Saturday, November 29, 2003

I think she might be going tonight...

...which kind of sucks, to be honest. Because Susanne's one of the few remaining marks of interest in this year's contest, and it'll be hellish dull if she goes. In fact, I think I'll just stop watching altogether.

If anyone still cares enough to save her, try calling 09011 21 21 03, or texting "Vote Susanne" to 83322. Ah, go on.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

A site of ill repute?

When I was looking at this site just now, I noticed the following "related searches" in the Blogger toolbar:

" shirtless men • hot guys • men kissing • josh hartnett pictures • heath ledger pictures • chippendales • beefcake "

What do they think I am, gay or something?

What's the big Deal? (Part One)

In a change from my usual subject matter, I'm going to do a few pieces on my hometown in honour of my impending week-long visit to the parentals, which I'm sure I'll endure*.

So let's begin with Deal's most famous landmark, Deal Pier:

Lovely, isn't it? I believe it was once voted Best Pier In All of Deal, by the Friends of Deal Pier Association, or something. A bit of history for you: as a child (and indeed, a young adult) I sometimes ate chips on that pier, but I never went fishing.

There's more to come!

*Whoops! I mean, of course, enjoy. Silly me. How could I ever have made such a mistake?

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Some pandas are bisexual, it seems...

Not me, though. I'm just a gayer, thanks.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte corner

Hurrah! From "In 2002 Natalie portrayed Ariel the female lead in the Musical "Footloose" along Spencer McLareng (sic) and starred in the the film 'Natalie Wood' directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Natalie has just joined the cast of ' Neighbours ' as Izzy." I have no idea who this Izzy Hoyland is, though some relationship to Boyd and Summer is obvious. So then, Natalie Bassingthwaighte: best. surname. ever.

Comedy surname corner

When browsing the Interweb here, I came across a synopsis of today's episode of Neighbours, which informed me that it starred Natalie Bassingthwaighte. Either that's one mother of a typo or the greatest surname in the whole world. I intend to find out.

Monday, November 24, 2003

It's bloody cold in my office today.

But, being the upbeat panda that I am, I'm determined to make this a positive situation, since it means I can wear the Very Big Scarf that I bought at the weekend while I'm at work. And as we know, all men in Very Big Scarves look buff and hottie-like.*

And, you know, I do have the advantage of the fur, too.

*Erm, having just looked in the mirror, I may need to add a rather large "except me" caveat to this statement. Dammit.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Chris and Mark: a refresher course

Now, just in case anyone wasn't listening last time:


Is there anyone who is yet to get to grips with this? Because I'm very concerned to find out who on earth is voting for these people, particularly after they were both so dire on Saturday night and somehow survived. I'm absolutely flabbergasted (there's an underused word!) that Susanne is currently getting so much bad press for being inconsistent and hitting bum notes, when to my mind Chris and Mark have both been consistently pretty terrible, and this week was no exception. Roxanne may have not been the best performer this week, but there is no way she was worse than Chris or Mark. (Incidentally, I've resigned myself to the fact that Sam gets votes because he is young and cute, and is a dead cert for the final.)

But it seems that Susanne is likely to be next to depart, and then Pop Idol will have officially turned to shit. Sorry, but that's how it is.

And, since Nicki Chapman is so obviously in love with Chris and Mark, I'd love to know what she has in her ears. Or indeed between them.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Boys = rubbish

Regular visitors to the site (I think there may actually be six of them now) will know that I'm rather fond of boys. Particularly buff ones. And hotties. And especially buff hotties. But the above comment doesn't relate to boys in general, but rather to this year's Pop Idol, specifically since Andy Scott-Lee disappeared this week. This means that the three remaining boys, Chris, Mark and Sam, are all Rubbish and Evil:

Chris is Rubbish because he does that ridiculous warbling thing that only works if you're Christina Aguilera. Which he isn't. Mark is Rubbish because he's cheesier than Darius singing 'That's Amore' in a pizza kitchen. And Sam is Rubbish because he's so ear-achingly bland. And because he thinks he's Will, which he most certainly is not.

Now, while the girls may not be perfect, I have decided that I officially want a girl to win this year, because the standard of their game is so much higher:

Michelle I probably like the least of the three, because I find her performance style a little bland, but I can't deny she gets better each week. Roxanne has surprised me consistently with the charm and power of her vocals. Her 'Can You Feel It' this past week was a triumph. But ideally I'd like Susanne to win because I adore her charm, her voice and her sense of style. And I think she'd be the most difficult popstar of the three, and hence the most interesting, in a manner not dissimilar to Will.

So, Susanne to win please. And if not her, Roxanne. And if not them, Michelle. And please show the other three the door.

(Please note: no expense was spared in doctoring the above pictures. Because no expense was actually spent.)

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Why I dislike Louis Walsh, part one.

This is an argument I've been carefully considering for some time. There are potentially many reasons to hate Louis Walsh. I can think of at least five big fat reasons right off the cuff. But that's enough about Westlife. The reason I dislike Louis Walsh at this present moment in time is for having the arrogance to throw away a wonderful opportunity for pop.

Let's face it, even during the heat generated by Popstars: The Rivals, few people predicted great things for Girls Aloud. Most of us just assumed that One True Voice would be the success story, and that Girls Aloud would fade into obscurity. But we all know the rest of the story: 'Sound of the Underground' was ace, 'Sacred Trust' wasn't, a nation collectively wet its pants at the fact that a Popstars single could actually make even music snobs admit that it was "quite good actually". And then came 'No Good Advice', and we all creamed our pants all over again that a Popstars band could produce the two best singles of 2003 (and yes, for the pedants out there, I realise 'Sound of the Underground' was released in 2002, but I don't give a tiny rat's ass), while at the same time reclaiming guitars from the dirty grounds of indie back to the hallowed ground of pop.

It was lovely of Louis Walsh, as Girls Aloud's manager, to actually demonstrate a love of music not evident in his work with Westlife, and give Girls Aloud an album full of modern pop classics. What I find totally incomprehensible is that fact that now he appears to have lost both faith and interest in the girls, demonstrated most amply by the release of their latest single, 'Jump'. I don't have a problem with the single in itself, in fact I think it's ace. What bothers me is that both CDs have been filled with album tracks and remixes, neither CD has the video, and therefore there's precious little here to tempt hardcore fans (who are pretty much the only people supporting Girls Aloud at the moment) into buying the single. Even though the single's new, the album's being re-released to include it, so why would hardcore fans (other than psychotic completists like myself) bother to buy it?

Given that Girls Aloud are up against Louis Walsh's other headline act, Westlife, in this week's chart, it seems a bit obvious where Louis' loyalties lie. And they are not with the future of pop - he clearly couldn't care less about Girls Aloud, and in a manner that seems worryingly common in the music industry these days, seems to be pushing them into the dumper with his own hands, leaving him free to focus his attentions on the (metaphorical and literal) fatted calf that is Westlife, despite the fact that they (a) make disturbingly atrocious records, and (b) have been around for ages and clearly can't be that far from splitting up.

It's such a waste. Girls Aloud could quite easily have been the best girl group in Britain; after all, the only band currently offering any serious competition is the Sugababes. Yet when even their management seem to have given up on them, it seems as though they're destined to follow Hear'Say and Gareth Gates into the road of a lukewarm reception of the second album, and then a one-way ticket to the dumper.

Much as I love Girls Aloud, and hope against hope that they will survive and continue to make further albums as classy and genre-defining as 'Sound of the Underground' was (and indeed still is), I'm sure pop will survive without them. But I don't think I can ever forgive Louis Walsh for dangling such a brilliant concept in front of us and then whipping it away as soon as he got bored.

(Wow - hardcore polemic and rhetoric! Bet you didn't think you'd ever see that on this site...)

Monday, November 17, 2003

I've been writing books in my sleep again.

I am a panda. I am very precious about spelling and grammar. Ergo I am clearly the author of this book. Lynne Truss is my pen name.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Hypnosis experiment marginally successful

We're pleased to report that (we hope in some little part to our own efforts, if not the advertising her voteline number on this site, then at least voting three times ourselves) Susanne Manning has survived to sing another week on Pop Idol. However, we are somewhat distressed that this happened at the expense of Andy "1SL" Scott-Lee, who left the competition this week. Andy may have had a rubbish hairdo, but he was a very sweet, engaging person and delivered a couple of stunning performances during his tenure.

However, since Susanne was in the bottom two this week, much more work is needed from you people. It's Beatles week next week, which should give her a little more scope to find a song that suits her, but we cannot rest on our laurels. If she goes out before we're rid of Rubbish Chris and Rubbish "I'm Will, I Am" Sam, there will be no balance between good and evil in the world and we'll all have evil demon counterparts following us around. Or something.

Pandarama: Amateur hypnotist

You will vote for this woman today. She needs your help. She was on first, which doesn't help her either. But she's ace, and must survive. Call 09011 21 21 01. Because Susanne doesn't do disco.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003


Look at the eyes on that.

(Contrary to popular belief, this is not Obscure Buff Hottie Week 2. I just liked the picture. A lot.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

It's been a while...

But I'd hate for anyone to think we're not still pursuing our buff hotties. And what better way to celebrate the new series of Cash in the Attic this week than with a photograph of Grade A Buff Hottie Alistair Appleton! Hurrah!

I'm going to marry this woman.

She's officially ace. She's a successful property developer. She knows what she's talking about. People don't usually listen to her, but they always end up looking stupid afterwards. She's written books. And she can plumb and wire in a house all by herself.

And isn't that what every man wants?

Monday, November 10, 2003

"I don't need a job, I don't need my parents, I've got great boots" boots

What better way to bookend the finale of Sophie Ellis-Bextor week than by showing you exactly what I've been wittering on about for the last seven days? I'm greatly indebted to the lovely marknyc for providing the following picture, and he may consider himself the current recipient of the Panda Pops Award for Most Helpful Reader.


Sunday, November 09, 2003

I'm famous, me.

How lovely. Click here.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Panda Pops presents: a public service

Every so often we find a wrong that needs to be righted. A good example of this is Kelly Osbourne, though we've not managed to right her yet. We witnessed a major wrong tonight on Pop Idol; a wrong involving The Lovely Susanne. The very fact that it involves The Lovely Susanne means it automatically receives Drastic Unforgivable Wrong status.

We would like to offer all the judges from Pop Idol the opportunity to have their ears syringed free of charge. Seriously, it's totally on us. If it'll help you appreciate that Susanne's performance of I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues was not "a musical train wreck", and was in fact ace (and indeed to appreciate that both Sam and Mark were rubbish, despite your comments to the contrary), then the expenditure on our part will be utterly worth it.

Well, think about it, at least.

(This can still be part of Sophie Ellis-Bextor week, given that Susanne sounds a bit like her. Sometimes.)

Iconic Sophie Moment #3

The entire video to Murder on the Dancefloor. Let's face it - it's camp as tits, isn't it? Sophie dances with a buff hottie and tries to fix a dance contest by tripping/spiking the drinks of/ripping the outfits of the other contestants. And all so she can win a lovely pair of shoes.

Although why she wants/needs the lovely pair of shoes is a little beyond me. If I'd been able to get the screengrab I wanted, I would have demonstrated to you the fucking stunning pair of Gina boots that Sophie wore in the video. They may not have been the most suitable attire in the world for dancing, but they were a masterpiece of engineering. I bet there wasn't a woman/gayer watching that video who didn't want to own those boots.

Still, she wins in the end. Which is lovely. But not as lovely as her boots.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Iconic Sophie Moment #2

Parading down a street in the Get Over You video, freeing all the mannequins from the prisons of their shop windows in a tongue-in-cheek look at her modelling career. How very ace.

There are two things you should note here: (1) Yes, I am well aware that the above screencap is from the Take Me Home video. But screencaps from any other Sophie video seem to be harder to come by than good cover versions by Atomic Kitten. (2) Since I've been so rubbish at updating the site this week, Sophie Ellis-Bextor Week will continue until further notice. Hurrah!

STOP PRESS: The almighty FairyCakes has pointed me in the right direction for Sophie screencaps. So while I still can't find one of her boots in the Murder video (goddammit!), I can at least change the above picture to one that's actually from the correct video. Thank you, Almighty FairyCakes!

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Here by popular request...

For the rest of the week, this lovely Barbershop Quartet will be performing the works of Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Take it away, boys!

Take me home (take me home)
Take me home (take me home)
I know another place to be (another pla-ace to beeee...)

Well, you did ask for it...

Iconic Sophie moment #1

From an interview in this month's (the very mighty) Top of the Pops Magazine: "When I was quite little, I believed you'd go blind if you stared at a caterpiller for more than ten seconds! Someone told me it was true and it scared me. I remember staring at one for nine seconds and then having to look away!" Aw, bless.

(Incidentally, it might look like Sophie Ellis-Bextor week has been a complete washout, but that's not true at all. We're just paying tribute to the spirit of Sophie by being effortlessly cool without even trying. Honest.)

Monday, November 03, 2003

Sophie Ellis-Bextor Week: Interactive!

How would you like to play a vital part in the history of Sophie Ellis-Bextor week? Well, now you can! All you have to do is tell me where I can find a grab of the fantastic boots Sophie wears in the Murder on the Dancefloor video.

Seriously, if anyone can find this for me, I'll love them forever.


Well, as it turned out, The Almighty Jessica's surgery hours had to be reduced dramatically after Steve was so busy on Friday he didn't have time to update the site she was called away on urgent Almighty business. We would, however, like to thank The Almighty Jessica for taking time out of her busy schedule to attend to our needs, and we hope that she may return one day, if only for a brief sojourn.

However, there is to be no despairing amongst the congregation of Panda Pops, since we do not intend The Almighty Jessica's departure to leave a void. So, without further ado, we declare the week commencing November 3rd 2003 to be officially Sophie Ellis-Bextor Week! We have lots of exciting things planned. But you'll have to wait until later to see what they are. Ha ha.