Well today is December 15th and therefore Day 15 in this years advent calendar blog posts. The fifteenth letter of the alphabet is very obviously ‘O’ and today I will being doing something which might surprise many regular readers. Todays entry in the ABC of British bands is One Direction, although I still like to refer to them as Wand Erection.
The band members are Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. They came to prominence via the X-Factor in 2010 when they finished third in the contest. They all entered the contest as solo artists but didn’t make the cut until Simon Cowell saw the benefit of bringing them together. Matt Cardle won the contest that year while Rebecca Ferguson was in second place.
1D have smashed chart records across the world, notably in the USA where they are the first band ever to have their first four albums reach number one on the Billboard chart. The record of the first three albums hitting the top of the US album chart was held by…… yes you guessed it, One Direction. Surprisingly for a boy band they have had more success in the albums chart than in the singles chart. They have had only three UK number one singles and none in the USA. They have had number one singles in Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand and Ireland.
They are certainly a manufactured boy band but perhaps not as controlled as the likes of Westlife. There isn’t much in the way of choreographed dance routines and insipid covers of old ballads. Having a watched a bit of footage in preparation for this post they seem to be pretty good live performers (Fuck! Did I really say that?). I thought that their performance of “Steal My Girl” at the BBC Music Awards 2014 was among the better showings on the night.
Did you know that Liam has a strange fear of spoons? Or that Niall is not a big reader and that he once said that the only book that he had ever read was To Kill A Mockingbird? Harry Styles apparently wanted to be a lawyer before the bands X-Factor success. Rather fittingly for these advent calendar posts Louis was born on Christmas Eve. Zayn has a tattoo in arabic on his collar bone, the English translation is ‘be true to who you are’ OK that’s enough from me now feel free to enjoy a selection of Wand Erection’s finest.
Already we’re into double figures in December. How did it get to become December 10th so quickly? Anyway that means that it is now Day ten in my advent calendar blog posts. The theme this year is the ABC of British Bands for those of you who are not regular readers? What’s that I hear you say? You’re not a regular reader? In that case feel free to sign up and join the millions of others who read this blog everyday! OK so I exaggerated, sign up and join the few hundred that come here everyday. More importantly join the 700+ who actually follow it. December 10th means it’s day 10, which in turn means that we have reached the letter ‘J’. Who will it be? That’s easy, it’s Jamiroquai.
The band was formed in 1992. The lead singer and main man of the band is Jason Luis Cheetham, although I’m sure that you know him better as the crazy hat wearing Jay Kay. His mother Karen Kay was a television personality in the UK and a cabaret singer. Jay Kay originally started the band along with Toby Smith, Stuart Zender, Nick Van Gelder and Wallis Buchanan. They played keyboards, bass, drums and didgeridoo respectively. Has there ever been another British band that featured a didgeridoo player? Well let’s not count disgraceful kiddie fiddler any longer. The band’s name comes from an amalgamation of jam session and the Iroquois tribe of North America.
Some of Jay Kay’s hats were made by his mother and emulating her TV career he has also appeared on many TV shows including Top Gear, Strictly Come Dancing, The Naked Chef and the X-Factor. The band had three UK number one albums between 1993 and 2001. Their albums have also hit the top of the charts in Mexico, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and in the US Dance Chart. Their only UK number on single so far has been “Deeper Underground” from 1998. The song appeared on the soundtrack for that years ‘Godzilla’ film. They have been very popular across Europe and have had number one singles in four other countries in addition to the UK. They also climbed to the top of the US Dance Singles chart an impressive five times between 1994 and 2006.
Now it is time for you to enjoy a selection of classic Jamiroquai cuts. I hope that you enjoy them.
Geri meets 3 of the 393 people that bought her new single
Once upon a time she was one fifth of the pop world conquering Spice Girls who sold their songs by the Starship load. Nowadays Geri Halliwell a.k.a. Ginger Spice is selling barely enough CDs (ok I recognise that many are probably downloads these days) for one person to carry. Geri’s new single in Australia, “Half Of Me” sold just 393 copies in its first week. To be fair that is probably 392 more than perhaps a new Victoria Beckham single would sell.
Geri celebrates after the first six copies of her new single had been sold
Anyway it seems that Geri is taking it reasonably well. She decided not to perform the song on the Australia’s Got Talent Final TV show. Instead she performed a version of the Spice Girls first hit “Wannabe”. She admitted that deep down she was gutted. In contrast the Australian number one single, “Alive” by Aussie X Factor winner Dami Im sold 44,000 in the same period. Click here to read the story on the BBC.
Geri spends all the profits from the sales of her new single on a cab ride across the road
It’s clearly a long way from those heady days of her early solo career where she achieved four UK number ones; “Mi Chico Latino“, “Lift Me Up”, “Bag It Up” and an atrocious cover version (in my opinion) of the Weather Girls disco classic “It’s Raining Men“. The latter was also number one in Belgium, France, Ireland and Italy. She has never had an Australian number one solo single though and with “Half Of Me” only making it to number 281 that seems unlikely to change. Her biggest solo hit in the land down under was her first single “Look At Me” which made it to number 3 in 1999. Should we start a campaign to have “Half Of Me” adopted as the anti X Factor Christmas number 1 in the UK this year? No I didn’t think you’d go for that either!
One Direction were recently given the honour of having their wax sculpted likenesses made and put on show in Madame Tussauds in London. personally I am really struggling to tell the real Wand Erection from the wax version. I hope that no one makes that mistake when it comes time to melt them down in a couple of years. But hopefully their careers will be on the wane by then so some wax activity will provide the chance to flog some 1D candles made from either the real 1D or their wax counterparts will bring in some much-needed cash for the band and for Dr Evil a.k.a Simon Cowell.
Regular readers will know that I am not a fan of the X Factor and similar shows. Personally I believe all those shows will ever give us are at best some moderate average talents with no career longevity. So I was very pleased to hear the recent news about Leona Lewis‘ career. Cowell and company clearly hyped her as an international superstar. I always thought she was a second-rate shouty singer with close to zero presence and personality.
It looks like the buying public have finally begun to forget her too. Her latest single “Lovebird” has failed to reach the UK top 200 and is rumoured to have sold only 600 copies. It has such deep and meaningful lyrics as well; ‘dum, dum, diddy’ anyone? Anyway it’s excellent news in my opinion now let’s hope the X Factor goes the same way shall we?
Matt Cardle has been dropped by Columbia Records and Marcus Collins may follow very soon. In terms of sales they have been the least successful winner and loser respectively. Am I surprised? Not in the slightest. Am I pleased? Only if this is a portent for the death of the X Factor and shows like it.
Of course those conspiracy lovers may say Matt Cardle (or Matt Curdle as I like to call him) was dropped after his comments suggesting that 9/11 was an ‘inside job’. I can’t see that myself, however my theory about Marcus Collins is that if he does get dropped it will be for his awful cover version of the White Stripes classic, “Seven Nation Army“. So as a means of redressing the balance here are Jack and Meg with the original of the song. Enjoy!
It’s that time of year again, the annual celebration and all round back slap of the UK music industry that is the Brits. There are 46 nominees this year including Adele who comes to the party already the proud owner of six Grammys. In a slight departure from my live typing last year I am doing this from the recording of the show. This meant I was able to spend a great night with Catwoman and some of our best friends and their lovely daughter Amelia. (Incidentally if you’d like to read the blog I write monthly for Amelia just click here)
So on with the show. A great and bombastic opener, “Charlie” from Coldplay. As with last year the event is presented by James Corden. The little clips introducing the best album nominees began with Adele’s ’21’ which is appropriately enough the best-selling album in the UK so far this century. As expected there was a film montage in memory of Whitney Houston which preceded the live appearance of Florence and the Machine. I am always blown away by that girl’s voice and tonight was no exception with a superb performance of “No Light No Light”. She seemed encased in a white light prison at one point. A prism prison if you will!
The first award was for Best British Female, presented by the beautifully proportioned Kylie Minogue. Whilst I would have liked to have seen Kate Bush win it there was really no surprise to see Adele be announced as a very worthy winner. She gave a really amusing acceptance speech including suggesting that she felt like a drag queen next to Kylie. The Best International Male award was presented by Jessie J and Jack Whitehall (who the fuck is he?) The winner was Bruno Mars with a bouffant hair do that seemed to add about a foot to his stature. His thank you speech was probably the blandest and least controversial there has ever been at the Brits.
The next live act was Olly Murs with the Rizzle Kicks. This is a real dilemma for me, I love the Rizzle Kicks but Olly Murs voice makes me want to eat my cats vomit with a side order of fresh road kill. It was a big dance production of Olly’s “My Heart Skips A Beat” including an attempt at Murs robotic dancing. At least his Mum and Simon Cowell would be proud of him.
The Critics Choice award went to Emeli Sande and was known in advance, this was given to the wonderful Jessie J last year. Mr Ed Sheerhan was the next turn to take to the stage with a wonderfully sparse version of his superb song “Lego House”. Just how good was that? The next award was for Best British Single presented by the immensely talented Tinie Tempah. Sadly the winner was the rather insipid attempt at anthemic; “What Makes You Beautiful” from X Factor Pop Muppets One Direction. Did they get dressed in a James Bond costume shop?
Jenson Button was chosen to present the award for International Female, not for his musical talents presumably. Still he’d make a better James Bond than One Direction, probably a better singer too. The award went to Rihanna, possibly one of the sexiest women on the planet in my opinion. To make up spectacularly for Olly Murs Noel Gallagher appeared with his High Flying Birds with the stupendous “AKA What A Life” with Chris Martin off of Coldplay on keyboards. I think it’s now very clear that Noel was and is the more talented Gallagher brother.
Next was a tribute to Amy Winehouse. Quite fittingly interspersing some of her brilliant songs with some great interview clips all shown in black and white. Losing Whitney was very sad but losing Amy was a tragedy. Best British Male was the next gong and it was presented by the sharp dressed and edgy Plan B. The award went to Ed Sheerhan who has now ditched the green T Shirt for a suit and tie.
Huey Morgan and Jo Whiley presented the Best British Group award. This one has been taken home by Coldplay twice before (in 2001 and 2003) and this year they make it a third. It was voted for by BBC Radio Two listeners. A really sincere acceptance speech though. James Corden then interviewed, very briefly, Kylie Minogue. He really should stick to his day job! The stage was owned by Adele for the next live performance, a storming “Rolling In The Deep”. She looked stunning, I wonder if that pretentious twat Karl Lagerfeld was watching.
The International Group award was presented by two of the remaining members of Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor. The Foo Fighters were very worthy winners and were the first recipients of the evening not able to be there to collect their award. They did supply a great little video clip though. Nicole Scherzinger was joined by none other than musical superstar, sorry I meant football superstar Cesc Fabregas to present the Best Breakthrough act award. It was the second of the night for Ed Sheerhan. An interesting acceptance speech, apparently his manager could do with a new sofa.
Bruno Mars performed “Just The Way You Are” dressed like a tuxedoed James Bond lookalike. Except that the hair is probably an explosive secret weapon presented to this pint-sized warbler by Bond Boffin Q. Then we had another awkward Corden interview, this time with the prepubescent One Direction. A bizarre pairing of Rob Brydon and Will.i.Am presented the Best International Breakthrough act which unsurprisingly went to the talented and somewhat astral Lana Del Ray. She also won the award for blubbiest acceptance speech of the night, but I do love her album.
“We Found Love” from Rihanna was a live performance to be reckoned with. Only she could make a kind of painters smock sexy whilst performing in front of a gang of dancing painter decorators. Her hair had grown immeasurably from her earlier appearance. Has she taken the same follicle elixir as Bruno Mars or was it just a really classy syrup?
Finally it came to Ray Winstone to present the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award to Blur aka Graham, Dave , Alex and Damon. Next was the MasterCard British Album of the year award, presented by the man with talent oozing out of his pockets, George Michael. This had Adele’s name on it months ago didn’t it? That girl will need a bigger shelf for all these awards. How the fuck did they end up curtailing her acceptance speech in such an abrupt way.
Blur were on stage to close the show kicking off their set with “Girls And Boys” and then appropriately “Song 2”. They were then joined on stage by Phil Daniels for a great rendition of “Parklife” Sadly that is where the TV coverage ended, I would love to have seen the whole set from Blur. I hear that they finished off with “Tender” and “This Is A Low”, but somehow I imagine this was quite a high for them!
I can hardly believe it really. I started this blog because I was as they say ‘between contracts’ and frankly I was a little bored. But now it’s probably my favourite hobby. Why am I telling you all this? Well the blog is three years old today, 9th February 2012. I have loved every moment and I have met some wonderful people through it too. The most amazing thing is that I would have been knocked out if my viewing figures went into double figures on a weekly basis but now the total for three years is an incredible 1.04 million. I’d like to thank each and every one of you; especially the 51 who have subscribed and the 180 who are following it on Twitter.
I have made close to 450 posts and there have been nearly 530 comments. Some of the more amusing things are the search terms that have landed people here. The top 10 search items for the 12 months to 9th February 2012 are;
lady gaga 10,670
street signs 3,923
esthera sarita 3,555
rod stewart 2,910
imelda may 2,561
spencer elden 1,828
michael jackson 1,649
kate bush 1,625
dream catcher 1,385
The Lily Allen Naked experiment clearly still has some residual interest with 368 hits for Ms Allen naked. The naked thing is quite weird; many of you have searched for a favourite celeb naked including; Lady Gaga, Rage Against the Machine, Take That, Bono, Rod Stewart, Kate Bush, Simon Cowell & Louis Walsh. I mean come on people, first it’s not kind of site and second who really wants to see some of those naked? Louis Walsh naked bloody hell that’s perverse!
The largest referrals outside of search engines this year came from;
I am pleased to see that someone has kicked off a Facebook campaign to make Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” the UKChristmas number one this year. I posted something of a similar sentiment a short while ago, click here to read it. This new Facebook campaign was kicked off in response to the X Factor naming one of this years crop of average karaoke singers, another insipid, bland girl group, Rhythmix. The name is also the name of a UK charity that uses music as and to help children and young people from difficult backgrounds. It gives many young people the opportunity to make music to help them develop and learn. Check out the charity website here.
Simon Cowell will do anything in his desire to rule the world, including throwing babies to sharks
When the charity contacted the X Factor team they were told to “get a lawyer”. Effectively because they didn’t have the rights to the name for use as a band, basically they held the rights for educational purposes only. That’s within the letter of the law I’m sure, but ethically and morally it suggests that Cowell and his cronies are emotionally bankrupt.
Nirvana's unused sleeve for their cover of the Commodores "Brick House"
So let’s get behind this campaign and spoil this years pop muppets Christmas. Click here to find the page on Facebook. In the meantime enjoy the band doing the song at the Reading Festival in 1992. They even insert a short burst of Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” a song fromwhich Kurt Cobain claimed to have ripped off the riff for Teen Spirit from.
Regular readers of this blog know that I am not particularly fond of X Factor and all the crap that produces. I have taken a conscious decision to not watch it again. I saw 20 minutes of one episode of the new series and frankly it looks like the same old stuff yet again; a bunch of, at best, moderately talented individuals who might have a chance of a 12 month career in the music industry before being dropped. If you are a true music fan you probably never watch the show anyway. But for those of you who aren’t sure; The X Factor is NOT the future of rock ‘n’ roll. The X Factor DOES NOT produce or nurture great talent. The X Factor WOULD HAVE turned down the likes of Kate Bush or David Bowie. Olly Murs IS NOT rock ‘n’ roll (an appearance on Saturday Kitchen and on the bill at V Festival on the same day! A great reason to boycott the V Festival and go to Reading or Leeds instead) The X Factor IS JUST a light entertainment programme. I really mean all those kind of shows when I say X Factor; American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent etc.)
Probably more talented than most recent winners and finalists of the X Factor
In addition have you heard the new Matt Cardle single? It sounds like a song that Coldplay or Snow Patrol have rejected. Yes I know it was written by Gary Barlow off of Take That; but it is a bit of a dirge isn’t it. As for the stranglehold the show has on the Christmas number one we really need to create another Rage Against The Machine moment to prevent this years Joe Cardle or Matt McElderry (yes I know the names are juxtaposed!) or whatever identikit pop muppet wins. I propose something like the first Public Image Limited single “Public Image”, “White Riot” by the Clash or perhaps the Ramones with “I Wanna Be Sedated” I would love to hear your thoughts on that one. Check out the videos for those songs below.
Simon Cowell; So talented he can make the shape of his signature with his arms
I know many of you will, if you can be bothered, comment with a list of all the major successes these shows have produced. But it really would be a short list wouldn’t it? Personally I would only include Will Young on that list. Also how can a show overhaul its judging panel so extensively and still leave Louis Walsh in place? He’s about as useful as a teapot made of dog turds.
Louis looking remarkably like a dog turd teapot in my opinion
And finally spending four hours or whatever the hell it is each weekend watching such mindless drivel as the X Factor is a whole stack of hours that I will never get back. So why don’t we all do something different, something real. Go to a music venue, even if it’s just live music at a pub. just don’t sit in and allow yourself to become addicted such crap. Let’s start hoisting the flag for real music not puerile, manufactured shite that the X Factor drip feeds you with.
OK hit me with your comments good people! I thought for little while about what song to finish with. It had to be X Factor related yet not X Factor related at the same time. So it had to be Lauryn Hill with “Ex Factor”