Friday, January 30, 2004

Shit happens.

A moment's silence, please, for the demise of pop supergroup Atomic Kitten.

During their brief time with us, they gave us some wonderful nuggets of pop supremity, such as 'Whole Again', that one that was 'Whole Again' with slightly different lyrics, and the one that sounded a bit like 'Whole Again'.

And it's not just the music we're losing. Here were three talented girls with vibrant, striking personalities. Their irrefutable individuality is clearly demonstrated by the illustration above.

Let us also not forget the exciting showbiz stories they gave us, such as the fight over which one got to have short blonde hair.

Good luck with your solo projects, Atomic Kitten. We're sure they will be long and successful. I mean, okay, most of the Spice Girls solo careers went to shit quite quickly, but that's not going to happen to girls like you with such a firm grasp of what makes a good pop song, is it?

(Transparent insincerity aside, we're quite pleased that Atomic Shitten have split up. We were more upset when Kerry left because she was the only interesting one, and they stopped making good songs shortly after that. Girls Aloud splitting might upset us. The Sugababes splitting, certainly. Atomic Kitten? Botherd.)

Thursday, January 29, 2004

AlistairWatch: Success!

We are very pleased to report that at the beginning of today's episode of Cash in the Attic, there was no sign of Lorne "King Claudius of Denmark" Spicer, and that Alistair Appleton was wearing a Big Stripey Scarf.

[victoria newton]And this is all down to me. No one else could have made this happen.[/victoria newton]

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Cut to me: two hours later, eating the cheesecake

The episode of Will and Grace with Madonna in it is fucking ace. She can do comedy - who knew?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

It's dangerous, but we're loving it nonetheless

We're in a state of giddy homosexualist excitement here at Panda Towers, because we've heard the new singles from Kylie and Britney. Yes, we don't doubt that most of the sentient listening public (and the Dido fans, let's not forget them either) have already heard these tracks, but there is not much money in being a panda at the moment and we've not been able to afford either of the albums, so this is all quite new. Please bear with us.

Anyway, the matter in hand: 'Toxic' by Britney Spears and 'Red Blooded Woman' by Kylie. One is a glittering return to form from someone we thought had utterly lost it, and the other is a further piece of brilliance from someone whose recent work we'd already been impressed with. However, it may surprise you to learn that the former refers to Kylie and the latter to Britney.

We're going to hold our hands up and say that we were utterly underwhelmed by 'Slow'. It's not that we didn't like it, it's more that we just didn't feel for it in any particular direction, and that's worrying considering how much we worship Kylie (being A Gay and everything). It just felt a little too much like someone aching to be cool and at the forefront of modern electronica, and yet came out sounding a bit like a filler track from Madonna's Music album by way of a filler track from Kylie's Fever album, which, without wishing to be unkind, isn't exactly pushing back the boundaries of musical possibility.

But there are so many things right with 'Red Blooded Woman'. For a start, I defy anyone to listen to this record and not want to jump straight into bed with Kylie afterwards. How can you resist lines like "I wanna get down, I'm a red blooded woman, what's the point in hanging round?" This is Kylie at her most confident - knowing she's fabulous and can make men beg. And listening to this record makes you think that maybe, if you try really hard, you could be like that too. Only less Botoxed, obviously. It even managed to sufficiently undo the damage from 'Slow' to make us go and buy her album (hey, we may be poor, but that's what credit cards were invented for).

And now to Britney. Oh, Britney, Britney, Britney. How we love thee, let us count the ways. Despite most people having the knives out for 'Me Against The Music', I found it to be insanely catchy and even forgave Britters for the silly video and pointless faux lesbianism that even tATu are bored of by now. And then she went and got married in Vegas (bonkers! hilarious!) and now she's releasing 'Toxic', the best Bond theme that never was (Sorry Emma, but 'Free Me' doesn't stand a chance any more). It has crazy strings, a killer chorus and a seriously attitude-laden video. This might just be the song to restore the Great British Public's faith in La Spears. It may not be quite good enough to top '...Baby One More Time' as her bestest single ever, but it might just topple 'Overprotected' as her second bestest. Woo!

And if we had to choose between these two? Britney, clearly. She might even marry us if we got her pissed enough.

AlistairWatch: Update

We've not been doing AlistairWatch this week because the people on our desk at work keep hogging the remote control so they can watch Dark Towers on the CBBC channel. But judging by the comment boxes, none of you really care anyway.

Pfuh. Botherd.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

AlistairWatch Returns: JontyWatch

Okay, we admit that we've been neglecting our post on AlistairWatch this week: partly because of all the Frances Ruffelle-related jollity, and partly because the TVs in our office always seem to be watching repeats of Little Britain when Cash in the Attic is on. However, the odd snatches that we've managed to catch a glimpse of have been indicating that Lorne Spicer's reign of terror is far from over.

So we were pleasantly surprised to note today that not only was Alistair presenting the show, but he was in Brighton, and Jonty Hearnden was the resident valuer. This meant that what we saw of the show was nice and camp, just how Cash in the Attic ought to be. However, it was a little sad for us to learn that our conspiracy theories about Alistair and Jonty running off together to raise Himalayan whistle kids in Vermont are transparently untrue.

To quell our disappointment on this issue, we've been giving serious thought to writing some hardcore Alistair and Jonty slash fiction. But then we thought, "we can do better than that", and in another foray into interactivity, we want to you send us your Alistair and Jonty slash fiction - make it as bizarre or disturbing as you like. E-mail me with your stories, and anything that's sufficiently fascinating/non-libellous will be posted on the site. Woo!


I just heard 'With A Little Help From My Friends' by Sam and Mark.

I can only assume that Will and Gareth will have their "Worst Cover Version Ever" accolade stripped from them any day now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

All that jazz

There were many ace things about going to see Chicago last night. One of them was Frances Ruffelle on a ladder singing 'Funny Honey'. One of them was Gaby Roslin singing the immortal line "When you're strokin' Mama, Mama's strokin' you". One of them was the number of buff hotties in see-through tops dancing on the stage.

But none pleased so much as the discovery that Panda Pops favourite Frances Ruffelle has an official website: - the one stop shop for all your Ruffelle needs! How can we possibly cope with this much excitement? Answer: we probably can't. So we're off to listen to 'Lonely Symphony' and muse on how unfair a world is where Frances Ruffelle didn't win Eurovision.

Monday, January 19, 2004

And in this mad equation, I still believe that we can be in harmony, you and me

I'm in an extreme state of fagular excitement as tonight is the night I am off to see Eurovision and Dream Team refugee Frances Ruffelle in Chicago. The fagular excitement increases now I believe that Gaby Roslin is still in the cast as Mama Morton. If either of these ladies are not at the performance tonight, I may not be held responsible for my actions.

The hidden meanings of kids' TV

The first in a when-we-can-be-arsed series

The charge: Clifford promotes communism to children.
The evidence: Clifford is big and red and brings people together.
The verdict: Undecided. It's probably just a big red dog, isn't it?

The charge: The Boohbah prepare children for the existence of Kelly Osbourne.
The evidence: The Boohbah are chubby, annoying and inexplicably frightening.
The verdict: Guilty as charged.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

And today's gratuitous shirtless picture is...

Anyone wishing to help reapply the baby oil, please form an orderly queue behind me.

(Thanks to Famous Males for the picture, and to Swithun for pointing it out to me.)

P.S. Is it just me, or does it look like there's something dripping off Mikey in the above picture?

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


The first in an occasional series of little-known secrets behind some of the world's biggest pop phenomena. Today's Pop FACT: the true genus of The Cheeky Song.

It's a little-known Pop FACT that the original version of The Cheeky Girls' number two hit, The Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum) had one striking difference from the version we've all come to know and love. Pop anthropologist Sheena Exist explains: "Some people were very concerned upon hearing this song that Mama Cheeky had written a song inviting people to touch her daughters' bums. But the truth is a very different story. The original bridge to this song went "Don't ask why / Don't be shy / Touch my mum / This is life." Mama Cheeky wrote this song during a long period of sexual abstinence when she was feeling very lonely and desperate for some carnal embrace. She hoped that by getting her daughters to record the song and have a hit with it, she would be taken up on her invitation and receive many offers from the attractive menfolk of Transylvania.

"Of course, this isn't the version that was eventually recorded. The Girls went into the studio and were all set to record, but a misspelt fax from Mama Cheeky to the recording studio changed the lyric to 'Touch my bum', and nobody realised the mistake until it was too late. Mama Cheeky was set to launch legal action against her typist, Fatima Dumkopf, but her daughters convinced her that the new version of the song might work even better.

"The rest is history."

Thanks Sheena! More pop facts coming soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

AlistairWatch: Week Two

We had hoped that AlistairWatch wouldn't be needed for more than one week, but due to the giant conspiracy to get Alistair off our screens*, we shall have to continue our vigil. And, since we're in a literary mood today, we've written a poem to express our innermost feelings about this unfortunate turn of events.

Waiting for Alistair
The other week, to my despair,
I saw that Alistair wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish Lorne Spicer would go away.

(But Alistair was wearing A Big Scarf at the end of yesterday's programme, so it's not all bad news.)

*May not be a real conspiracy.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Clothes Swap

When Panda Pops was but a gayer-in-training (because, as a wise woman once said, "you have to take a course, otherwise they don't let you do it"), we were told that one of the ace things about being gay was that you can wear your partner's clothes if you can't find anything of your own. What we didn't realise at the time, and has now been brought to our attention, is that there is a severe limit of clothing available for the gays, and shortages have become so extreme that you now have to share with other gays even if you're not going out with them.

Consider the evidence: as we all know, Panda Pops is a big fan of BBC One daytime, and we were paying avid attention this morning in anticipation of week 2 of AlistairWatch. We noticed during the return of To Buy Or Not To Buy that Kristian Digby had a nice stripey-jumper/cream jacket thing going on, something we didn't give much thought to at the time. Imagine our surprise, then, when we caught Trading Up half an hour later to find that Colin Or Justin (we haven't quite learnt to tell them apart yet) was wearing what seemed to be the exact same stripey-jumper/cream jacket combo!

This clearly points to an epidemic of clothes swapping amongst the gays on a grandiose scale (no doubt someone at Channel Four is already in the process of pitching Clothes Swap to Mark Thompson). We had no idea that circumstances had become so dire - we were under the impression that the gays were always buying new clothes, when they weren't at the gym, listening to Kylie, or staring at shiny things.

Of course, we wouldn't want to be left behind in this new craze, so if there are any gays out there who want to swap clothes with us, feel free. We're a size 30" waist, sometimes a 32" if we're shopping in H&M.

Friday, January 09, 2004

AlistairWatch: It was all going so well...

Scream! It was that stupid Lorne woman again this morning, rendering the programme totally unwatchable. Where was Alistair? Has no one been listening to us? We demand an explanation!

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Damn right, it's better than yours

We're not usually so forthcoming when it comes to handing out accolades here at Panda Pops, but for once we're throwing caution to the wind and prematurely declaring 'Milkshake' by Kelis to be the best single of 2004.*

Now, we know that Kelis is up against Pop Idol winner Michelle "No Surname, Thanks" McManus in this week's chart, and we don't really expect Kelis to win the battle. But that's fine, because most of the best songs of last year didn't get to number one either.

There has been some debate as to what the line "my milkshake brings the boys to the yard" actually refers to, but the most common consensus (and the one that's apparently come from Kelis herself) is that it refers to shakin' that booty. In that case, Michelle would also be in possession of a considerable milkshake of her own.

So, in a rare foray into interactivity, we want to know whose milkshake is most likely to bring the boys to the yard - Kelis's or Michelle's - and why? Stick your answers in the comment boxes below, and (assuming we get any kind of decent response to this), the best ones will be posted on the site and might win a prize or something.

*Naturally, we reserve the right to change our minds later in the year.

AlistairWatch: Day Four

The good news: once again this morning Alistair was in his rightful place fronting Cash in the Attic.

The unsettling news: we've realised that another fundamental part our initial attraction to this programme is missing, and frankly we're disgusted with ourselves for not noticing sooner. The best part of Cash in the Attic isn't Alistair Appleton, it's Alistair Appleton filming the pre-titles teaser in a windy street wearing A Big Scarf. It would appear that this series was filmed entirely in weather that was at best warm, and at worst clement, and that just won't do. Note to producers: please film the next series in late autumn or early spring, and return to us the wondrous sight of Alistair in A Big Scarf.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

AlistairWatch: Day Three

Could it be that normality has returned to these once-troubled shores? We have a double reason to celebrate today: Alistair Appleton is fronting Cash in the Attic again today, but we were also fortunate enough to catch the BBC's "Cash in the Attic: Next" slide, which consists of a picture of Alistair looking chirpy, thus implying that he's not going anywhere for a while and his absence on Monday was a mere aberration in the space-time continuum that has now been restored.

Needless to say, the presence of Alistair on our television screens is a basic human right and we at Panda Pops will continue to monitor his attendence closely to ensure that justice is being done.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

The Case of the Missing Alistair: Solved?

Phew! Having straggled into work somewhat late this morning (for perfectly legitimate reasons, I assure you), I was relieved to catch the last thirty seconds of Cash in the Attic and to see that The Lovely Alistair Appleton was back in his rightful place as presenter of the show.

However, we are not to be so easily placated and we will be watching avidly for the rest of the week to establish whether we can officially close the Case of the Missing Alistair or whether further investigation is needed.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Inspector Panda and the Case of the Missing Alistair

Scream! We were totally unprepared for the shock of finding one of our favourite programmes utterly desecrated this morning. We tuned in to Cash in the Attic as usual, only to find that there was no sign whatsoever of the lovely Alistair Appleton.

The producers of this programme have woefully misunderstood their audience. We do not watch this programme so that we can see senile old bats wearing clothes twenty years too young for them hunting for macramé thimbles in the cupboard under the stairs. We watch this programme so that we can watch Alistair play with his calculator and offer his inimitable brand of camp sympathy when no one wants to buy the limited edition Cliff Richard teapot, so the senile old woman has to resort to selling crack in order to transfer Grandpa's (crap) old home movies from cinefilm to VHS.

When Alistair presented this show, it was ace. Without Alistair, it's just another crap daytime show about antiques. And if we were really desperate to see antiques in the morning, we'd marry Michael Douglas*.

So, the big question begs to be answered: where is Alistair? What has happened to him? Did he run off into the sunset with Jonty, as we all hoped he would? We can assure you that we at Panda Pops will not rest until we get answers.**

*Yup, any excuse for a cheap joke at the expense of Catherine Zeta-Jones.
**It's not that hard, our sleep's been quite disturbed this week anyway. At least this gives us something to focus on.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Party like it's 2004

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you've all managed to keep your New Year's resolutions thus far. Here are ours:

- Not to get angry every time someone calls Cheryl Tweedy a racist
- To support and rehabilitate any fans of the Stereophonics that we may encounter
- To come up with original ideas for this site and stop ripping off everyone else
- To obtain Will Young's home phone number and harass him for a date relentlessly
- To do the same to Andrew from Phixx if Will Young's number is not available
- Not to daydream about buff hotties when we should be working
- Not to run theme weeks that won't have legs past Wednesday
- To remember to visit the blogs of others on a more regular basis
- To audition for an S Club 8 tribute band (as Hannah)
- To finally learn HTML properly

Wishing you all the best for 2004,
Steve x