Friday, April 30, 2004


After the months of hype and speculation, the moment of truth is upon us. Natasha Beddingcentre (for those of you who don't live in Ealing and have never seen the shop on the Uxbridge Road called Daniel Bedding Centre, trust me, that joke is fucking funny), sister of Daniel, is here and she's taking no prisoners. The thought of more than one Beddingcentre in the charts is frankly enough to have us waking up in the night in a cold sweat, because no matter how promising or "urban" the debut single might seem, you just know you've got another 'If You're Not The One' in the pipeline.

The problem is, we're not entirely convinced by Natasha's debut single either. We can certainly see why she's a hot commodity right now: sister of Daniel, thereby generating automatic interest? Check. A number of rumours that she might be his ex-wife rather than his sister, generating twice as much interest? Check. A single that's rocky and reasonably catchy, and credible enough not to be snubbed by the press? Check? An attractive blonde girl? Check. Granted I don't have much experience of A&R Men, but I'd be willing to bet this is the sort of package they'd mortgage their souls for.

So why is Panda Pops so cynical? Well, there are two things, really. One: the image. We've seen the video, and she can throw herself around an underpass in a shiny bomber jacket all she wants - she's not Avril Lavigne, and she's not Pink. It might be slightly easier for her to pull off this "from the streets" image if we didn't all know who her brother was - perhaps the first sign of all the positive publicity from being Daniel's sister backfiring. Two: the song itself. Call us hardened, but to us it just sounds like a cynical attempt to ensnare the female record purchaser with a by-numbers girl power song. It just sounds to us like it was written with the sole intention of making five thousand Bridget Joneses sit up and cry, "Yes! I am single! This song was written for me! Word, sister! Word!" Such cheap shots don't impress us much, to paraphrase Shania Twain.

On a final, much more superficial note, we wouldn't buy her record because we can't condone the dishonesty that led to her stealing Sarah Whatmore's face. Give it back, Natasha. Sarah needs it more than you.

Monday, April 26, 2004


We're not going to start this whole shebang up again, don't worry (although it does remind us of those heady times when we actually updated this site on a regular basis), but we just wanted to register our disgust that the opening titles to Cash in the Attic have now been updated to include Lorne Spicer. This means they now contain approximately 28% less Alistair.

Heads will roll when we find out who's responsible.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Phew. That's much better.

Friday, April 16, 2004


It's seldom easy being a pop fan with an English degree. In the first instance, it's hard to find a messageboard where people talk about pop in correctly-spelled, coherent sentences (this one being the only one we've managed to find so far), preferring to express their emotions in the manner of "omg i luv justin4eva hez so fyne lol buff". On the one hand, scholars of Woolf and Beckett might marvel at the fearless use of stream of consciousness. On the other hand, copy editors might take their own lives in sheer despair.

Excuses can be found for this. Some people will argue that correct English need only be used in an exam, and internet messageboards are meant to be full of abbreviations. Others might argue that abbreviations don't hurt anybody. Still others might suggest that this is a direct result of declining education standards across the UK. We might not agree with these, but we will at least concede to recognise the points they are making.

Less excusable are the occasions when popstars bear scant regard for the basic rules of English grammar in their band names and song titles. Chief offender of recent years was Kelly Rowland, of "their lives was stole" (aargh! aargh!) and 'Can't Nobody' (aargh! aargh! aargh!) fame. We decided to forgive La Rowland, however, in a drunken state of unexpected goodwill at our birthday party, on the grounds that the filthy look she gives to Nelly's "ho" in the dilemma video is utterly tops.

There will be no such escape for James "The Fridge Door Won't Shut" Fox. When he appeared on Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up!, the print in the press releases and in the Radio Times led us to believe that his song was entitled 'Hold On To Our Love'. We found no cause for grammar alarm in the song title; indeed, the only alarm we felt was when this boring dirge was chosen by the Great British Public to rescue us from embarrassment of Jemini-esque proportions. Our sense of alarm was raised, however, this week when we started seeing promo posters for the single (and not just because we find James Fox's face rather frightening) which stated that it was called 'Hold Onto Our Love'. This cannot be allowed. There are many grammar fascists who will not allow the word "onto" to be used in any context, believing it to be a hideous and vulgar contraction of the words "on" and "to" that is simply not necessary. We don't follow that school of thought especially, because we quite like to be hideous and vulgar when the mood takes us. That said, we feel the need to point out to Mr Fox that "onto" should not be used in the context of 'Hold On To Our Love', as "onto" is only correct when motion towards an object is implied, e.g. "the cat climbed onto the table". This is a careless schooboy error which we cannot condone - if the kids can't learn their spelling from Europop, where can they learn it? From school? Don't make me laugh.

Now that the rules of Eurovision have been relaxed to allow contestants to sing in English even when it is not their mother tongue, we really don't want to embarrass ourselves by entering a British contestant who clearly can't speak English either. Royaume Uni? Nul points.

WARNING: Comments pointing out grammatical errors in this post will not be well received.

Sunday, April 11, 2004


Thanks to the ready availability of midweek chart positions and sales figures in this day and age, it probably comes as a surprise to precisely no one that Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus entered the charts at the lowly position of number 16 with her second single, ‘The Meaning of Love’.

The other week we did attempt to express our disgust that after all the “she’ll be a positive role model” gubbins we were fed by the Cowell publicity machine to justify Michelle winning the series, she was substituted for an anodyne blonde in the romantic scenes in her new video. This notwithstanding, we can’t really bring ourselves to be hugely upset by Michelle’s apparent early demise, for the following reasons:

1. What we’ve heard of her album has been awful. Admittedly, it’s not uncommon for debut albums by reality TV show winners to be rush recorded to capitalise on their TV notoriety (cf. Hear’Say), but even Will Young managed to come up with a half-decent debut album despite it containing ‘Evergreen’, ‘Anything is Possible’ and ‘The Long and Winding Road’. And Girls Aloud’s debut album was a shining beacon of pop aceness. If they managed it, we’d like to hear Michelle’s excuse.

2. Actually, come to think of it, Rosie Ribbons managed to come up with a pretty decent debut album (albeit one that never saw a commercial release), despite coming sixth in the original Pop Idol and being signed to a cheapass label whose seminal work consisted of The Greatest Party Hits Ever! Volume 2. So we don’t want to hear Michelle’s excuse, because there isn’t one.

3. Furthermore, Beyoncé managed to hit number ten this week with the fourth? (fifth? sixth?) release from Dangerously in Love, an album that by most accounts bears only one good song, which was released last summer. So having a duff album is no excuse for not hitting the top ten.

4. Michelle, for all her weighty worthiness, has all the stage presence of the prompter’s script. Her attempts to dance on Pop Idol were as embarrassing as her attempts to sing upbeat disco numbers.

It’s not that we wouldn’t welcome some different faces in the charts (“different” according the Cowell Offensive Dictionary meaning “chubby”). It’s just that if they really want to rub their uniqueness in our faces, then some unique songs would be a really nice accompaniment. Grandma-pleasing power ballads just aren’t going to cut it, particularly when sung in an annoying nasal quiver. It’s sad that it had to come to this (certainly, if there had to be casualties from the second series of Pop Idol, we always hoped that Sam and Mark would be the first to fall), but Michelle’s single crashing and burning just demonstrates how little “untapped talent” 19TV managed to unearth this time around. There was no Will – there wasn’t even a Gareth. Only one person had a remotely unique voice – Susanne – and even her biggest fans (us) will admit that she wasn’t exactly versatile and was unlikely to have had much more of a successful career than Michelle.

Though perhaps the bitterest pill to swallow is the story of a friend of this site’s. A proud Scotsman, he could not contain his glee when the first Scottish Pop Idol was crowned. Sadly, he went travelling around Australia shortly after the contest finished, and we can’t bring ourselves to break the news to him in the four months he was away, he missed Michelle’s entire career.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004


We're going to take a short break to recharge our batteries, and we'll return after Easter.

Please do not listen to the nay-sayers who may imply that we're taking a break because we have absolutely no ideas at the moment. The fact that we can't think of anything to write is merely a coincidence.

In the meantime, why not pop over to this new blog that we found the other day? The url is, and we think it's rather excellent.