries were from Spain and Serbia. We had to suffer Spain's entry twice because of a stage invasion the first time they sang by a guy wearing jeans and a fez! I didn't see the need for them to perform again because they coped very well and it didn't affect their performance. In the end Germany won, after what I said about the Germans in my last post I now have to eat my own words. I thought it was a good song but certainly not a winner. The second place country was Turkey with a metal song, I scored it joint first so I was close to picking a winner. A few songs were equally as good as the winner but didn't really feature in the top five, Iceland's song for instance. But that's the Eurovision. Norway did a great job of hosting the competition and nothing went wrong. One nice touch, which really worked well and made me feel all warm inside was a flash mob dance routine across the whole of Europe. Such a simple idea but one that I think Eurovision should do in the future, you can watch it below.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Eurovision 2010

A quick search of this blog will reveal how I enjoy and lok forward to the Eurovision each year. I don't watch for lasting appeal of the songs - it is rare that I actually remember the songs even on the next day to be honest. I enjoy it because it is a song contest that stretches across Europe and it brings a small glimpse of different national costumes and cultures in the 3 minute country portraits before every song entry. I liked it as a child because the UK or Great Britain actually used to win it sometimes when I was young. Lulu won it in 1969 with a song titled Boom-Bang-A-Bang (believe it or not I don't think it was about sex), but I was too young to remember being less than a year old at the time. Abba won it with "Waterloo" in 1974, it was a win for Sweden but Abba would have been a class above the competition in any year. Brotherhood of Man had a song "Save All Your Kisses For Me" that I think was a Eurovision winner from 1976, it was a ridiculously popular song on the radio I remember as a child. I also remember the skirt ripping-off antics of Bucks Fizz from 1981 when they sang "Making Your Mind Up", another ridiculously popular song. The last time the UK won was when Katrina And The Waves sang "Love Shine A Light", a hideous song in my opinion but most of our entries have been even worse ever since. I couldn't believe it in 2006 when Finland won for the first time in the history of Eurovision with Lordi singing a metal song "Hard Rock Halleluja".
The songs are all song first and then there is an intermission before the voting begins. As a child the voting was the most interesting part. An illuminated scoreboard had lights and scores. Each country was telephoned and a local TV presenter read out their votes, scoring a series of votes across all the countries who they wanted to vote for. As more countries have joined the contest across Europe (with things like the break up of the Soviet Union too), the contest has got larger and the voting more predictable, or should I say political, as each country awards most points to its closest neighbours: statistical analysis of this bloc voting has been studied and the figures suggest it is a real problem: Eastern, Scandinavia, Balkan and Baltic bloc voting are the worst offenders. It means that countries who spread their votes fairly on just the quality of song and performance often end up very low down the scoreboard (that's if any country actually does this).
When things go wrong it is quite funny too. Like when communication breaks down - less likely now we have better telecomunications but I remember phone lines being a problem when I was a child. Or when the computer scoreboard crashed as I seem to remember it doing one year - again less likely. No, these days the amusement is more likely to come from a country with a song and performance that is idiosyncratic: chosen by the public in that country to represent them. We have had some real howlers - especially from Germany: those crazy freaks!
So anyway, here is a link for you to find out more and I hope the UK does well!

Looking Ahead But Not Very Far Ahead

Looking ahead to this evening and tomorrow actually (well, alright and maybe into next week...). Tonight, is the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest (more about that in the next post). Tomorrow, we're going to Collectormania 2010, this time we have the correct weekend! So I'm looking forward to seeing the real General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard and catching a glimpse of someone famous from the Star Wars films or Doctor Who or some other such famous cult TV series or film. On Monday, it is a public holiday so I don't have to work. I also have Thursday and Friday off, so I will hopefully be going to Brighton on Friday.
My other news is that my daughter auditioned for her school play and would you believe it ended up with the part of the main character of Robin Hood! So not only does she feel like she has to blast us all out with singing at the top of her voice, she now feels she has a legitimate right to do so: hope her head doesn't swell with the fame!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stop and pause

I was looking through the music section of our local library on Saturday, as I usually do. And I stopped and paused over a CD that looked interesting. I didn't in the end borrow it. I wasn't sure what it would be like. Rather like making a purchasing decision, when you like the look of something but you don't know how it will taste. I decided not to take the gamble. Instead I made a voice clip on my cellphone of the artist name and CD title. The voice recording is a feature I've never used for anything practical before - mainly I've used it to record my son using a weird voice. On this occasion, I decided to play back the voice recording and look the artist up on LastFM and she sounds like just the kind of music I'd like. Typical! Anyway, I'm going to reserve a copy from the library and yyou can watch her  below, the artists name is Tina Dico and I love this song Count to Ten.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Early Riser

I don't know whether it is being away from home or whatever. I have woken up at 4:45am two mornings this week. This is early for me. I don't know why I should wake up at those times, it's not like I set my alarm for that time but it has happened twice now. This morning, I actually booted up my laptop and got some work done, so it was useful in a way. I bet I'll fall asleep earlier tonight than I normally would.
I am looking forward to this weekend. I'm going to take my son up to see my mum while my daughter competes, I find it hard to watch. I usually have to hide a tear in my eye by wiping it away quick, regardless of whether she wins or loses I'm so proud of her because she works so hard and some of these girls are so much bigger than her.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Away Days

My daughter's competition is this Sunday rather than last Sunday, I got that wrong. I did get my tyres seen to though, which was a bit of a relief. They were still legal but had the weather been worse I would have been at risk. Tyres aren't cheap and I had to buy two new ones. I was talking to the mechanic and found out they also do air conditioning re-gassing, so I booked my car in for that on Saturday coming. My aircon doesn't work and with the summer fast approaching I really need temperature control in my car.
Not much else is happening really, hence my posts being fairly quiet. I have been away from home a couple of nights this week, I get back tomorrow, so it has felt a bit like I'm a stranger in my own home. A feeling I don't like very much.
I have noticed that my belly is getting bigger, which I find a bit of a downer. I will have to do something about that. I should diet. You heard it hear first!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Paranormal weekend

It's been a busy couple of weeks since my last posting. A new government is in post and a new man is running the helm with a deputy who day earlier was a competitor. Weird how things turn out isn't it?
My daughter takes part in a Judo competition this weekend, so we'll be cheering her on. I've borrowed the film Paranormal Activity from the Library to watch on my own tonight as my wife is out for the evening.
I should probably go and get my tyres checked and replaced this weekend too.
That's about it, have a great weekend folks!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Would you believe it?

You know when you have one of those experiences that embarasses you and you just have to put down to experience to get past it? Well, yesterday we all got up early-ish for a Bank Holiday Sunday and planned our travel to Collectormania. The venue has changed this year, they moved it from the large shopping mall space to the new stadium further out from the centre. We thought it would be busy and parking might be expensive but we knew we could park near the shopping centre for free and we found out from their website that there was a free bus to Collectormania. So, although it was chilly and a bit wet we did that. Walking briskly we left the car and headed for the bus stop. We considered popping into MacDonald's for a quick breakfast snack but decided against it because of not being sure whether the bus would be on time or late (they're never early are they?). We got to the bus stop but had some doubts. There was nobody else waiting, which I found a bit puzzling. There were no temporary bus signs indicating the free bus to Collectormania stopped at that particular one. So, we decided to wait. We waited. And waited. And then decided to check the website again on my phone, which I did and we were in the right place. Still no bus. By this time the bus was 30 minutes late and we'd been waiting 45 minutes. I suggested we cut our losses and go shopping in the mall, where the shops were now starting to open, because I reasoned that the free bus must have been cancelled. After my wife had bought a dress she needed for an upcoming event, we headed off to Collectormania. We got to the stadium and the car park was quiet, a few cars but nothing like what we were expecting. There were also no signs up and no indication which entry door to go to. So we drove around and pulled up to eat a few sandwiches we had picked up. I re-checked my phone. Guess what? You guessed it, it was on the Bank Holiday at the end of May and not the one at the beginning. It was my wife who told me it was on this weekend, I was a little bit surprised when she told me because in my mind I thought it was further away but I was so excited I wanted it to be this weekend that I accepted it. I looked at the website but didn't pick the date up very easily because it wasn't written in text, it was part of the graphic button and written in yellow I think. So the lessons to learn? Check your facts before you set off! Listen to your inner voice!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Collectormania 2010

I'm excited this evening because tomorrow we're going to Collectormania. I love this show, we see some celebrities who are signing autographs and some collector's memorabilia that can be bought. I'm not really going to buy anything but if I see something that takes my fancy I might do that. I like seeing things from movies and TV in real life. I'm looking forward to what I might find tomorrow.