Tuesday, May 25, 2004


We're going to be utterly hopeless at updating the site this week because we're moving house, and our Internet provider is a bit rubbish and doesn't seem to want to move with us. We're going to try not to get too behind, but this may be outside of our control. Normal service will be resumed next week, when we'll have all kinds of news we've been bursting to tell you over the weekend.

In the meantime, here is a lovely picture from last night's Coronation Street:

Thursday, May 20, 2004


The Aloud. Are Back.

Monday, May 17, 2004


Katie Fucking Melua is looking very likely to topple Jamie Fucking Cullum as our Most Hated Utterly Talentless Faux-Jazz Musician On The Planet. Seriously, we can't get away from the woman. I don't know why on earth the new bbc.co.uk ad campaign feels the need to promote its "hear new music here" aspects with Katie Fucking Melua singing 'The Closest Thing To Crazy', since we can hear that godforsaken song in every ad break on commercial television from here to Bratislava, accompanied by The Strap Of Inaccurate Marketing English reminding us how unique her album is. And, more to the point, why is she referred to as a "singer-songwriter"? Her album is full of covers. How people can have the gall to criticise Girls Aloud for not writing their own material and call Katie Fucking Melua a singer-songwriter in the same breath I will never know.

We've decided enough is enough. We want Melua silenced, and we want it now. Ideally we want her smug face and her patented Utterly False Look Of Sincerity removed as well, but that can always be phase two. So here are our top five ideas on silencing Katie Fucking Melua.

1. Taking advice from Lucia Dalury from The Opposite of Sex, stuff that wretched guitar straight up her ass. She'll probably yelp at first, but if we lodge it in there firmly, she should be robbed of speech until she can get it out again.
2. Arrange an interview with her and repeatedly use the words "mutate" and "defiance". Well, it worked on Avril Lavigne.
3. Put her vocal chords up for sale on ebay. As we all know, once an item is agreed for sale on ebay, we would have a duty to provide it, hence we would be legally permitted to remove her vocal chords, by force if necessary.
4. Follow her around with a boombox and drown her out with 'No Good Advice' every time she tries to sing. It might not technically silence her, but at least it will replace her hideous caterwauling with proper music.
5. Hack into that giant international computer that holds everyone's personal information, and change her career to 'Mime Artist'. You know, like Jeremy Northam did to Sandra Bullock in The Net.

If anyone else has any ideas to contribute to the Silence Katie Fucking Melua Foundation, please leave them in the comment box. All suggestions gratefully received.

Saturday, May 15, 2004


Sorry, we were going to write a proper intro afterwards, but we're exhausted after all that, so let's just go straight to the log.

20:01 Aarg! BBCi just went all blank. That’s what I get for trying to be fancy and interactive.
20:02 What the fuck happened to Sertab’s hair?
20:04 Ooh. New material from Sertab. How exciting.
20:04:30 I’m guessing that’ll be the best-pitched high note we’ll hear all evening.
20:05 How nice of the Pope to lend Sertab his cardinals.
20:06 I’m thinking how much fun it would have been to start with Jemini reprising “Cry Baby”.
20:07 The female presenter appears to be auditioning for a Tom Stoppard play at the National. Terry just told us she made the dress herself. I am not surprised.
20:09 Why are they singing ‘Volare’ again? They did that on Wednesday.
20:10 BBCi gives the lyrics in both languages. How exciting!
20:13 Well, Ramon can have points for a camp dance routine and for being called Ramon, but that’s pretty much it.
20:14 Austria sent some gays. Hurrah!
20:15 First noticeably flat note of the evening from the Austrian boyband.
20:17 Even Hyrise were better than this.
20:19 Norway: I sense a colossal key change coming very soon.
20:20 And there we go.
20:21 Steve Balsamo wrote France’s entry. Sense Of Impending Doom.
20:22 Jonata, the French entrant, is damned hot. Is he hotter than Sakis from Greece? Not sure.
20:23 He could have me on his wobby bicycle with a basket full of onions and baguettes.
20:24 I think Krazy Blazin’ Squad wants his hair back now.
20:25 Serbia-Montenegro’s entry is called “Oh My Fawn”. Titter.
20:27 Except the Eurovision website calls it “My Sweetheart”. Who is doing these translations? I think it was Mr Wogan.
20:30 Finally! Some Europop from Malta. And a shiny pink dress. This is more like it.
20:32 There’s a lot of operatic interludes this year. And worryingly, I’m liking them.
20:34 The Netherlands: to my mind, the main rivals against James Fox in the “old granddads with guitars” category.
20:35 More flat singing. If James Fox stays in tune, he may have the advantage.
20:36 And to complete the dadrockness, “THANK YOU!!!!!!” at the end.
20:37 Did Eurovision really take place in Harrogate in 1982? Us Brits are so classy.
20:38 More dadrock from Germany. No chance of a UK win, none at all. No one will remember us. The only thing we have in our favour is going relatively late in the competition.
20:40 “First time buyer” – Terry’s getting into his stride.
20:41 Albanian lady is practically inaudible, but there’s a pleasing Sugababes-ness about the song. ‘Hole in the Head’ Sugababes, obviously, not ‘Overload’ Sugababes.
20:43 “I’m Queen of the World of Make Believe” – my favourite lyric so far.
20:43:30 Seriously, what is with all the false operatics?
20:45 Xena: Ukrainian Princess. I’m in love.
20:46 I didn’t know Catherine Zeta Jones was representing the Ukraine this year…
20:47 It does sound an awful lot like ‘Kiss Kiss’. Can that trick work two years in a row?
20:47:30 ”Go wild in the country…Cavegirl!”
20:47:45 And now the whips. She’s taking no prisoners.
20:49 Croatia: it’s a lighters aloft moment…
20:50 Despite myself, I’m enjoying this chorus very much. It seems very Les Misérables, and yet that’s a good thing.
20:52 Deen! The gayest thing ever to go to Europe, including me when I was 13.
20:52:15 He’s got a pink vest on! Gay pride!
20:55 To be researched later: is Deen the evil twin of Jon ex-S Club?
20:56 Aw! Look at Europe, all united. Shame we’ll be disparate as ever soon as the voting starts.
20:58 Very few people can pull off yellow. The female presenter is not one of them.
20:59 I never thought I’d type these words, but Belgium! This is more like it!
21:00 This could go down a storm in the clubs with the right remixes, actually…
21:03 Avril Lavigne is representing Russia. That’s nice of her.
21:04 She’s no Kissing Lady. She’s not even Alsou.
21:05 Extra points for backflips.
21:05:30 She sounds like Björk, if Björk were passionless.
21:08 Macedonia: Life is a book. A boring one, apparently.
21:09 Oh, please. Ribbons are SO last year. Or next year, if we’re talking Rosie.
21:10 Greece! Sakis is hot. Even though he’s clearly in love with himself.
21:12 Bucks Fizz just called. They want their gimmick back.
21:13 Clumsy backflip. I give it 6.0.
21:15 And Jake Humphrey here, representing Iceland. White suits are the world’s biggest fashion no-no. Gareth Gates clearly didn’t pass on the memo.
21:17 Jonsi is the second silliest name in the world, after Jonty.
21:18 Ireland: I need them to either win or get nul points if I am to win money. Bryan McFadden wrote this apparently.
21:19 Hmm. It’s not exactly ‘Girls Allowed’, is it?
21:21 Is that D-Side on backing vocals?
21:22 And Suranne Jones enters for Poland.
21:23 The dancing trombones help a little, but the song’s still shit.
21:25 UK next. Normally this would be a point to get excited, but it’s James Fox, so: meh.
21:26 Nice to see that James Fox’s Bryan Adams complex has come full circle.
21:26:45 So that’s what happened to Ron Dixon’s wig when Brookside finished.
21:28 At least his fridge door seems to be closing properly tonight. Goodo.
21:29 Lisa Andreas for Cyprus. She’s a Kent girl. Go homegirl!
21:30 Was Lisa Andreas ever in Clea? She looks like it.
21:31 Yes. She was Lynsey. Thank you Josh.
21:32 Goosebumps. Goosebumps all over.
21:34 And Turkey ruins the mood rather brilliantly.
21:36 This is awful. And not even awful in an amusing way.
21:36:45 The only redeeming factor was the backing track. Someone should give it to No Doubt to recycle and make it into something good.
21:38 Romania: well, at least we know what Spagna’s doing these days.
21:39 Soft porn there. That’s always nice.
21:41 Sweden, the final entrant. A song about bumming, we’ve been unreliably informed.
21:41:30 Well, the first ten seconds of this song were better than most of the other songs in this contest put together.
21:42 This is the disco version of ‘On A Rope’ by Rocket From The Crypt.
21:43 Judging by what she’s doing with that mic stand, it really is about bumming.
21:44 Fucking fabulous, that was.
21:50 Interval act! Will it reach the heights of Riverdance and Aqua?
21:52 Yes. Oh yes.
21:53 If Cyprus win, can we claim victory in a Greg Rusedski sort of way?
21:56 This interval act is starting to outstay its welcome.
22:01 Finally! Results now, please.
22:03 “What beautiful trophy?” indeed. Word, Terry.
22:04 Alphabetical order – how novel. That means we’ll be last to give our results, of course.
22:06 That scoreboard is fucking tiny. I’ll have tunnel vision by the end of the evening.
22:09 Seriously. It’s minute.
22:10 Disappointing showing for both Sweden and Cyprus so far. Hmmm.
22:14 James Fox: now officially less shit than Jemini, as voted by Europe.
22:16 Terry has a headache, I have a headache, we all have a headache.
22:20 Turkey: why?
22:23 Ireland have no points. I may well make some money out of this…
22:24 Terry: James Fox does not deserve four points, let alone more than that.
22:24:30 A slightly better showing for Turkey and Ukraine. Hurrah!
22:27 The countries I voted for are currently 3rd, 4th and 5th.
22:27:30 Not any more.
22:29 Lorraine in Old Compton Street! Yay!
22:30 Alphabetical voting my arse.
22:31 Hooray! The UK finally learned how to vote tactically. Ten point for Cyprus, so we can claim a partial victory. And 12 for Greece, because we’re all shallow gays over here, obviously.
22:34 Sertab in the green room! Not a natural presenter, bless her, but at least it’s not Jemini, so let’s all be thankful.
22:36 Johnny Logan really isn’t ageing well, is he?
22:36:30 Oh, shit! Someone gave Ireland points when I wasn’t looking. There goes my sweepstake.
22:38 Just Norway with nul points, then. Jahn Teigen must be relieved.
22:40 Ukraine take the lead! Now things are getting interesting.
22:43 The guy giving the points for Latvia is hot. He’s very odd, bringing football into the equation, but he’s hot, nonetheless.
22:44 They’re going to Monica now – Monica Cheeky? Monica Geller? Monica and Brandy?
22:44:10 Oh, Monaco. Sorry.
22:46 Is that Sonia giving the FYR Macedonia votes?
22:50 These votes really are taking a very long time. Although it’s only just occurred to me that Turkey is the host country, which might at least suggest why they have so many votes for such an odd song. Thanks for that, Terry.
22:55 Andrea from the Romanian jury looks lovely.
22:57 The Russian lady is very self-important. She looks like Geri Halliwell in ten years times.
23:05 That was such an anticlimax. Since Ukraine were the last to give their votes, you’d think someone would have realised they’d already one and made a bit more of a song and dance (ha!) about it.
23:07So: our political situation is no better than last year. So can we conclude that last year we got nil points because we were shit, and not because of Iraq?
23:13 So that’s it for another year. Hurrah for the Ukraine. Rosie Ribbons for Europe 2005!
23:13:30 PS. Voting British Public: take note, that generic dad songs don’t “do well in Eurovision” any more. ‘Kiss Kiss’ soundalikes are needed these days.
23:16 BBCi takes you straight to the coverage on BBC Three. How nice. Paddy is lovely. I shall leave it here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


"Good evening Northfields. May we have the results of the West Ealing jury?"
"Why, yes. Hello Istanbul! Thank you for a wonderful show. We will be awarding douze points to Ireland. He may not be much to look at, and we gather the song's not up to much, but that's who we drew in the office sweepstake."

And so the fun begins. Download your very own Eurovision scorecard here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Eeee! It's almost time for Eurovision again - that time when gays and kitsch aficionados alike join together to listen to 36 countries battle against each other in a talent contest with incomprehensible rules and no such thing as a foolproof strategy. We learned last year that nothing brings out the fun of Eurovision like trying to explain it to an American Eurovision Song Contest virgin and watching them sit there looking progressively more baffled as the night goes on. The United Kingdom (or Royaume Uni, as we should get used to calling it) has a lot to prove after last year's fiasco, though still no one appears to know whether our humiliating defeat was due to an Iraq conflict-related backlash, malfunctioning ear monitors, or Jemma Abbey's utter inability to pitch a note if her career depended on it. Which, erm, it did.

So this year, in an attempt to regain some national pride, the BBC completely rebranded their Song for Europe process to become Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up!, which, following a primetime television show and a nationwide search to find the cream of the nation's as-yet-untapped talent, left us with Fame Academy also-ran James Fox as our entrant. For shame, Great British Public. It is one thing to send an act like Jemini who, despite their obvious shortcomings, had an air of knowing naffness that sometimes works in our favour at Eurovision, and were as camp as Jack McFarland sleeping in a field. It is quite another to send a James Fox, a rapidly balding bland metrosexual whose preferred stage stance leads us to think he can't keep his fridge door closed and whose song is so anodyne and dull that it could be bottled and sold as an anaesthetic.

We're convinced that James Fox's presence at Eurovision is one of those administrative errors the BBC is renowned for, like the one that almost deprived Ricky Gervais of a BAFTA. When the Head of Eurovision said "let's get that Welsh bint who made it midway through a televised talent contest", he or she did not have James Fox in mind. Oh no:

That request was for Rosie Ribbons, and we at Panda Pops wholeheartedly approve. We believe that Rosie could be the one to restore our national glory. Let's look at the evidence: she's used to performing live in front of large audiences. She's not averse to wearing skimpy skirts. She enjoys choreographing inappropriate dance routines. Her renditions of Abba classics are always memorable - and what's more Eurovision than Abba? Rosie's tragically never-released album Misbehaving was full of pop classics that would have been a thousand times better than all six of the final songs from Making Your Mind Up! - James Fox may have got through on the grounds of his song being "more typically Eurovision", but this is a strategy likely to be followed by several countries, and there is very little about Mr Fox that will distinguish him from all the other grandfathers with acoustic guitars and an invisible recalcitrant fridge behind them. In contrast, no one would forget Rosie performing 'No Space To Rent' with its unusual Egyptian-tomb music samples in a glittery skimpy frock, or 'Deadly Sin Number 8' with its mock-industrial sound that would fit in perfectly with every Eurovision set design since 1992, complete with Rosie and a couple of barely-attired buff hotties.

We've missed the deadline to get Rosie entered for this year, obviously, but the "Rosie For Europe 2005" campaign starts here. Anyone wishing to volunteer for badge-making duties, sign your name below.

Sunday, May 09, 2004


Here at Panda Pops, our interest in football usually begins and ends with staring at men in shorts with nice thighs. We have no particular interest in charting the progress of any one team through a league, whether it be the Premiership or the Nationwide Conference. We don't even have much of an interest in football songs, official or otherwise - Ant and Dec's nothing-short-of-genius 'We're On The Ball' notwithstanding.

Having said all this, we thought it worth mentioning that England's official Euro 2004 anthem will be a remixed version of 'Alltogethernow' by old-skool indie "kids" The Farm. Remixed by DJ Spoony, no less. We have to admit to being a little stumped by this choice, largely because everyone seems to have conveniently wiped from their memories the fact that it was the official FA Cup Final anthem of Everton FC in 1995. We'd have thought that a song with no team-specific bias in its history would have been a better choice.

Perhaps this points to the fact that there is a shortage of mediocre indie suitable for reversioning for football crowds. So we at Panda Pops would like to venture this 89th-minute penalty of a suggestion - why not use a kickass pop song? After all, pop songs are designed to be chanted tunelessly at the top of your voice, as a quick listen to Atomic Kitten's Greatest Hits CD will show you. It's too late to influence the choice of the Euro 2004 anthem, but we've come up with the following suggestions for the World Cup in 2006.

I Don't Need No Good Advice (I've Already Chosen The Squad) - Girls Aloud
Closer To Relegation - A*Teens
Off To Germany (And Coming Right Back) - Eamon
Anyone of Us (Humiliating Defeat) - Gareth Gates
Not Our Game - Will Young
F*** Me Football Boots - Amy Winehouse
Blink (And You'll Miss It) - Rosie Ribbons
Me Against The German Squad - Britney Spears

These are just the tip of the iceberg (or the bottom of the barrel, we did think of them all rather quickly). The tendering process is open for the next two weeks. This might be just the boost Gareth Gates was looking for, or the short-cut to the pop premiership Rosie Ribbons has been dreaming about.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


We had hoped we'd be able to ignore Eamon's 'F*** It (I Don't Want You Back)' as a novelty song of scant importance, the same way we were able to dismiss the 'Fast Food Song' and 'Bring Me To Life' last year. Three weeks at number one later, and in the almost words of Dannii Minogue, we're beginning to wonder. The boy clearly has tenure at the top of the charts, and we suspect that the only way to remove him from the top spot is to help him deal with his inner turmoil so that he no longer has to project his fears into the medium of song. With this in mind, we've hired one of the internet's top pop psychologists to put Eamon under the microscope.

"Hello, I'm Martha-Marie Hoffenhauser, DPP. Just to give you a bit of background before we begin, my past successes in pop psychology have included Cheryl Tweedy's anger management, Clea's coping with rejection, and Matt from Busted's fear of commitment. I was directed to the case of Eamon by Panda Pops, as they fear for both his wellbeing and that of the state at large. It is a challenging case, but I have never been afraid to tackle a complicated psyche and I don't intend to start now.

"I sense that Eamon is in a lot of pain. There can be no other plausible explanation for the tuneless wailing on this record. It is a primal scream, a roar of anguish. All the swearing denotes a passive-aggressive denial of the situation - Eamon cannot cope with having been ditched by his girlfriend, and therefore he intends to place all the blame squarely on her shoulders. It's a textbook case: phase one - denial, phase two - anger. We get phases one and two in this record, but we do not progress to phase three - acknowledgement.

"Ah, the chorus. After close examination, herein lies the crux of the problem. It is a closely-packed ball of hatred and rebuttal, with the firm statement 'I don't want you back' against an implied softening on the girlfriend's part. This is what is commonly known amongst psychologists as 'the lady doth protest too much'. Clearly Eamon does want her back. If he was really as over the whole issue as he claims he is, there would be no need for this song."

Thanks Martha! There we have it, readers. He does want her back after all. So now we've solved his deep-seated psychological trauma, he can delete the record and spare us any more of this tuneless warbling. And, just so he doesn't have to deal with the tricky issue of royalties earned from such a morally dubious project, we'll stick Martha's bill in the post so he can use the royalties to pay for it. We're all heart that way.