Here’s another instalment of entries from my journal. This month there are further developments on my job, more on the TV shows, music and DVDs that I’ve been enjoying, a bit of socialising, a top 50 list and a top 100 list. So I hope you enjoy!
Sunday April 3, 2005
My contract at the council has definitely been extended for another month now (until April 29th). My supervisor will be going on leave for a couple of weeks soon when his new baby is born, but he’s shown me how to do some bits and pieces for when he’s away. And it is still fairly busy at work, with the move into a new financial year.
The big news this week is that Pope John Paul II died last night. It had been expected – his health had been getting worse over the past few weeks, and particularly the last few days. He was the third longest serving Pope. And there’s been an earthquake in the same region as the Boxing Day tsunami, but no tidal waves were caused this time. Hundreds of people were killed though, sadly.
In the US, a man who was paralysed from the neck down has been able to check his email and play video games using mind control, after pioneering surgery. It’s still in the early stages, but it just involves placing a special microchip in the brain. It’s clever what they’re able to do now.
As for TV news, there will be another series of Doctor Who, but Christopher Eccleston won’t be doing it. He said he doesn’t want to be typecast in the role, and the filming schedule was quite gruelling. It’s a great shame, but he is in 13 episodes of 45 minutes each for this series, so he’s had a good go at it. The BBC know who they want to get in the role (David Tennant, who I’ve never heard of), but Billie Piper will stay on as Rose. Last night’s episode, about the Earth ending, was another great one.
My DVDs of The Simpsons – Season 5, Minder – Series 10 and Comic Aid arrived yesterday, and it looks like they’ll be good. The Amarillo single and DVD came too, so I’m glad I’ve got them. I can’t say I think much of the Club Mix, although I can understand why it’s suitable for clubs. The laughter track on the single is a curious addition as well, but certainly appropriate for Comic Relief. Last week, the single got to #1 for the second week in a row, and Tony Christie’s Ultimate Collection topped the album charts too. It’s the first time Amarillo’s got to #1 (it got to #18 all those years ago). And it looks like it could be at the top spot for a third week. It is better than McFly’s Comic Relief track for sure.
Sunday April 10, 2005
Work has been much the same as ever. My supervisor’s actually been in most of the week as his new baby still hasn’t arrived yet, but maybe on Monday we’ll hear different.
We had fun and games with the drains this week, if you can call it that. Our new neighbours found that there was a horrible smell and their drains were blocked. So they called in a guy from Dyno-Rod on Monday, and he cleared their drain – but he pushed everything the wrong way and into ours! Lucky we didn’t ask him in to do more work when they came round to explain what was going on! They also had South West Water round, who confirmed that it had come through to us.
Our builder’s van was in for a service on Tuesday (just our luck!), so he came round on Wednesday morning to clear it. What was blocking it? It turned out to be ladies’ sanitary towels mainly, that the old neighbours had tried to flush away! And there were a few nappies as well I think. The old lot next door were always a bit odd, doing DIY at strange hours for instance, so it’s not really a surprise I suppose. And at least we know the new neighbours now, and they know us, so that’s something. We never knew who the old lot were!
In the news this week we had the funeral of the Pope and the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, and Tony Blair has announced the General Election for May 5th, as everyone expected. So nothing exciting really.
There was a programme on ITV1 last night called Queen Mania, featuring stars performing songs by the band, and footage of Queen themselves mixed in every now and again. It coincides with the new tour they’re doing with Paul Rodgers, which has been getting good reviews, so let’s hope for a DVD.
The show was, to be frank, a great disappointment, as the performances were very weak overall. Someone should have told them that Queen are a rock band, and that guitar sections don’t get replaced with synth strings. The musicians (drummers, guitarists, etc) must have come cheap! Queen didn’t even appear on the show at all, except for archive clips of their videos and live shows.
The songs performed were:
- Melanie C – One Vision (Not too bad for a start)
- Lesley Garrett & G4 – Barcelona (I wasn’t impressed with this version of the song)
- Coronation Street – I Want To Break Free (The Queen video was based on this soap, so they returned the favour, so it was a bit of fun)
- Heather Small – Somebody To Love (The M People singer didn’t do a great version of this, I felt. George Michael’s version has yet to be beaten.)
- Toyah Wilcox – Don’t Stop Me Now (Lacked the power, and she can’t sing very well.)
- Myleene Klass – Too Much Love Will Kill You (The former Hear’Say singer and a piano. Simple and reasonably effective. Not a bad voice.)
- Russell Watson – Who Wants To Live Forever? (The opera singer did an ok version of this song. But it wasn’t any better than just ok.)
- G4 – Bohemian Rhapsody (Lines were cut out, the harmonies were bad, the headbanging section was quite the opposite of what it ought to be, and they should just have steered clear of this track really.)
So it wasn’t great. Hopefully it’s further re-ignited interest in Queen among the youngsters, but ultimately it was a waste of what could and should have been a much better hour.
On another musical note, Tony Christie’s Amarillo track is at #1 for the fourth week in a row now. Is there anyone who doesn’t have this single? Comic Relief must be getting a lot of money from it, which is great.
And finally, Channel 4 did another of its lists last week – The 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches:
- Lou & Andy (Swimming Pool) – Little Britain
- Dead Parrot – Monty Python’s Flying Circus
- Tubbs & Edward (Road Men) – The League Of Gentlemen
- Vicky Pollard (Swimming Pool) – Little Britain
- Four Candles – The Two Ronnies
- Going For An English – Goodness Gracious Me
- Acorn Antiques – Victoria Wood: As Seen On TV
- Breakfast – The Morecambe & Wise Show
- Ted & Ralph (Drinking Game) – The Fast Show
- Good Aids/Bad Aids – Brass Eye
- The Slobs (Brown Baby) – Harry Enfield & Chums
- The Spanish Inquisition – Monty Python’s Flying Circus
- Silence Of The Lambs – French & Saunders
- Papa Lazarou (The Circus Comes To Town) – The League Of Gentlemen
- Ministry Of Silly Walks – Monty Python’s Flying Circus
- Previn Plays Greig – The Morecambe & Wise Show
- The Only Gay In The Village (Daffyd’s Coming Out) – Little Britain
- The Pool – The Day Today
- Michael Jackson’s Crib – Bo’ Selecta!
- Suit You! Tailors (New Job) – The Fast Show
- Masterchef – The Smell Of Reeves & Mortimer
- Singing Match – Smack The Pony
- Job Seekers (The Interview) – The League Of Gentlemen
- History Today – The Mary Whitehouse Experience
- Mastermind – The Two Ronnies
- One Leg Too Few – Beyond The Fringe
- Two Soups – Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV
- Gerald The Talking Gorilla – Not The Nine O’Clock News
- Mr Cholmondley-Warner (Women Know Your Limits) – Harry Enfield’s Television Programme
- Stoneybridge Olympic Bid – Absolutely
- Nudge Nudge – Monty Python’s Flying Circus
- Craig David On Tour – Bo’ Selecta!
- Constable Savage – Not The Nine O’Clock News
- Singing In The Rain – The Morecambe & Wise Show
- Alan Partridge (At The Races) – The Day Today
- The Dagenham Dialogues – Not Only But Also
- Thatcher & Cabinet – Spitting Image
- Damn It! – A Bit Of Fry & Laurie
- Saying Goodbye – Smack The Pony
- Class Sketch – The Frost Report
- The Pandas (Japanese Tourists) – Who Dares Wins
- Cissy & Ada Babysitting – The Les Dawson Show
- Two Flies – Alas Smith & Jones
- Jockey Safari – Big Train
- A La Carte – The Tommy Cooper Hour
- The Four Yorkshiremen – At Last The 1948 Show
- Slade in Residence (Christmas Day) – The Smell Of Reeves & Mortimer
- Rod Stewart’s Bum – The Kenny Everett Television Show
- The Lumberjack Song – Monty Python’s Flying Circus
- Smashie & Nicey (Radio Quiet) – Harry Enfield’s Television Programme
It’s an interesting list, although Little Britain is hardly good enough to beat Monty Python and The Two Ronnies. It’s not bad, but it’s not that great either.
Sunday April 17, 2005
My supervisor’s wife finally gave birth to their new baby on Wednesday morning at 3:40am, though he did still pop in on Friday to set up the poll cards we need to produce for the upcoming election, and he showed me how to print them. We managed pretty well without him, and I did have another colleague to help me out too. Other than that, we had a 5-second powercut during a thunderstorm on Friday afternoon, just before we were going to leave the office. It was quite weird seeing everything go off and then come back on again.
The election campaigning is underway of course *yawn*. Charles Kennedy has become a father, though, so that’s good news for him. He won’t win the election I expect, but he’s got one reason to be happy.
On TV, as well as their Sketchbook show on Fridays, there was a good Comedy Connections documentary about The Two Ronnies on Monday night. And the last in the series of Sketchbook next week does feature the Four Candles sketch, yay! Have I Got News For You also came back this week, in good time for the election. And I’m watching The Simpsons – Season 5 and Minder – Series 10 on DVD at the moment, and they’re both good.
We’ve lost Channel 4 though! It was alright on Friday night, but has now disappeared. I’m not sure if it’s engineering work, I’m trying to find that out. It’s a shame really, because they’re doing the 100 Greatest Albums today, and I want to see that. I’ll still be able to find out the list though, so it’s not all bad. I wonder if Queen will be in there anywhere. A Night At The Opera‘s got to figure, surely?
And talking of music, the charts are going to include downloads from today, so we could see a completely different line-up. Downloads are really catching up with singles now – why go out to a shop when you can download a song over broadband? That’s assuming you’ve got broadband of course. We haven’t yet. But downloads haven’t stopped Tony Christie in any case – as of today, Amarillo has now notched up a fifth week at number 1!
We’ve also had the London Marathon this weekend, with Paula Radcliffe winning the women’s race in a time of 2:17:42, so well done to her. And well done to everyone else who’s been running in the marathon (all 35,000 of them!), many of whom are raising money for charity. The event is in its 25th year and still going strong.
Monday April 25, 2005
Some good news from work this week – I’m going to be getting another 3 months! That takes me up to the end of July. My manager’s boss recommended it I think, as I’ve been doing stuff in my supervisor’s absence, and we’ve been managing fine.
I met up with a couple of old school friends on Saturday in Exeter for a few games of ten-pin bowling, and I won all 3 games. They haven’t really changed much. One is still overweight, drinks and smokes, so he’s as healthy as ever, and he’s dyed his hair blonde, which is an odd look. The other kept going on about football a lot, even though I wasn’t really interested, but he has got a job now, working a couple of days a week at the local library, so that’s good for him. They also told me that a few members of staff that I knew from school are retiring soon, and told me about a few former pupils that they’re still in touch with, particularly one couple who are now married with a child. So it was a good day all in all, it was nice to see them again.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy movie is out this week, so it’ll be interesting to see what that’s like. Martin Freeman from The Office is Arthur Dent, and the voice of the book is the great Stephen Fry, so it should be interesting. And talking of sci-fi, the new Doctor Who series continues to shine. I know I keep mentioning it, but it is brilliant!
Channel 4 came back on Monday, by the way, following on from my previous entry. The BBC website did say that our local transmitter was on reduced power, so that probably explains it. So I didn’t get to watch their programme about the 100 Greatest Albums, but here’s the list:
- Radiohead – OK Computer
- U2 – The Joshua Tree
- Nirvana – Nevermind
- Michael Jackson – Thriller
- Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
- Oasis – Definitely Maybe
- The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
- Madonna – Like A Prayer
- Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction
- The Beatles – Revolver
- R.E.M. – Automatic For The People
- The Beatles – The White Album
- Queen – A Night At The Opera
- Coldplay – Parachutes
- Oasis – (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
- Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill
- Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
- The Verve – Urban Hymns
- Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced
- The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
- John Lennon – Imagine
- Radiohead – The Bends
- Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus
- The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
- Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
- Björk – Debut
- The Doors – The Doors
- ABBA – Arrival
- Michael Jackson – Off The Wall
- Duran Duran – Rio
- Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols
- David Bowie – The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
- The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
- Joy Division – Closer
- The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed
- Blur – Parklife
- Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
- Billie Holiday – Lady Sings The Blues
- The White Stripes – Elephant
- Black Sabbath – Paranoid
- The Specials – The Specials
- The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street
- Frank Sinatra – Songs For Swingin’ Lovers!
- The Clash – London Calling
- The Prodigy – The Fat Of The Land
- The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground And Nico
- Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms
- Pixies – Doolittle
- Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You
- The Libertines – The Libertines
- Happy Mondays – Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches
- Patti Smith – Horses
- The Who – Tommy
- Lou Reed – Transformer
- Bob Dylan – Blood On The Tracks
- Prince – Sign ‘O’ The Times
- Dido – No Angel
- Air – Moon Safari
- Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
- The Jam – All Mod Cons
- Jeff Buckley – Grace
- Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
- Moby – Play
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik
- The Police – Synchronicity
- Joni Mitchell – Blue
- Curtis Mayfield – Super Fly
- Elvis Presley – The Sun Sessions
- Outkast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
- Pulp – Different Class
- Kraftwerk – Trans-Europe Express
- Massive Attack – Blue Lines
- Beck – Odelay
- Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life
- Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love
- Talking Heads – Fear Of Music
- Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
- Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
- George Michael – Faith
- Saturday Night Fever – The Original Movie Soundtrack
- Primal Scream – Screamadelica
- John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
- Love – Forever Changes
- Paul Simon – Graceland
- Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left
- Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell
- Dusty Springfield – Dusty In Memphis
- De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising
- The Strokes – Is This It
- Madness – One Step Beyond…
- Robbie Williams – I’ve Been Expecting You
- Neil Young – After The Gold Rush
- Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
- Blondie – Parallel Lines
- The Eagles – Hotel California
- James Brown – Sex Machine
- The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free
- Dexys Midnight Runners – Searching For The Young Soul Rebels
- Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells A Story
- The Human League – Dare
Good to see Queen’s best album at #13, though I’m surprised that A Night At The Opera and Led Zeppelin IV weren’t in the top 10 to be honest. I’m not surprised that Thriller by Michael Jackson did well, as I know he’s got a lot of fans, even though his trial is still going on. I don’t think Radiohead should have the top spot, what I have heard of their stuff hasn’t really inspired me much. I haven’t heard most of the albums in that list, but there are a few I plan to get one day. I own 5 of them at the moment.
And on a final musical note – Amarillo has now made six weeks at number 1! Downloads clearly haven’t stopped it, if anything they’ve probably helped!