Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Wordless Wednesday: North Wind Blew South - Headless Heroes ft. Alela Diane

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Alesha Dixon and Strictly Come Dancing

This post may only seem relevant to British people as it applies to a British television show and a British celebrity. I believe the US has a similar show to our Strictly Come Dancing called "Dancing With The Stars".

Anyway, the reason for this post is that I cannot take it anymore. In case you haven't heard, Alesha Dixon is to be made judge on Strictly Come Dancing; replacing Arlene Phillips.

Before I start whinging, let me take this opportunity to say that I think Alesha Dixon is clearly a lovely person who has been through a lot over the past few years and behaved admirably since coming into the limelight.

Alesha also performed reasonably well on the series of Strictly Come Dancing on which she competed for the title, which she went on to win. I say she performed reasonably well. As a (sometimes) voting member of the public and someone who has spent years learning the wonderful artform that is Ballroom and Latin dancing, I feel I have the right to say that I don't think she deserved to win. I think Matt Di Angelo (who came second) deserved that honour.

Her footwork wasn't too tight and her arms were a bit all over the place. The main reason for my opinion is that she was already a dancer. She'd danced in her music videos with Mis-teeq and N*E*R*D, whereas Matt hadn't done much dancing at all previously.

The judge that Alesha will be replacing, and indeed her fellow judges, are all extremely experienced and qualified dancers and choreographers, ranging in age from their 40s to their 60s. Basically, they do know their stuff. And I'm sorry Alesha, but you don't. And winning one reality T.V. show doesn't really change that.

Even Bruce Forsythe is an accomplished dancer with an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of dance.

The professional dancers who coach the celebrities on the show are also highly experienced, both in dancing and choreography; most having danced in competitions since childhood. Not only do they have to teach their charges to dance, they have to create the choreographies.

I'm afraid that in hiring Alesha Dixon as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC is insulting the professional dancers and the dance world in general.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Dead Poets Society

I have finally managed to see a film I have been wanting to see for years. It is twenty years old this year and stars Robin Williams and Ethan Hawke.

Dead Poets Society is about a man who teaches English in a very unusual and liberal way at a very strict and academic boy's boarding school, and inspires them to think for themselves in the process.

I am so glad because even as just someone watching the film, you are learning about poetry as if you were one of the students.

Here's a poem referenced in Dead Poets Society. It has a very special meaning for the film.

O Captain My Captain
a poem by Walt Whitman

O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Lily Allen's New Song - 22

Here is the new single from Lily Allen! I've listened to it once and I already think it's brilliant, which is rare for me as most songs are usually growers when it comes to my ears.

I've loved Lily Allen's music ever since she burst onto the scene with "Smile". Her videos are always very imaginative and her lyrics are very simple and easy to understand. Plus I loved the cover of "Oh My God" that she did with Mark Ronson

Lily's got her own style and she's confident with it, which I admire.

22 is the latest release from her second album "It's Not Me, It's You". The first single from the album was "The Fear" and the second was "Not Fair" - both absolutely brilliant.

I just thought I'd mention that I'd heard "The Fear" about a year before it was released because Lily had it up on her myspace, where I am friends with her! You can be too, just add her!

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Genius That Is Bill Bailey

Bill Bailey is a British comedian and in my opinion, the best comedian in the world. He is so witty and satirical with his comedy. However he is also a highly accomplished musician.

His work is not only hilarious, but also thoughtful and intellectually stimulating. He's unique.

I would love so much to be able to see him live. It'd be a dream come true for me. Maybe next year. *sigh*

Here are some examples:

Monday, 6 July 2009

What have "Fastest to Canada" and "The Stringbeans Quartet" got in common?

They were both at the Keynsham music festival yesterday, and they both rocked!

Fastest To Canada are a folk rock band, and here was their description at the festival:

"Imagine Fairport Convention without the jigs and reels, The Grateful Dead without the endless hours of guitar solos! Take That without the chubby one who ate all the pies! What you do get is an eclectic roots sound drawing on original, contemporary and traditional music. This may be folk rock but don't panic, there's a whole lot of fun to be had with songs of misery, death, work-related health problems and sailing."

Fastest To Canada consists of Jacqui Haigh, the lead singer, three guitarists - Andy Collins, John Sweet, Richard Ireland, a multi-talented musician - Andy Marr and a drummer - Mo Morgan. Jacqui has a totally folky voice, and the multi-talented musician amazed me. One minute he was playing a recorder, the next he was totally killing it on a saxophone.

In the middle of their set one of the guitarists announced the next song:

"It's about an arranged marriage which finishes in a mutual suicide pact". It was actually a really good song!

They all had beautiful voices and when they sang together I was reminded of Steeleye Span. I bet Fastest To Canada could do an amazing "Gaudete".

They played both slow, sad songs and upbeat, happy tracks. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them. Have a listen for yourself at Fastest To Canada's myspace!

The Stringbeans Quartet are a quartet (obviously) of female string musicians; Sue, Emily, Emma, and Bethany . Three on violins and one on the cello.

They were different, fresh and exciting. Their set included "Eleanor Rigby" and "Cool for Cats". I could have listened to them all day! Go and unwind to their wonderful playing at their myspace!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Jerico Kane

I would like to know YOUR thoughts on this band!

Go to their myspace and tell me what you think please!

It's not really my type of music, but it sounds like it'd be great to listen to while I'm driving.

The production is first class.

I do love comparing new acts to other artists and I think they sound like a cross between The Hoosiers, Flo' Rider (sp?) and Calvin Harris.

I don't think they're the best thing since sliced bread but I KNOW they're as good as a lot of what we're hearing in the charts.

The band members themselves are very interesting in the fact that they come from all corners of the globe! One member is from Australia, another is from New York and another is from the UK!

But yeah, I want to hear YOUR opinions on them. Good or bad. I know my readers all have very differing tastes in music and it'd be fantastic to see what you all think.

So visit their myspace, then leave me a comment and I will be your BFF forever!