Monday, 29 November 2010


Well there really is no reason to continue watching X-factor, now that Wagner has been booted out. The fun really is over folks, as last nights double eviction ended like a really bad hangover. Fame hungry Katie Waissel was the first to go as she poled the lowest votes. A good thing, as she can now be put out of her headline grabbing misery. Not to worry, Katie will no doubt go on to make a fortune, selling her grandmother's knickers on eBay. The revelation that Katie's 81 year old grandmother was £250 an-hour prostitute really was the stuff Hollywood scripts are made of. Together Katie and Wagner propped up the X-factor and maintained media interest like no other contestants in the shows history.

In the end Wagner and Mary were left standing, due to fight it out in the sing-off, a predictable result. More predictable was poor Wagner's fate. You just knew he was going, with all four judges voting him off. Simon barked, "There are people (Me) out there trying to derail this show and tonight we've put this show back in the hands of the audience". Blah! Blah! Blah! Simon seems to be under the impression that X-factor is a serious talent show, a bit like Stars In Their Eyes maybe. I personally view the X-factor as nothing more than a wonderful Saturday night karaoke show, a bit like Stars in Their Eyes. X-factor is an entertainment show and this season no one contestant entertained more than Wagner. Let's face it, Wagner is the only thing you will remember about this years show. Can you name all the previous contestants that have left before him? Go on. Because I certainly can't. X-factor snobs, pretentious columnists and precious television presenters have been screaming, "Enough! The joke is over. Wagner has to go." Yet, the joke was just getting started, the punchline about to be delivered. Wagner's departure, means NO DUET with a major world pop star at the grand final. I had visions of Wagner and Lady Gaga joining forces on "Telephone", the genius of it! This would then be followed by his X-factor win and Simon Cowell's jaw quite literally dropping off. How I wanted to walk into an HMV to be greeted by a large display unit full of Wagner CD's. Okay, so I probably wouldn't buy one, but I sure would marvel at it, thinking, "man that Wagner sure did make me laugh" . . . THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! Saturday nights on ITV just got really boring. Well at least I'm free for drinks again. I leave you with a fine Wagner performance, below. Enjoy!

Wagner - She Bangs/Love Shack (Watch Here)

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Frankfurt Christmas Market, In Birmingham!

I ventured out in the cold today as I heard the Germans are currently bringing some well needed festive cheer to Birmingham. The Frankfurt Christmas Market has become a huge favorite with both residents and visitors to the city from all over the UK and Europe and is now the largest outdoor Christmas market in the UK. The city centre has become a labyrinth, crammed with traditional stalls, pilled high with handmade toys, Christmas decorations and craft goods. A word of advice, bring lots os spending money. Everything is temptation, especially the food and drink. I just couldn't resist the German mulled wine, grilled sausages, pretzels and German beer. Not all at once of course, that would be greedy and could lead to one hell of an ingestion problem.

"FUCK IT!" was my mantra for the day, as I gorged on gingerbread, crepes, marzipan sweets and these rather yummy, flavored marshmallows dripped in chocolate. Heading up to Victoria Square, the heart of the market, I stumbled upon a traditional bandstand where musicians perform every lunchtime and evening. I was treated to christmas carols by a lovely group of carolers, sadly no Oompah Band. Anyway, I've taken some pictures for you all to see, things I liked very much while browsing the market. If you are impressed by my Blog and think you might like to visit the Frankfurt Christmas Market, you better hurry, as it is only here until December 23rd. For more information about the Frankfurt Christmas Market check out their Facebook page below.

The Frankfurt Christmas Market - Facebook

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Actress Worship: Gong Li

Gong Li is another of my favorite actresses that deserves her rightful place in the Actress Worship section of my Blog. Why? Because she has the onscreen presence of a nuclear bomb. No other Actress plays 'Bitch' as well as Gong Li does. She plays her roles with such vampish wickedness, that she has you leaping out of your seat, scratching at the screen, cursing her every treacherous move. She always ends up betraying her leading man in a bid to save herself and just as her harrowing back story comes to light, you realize, she's not that evil after all. With her soulful eyes, tears welling up, she always manages a random act of kindness just before her downfall. Watch any of Gong Li's performances and I can guarantee, you will be left in floods of tears. She is China's most famous actress and is responsible for helping attract American and European audiences to Chinese film for the first time. Her impressive list of lead roles in a variety of Academy Award-nominated films is as long as Meryl Streep's.

Gong Li first came into international prominence with her performance in the Oscar-nominated Raise The Red Lantern. From that point on a truly sensational actress had arrived. In Chen Kaige’s magnificent Farewell My Concubine (1993), Li was awarded a New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 1995 she was a tour-de-force in Shanghai Triad, playing a nightclub chanteuse and gangster's moll. She reunited with Chen Kaige in 1996 to play an isolated, spoiled heiress in the director’s Temptress Moon. In 2005 she went on to dazzle in Wong Kar Wai's magnificently flawed epic 2046. However, despite her popularity, Gong avoided Hollywood for years, due to a lack of confidence in speaking English. All that would change, as later that year she made her English language debut as the beautiful but vindictive Hatsumomo in Memoirs Of A Geisha - a dreadful film, saved only by her amazing performance. Other Hollywood roles would follow, Miami Vice in 2006 and Hannibal Rising in 2007. Interestingly, In all these films, she learned her English lines phonetically. Gong Li never really took Hollywood by storm, but I'm quite happy she didn't, as I've always preferred my foreign actresses in their native tongue. Consequently in 2006 she returned to Chinese cinema and again delighted audiences around the world in Curse Of The Golden Flower, a role in which once again, she received heaps of acclaim for. Gong Li has been rather quiet with her film roles as of late, but there is some good news - she is about to set American screens ablaze again. Early next year, she'll be starring alongside John Cusack (High Fidelity) and Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) in the epic World War 2 thriller Shanghai. Gong Li fans unite! I'll see you in the ticket cue. In the meantime I leave you with a few Gong Li highlights.

Shanghai Film Preview (Watch Here)

Curse Of The Golden Flower (Watch TRAILER Here)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The works of Pierre et Gilles

I must have been about eighteen when I first discovered the works of Pierre et Gilles. I brought one of those Taschen postcard books of their photography from an independent book shop near my high school. My love for their work was instant and still ongoing to this day. There's just so much to love about Pierre and Gilles work. Their world is an enduring one filled with glitter, myth, camp-infused references to religion, fame, sex and homoeroticism. In their pictures they pay homage to the 'cult of celebrity' creating a glamorous shrine to movie icons, pop idols, fashion legends and porn stars. Their message is quite simple - all of their subjects, in contemporary life are worshipped equally alongside saints, martyrs and Hindu gods. Their pictures mesmerize, all glowing complexions and luminescent eyes, sparkling glitter and dazzling decor, somewhere between baroque opera and gaudy disco. This French duo don't just produce highly stylized photographs, they also build their own sets and costumes. Pierre takes all the photographs and looks after retouching, while Gilles, is the painter, set and costume designer. They are lovers, trend setters, maestros of visual fantasy. They first came to notoriety working for Thierry Mugler - moving on to design record sleeves, shot fashion ads and work on numerous magazine covers. They have photographed an eclectic array of famous folk over their thirty year career - Nina Hagen, Amanda Lear, Erasure, Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Marilyn Manson, Marc Almond, Iggy Pop, Catherine Deneuve, Tilda Swinton, Naomi Campbell, Paloma Picasso, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint-Laurent and porn legend Jeff Stryker. I just had to mention THE Stryker. Add to this their venture into the world of music videos (In the early 90's they directed Marc Almond's music video for the song "A Lover Spurned" and Lamour's, "Tu es Foutu") and these two sure have done it all. I've attached a few of my favorite works by Pierre et Gilles to this Blog, their earlier stuff. I've also included a few links below to websites and videos, should you want to see more of Pierre et Gilles. I hope you fall in love with their pictures as I did all those years ago.

Pierre et Gilles - Fan Page

Lamour (Music Video by Pierre et Gilles) (Watch VIDEO Here)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sweet Caramel

If you're looking for a good DVD to watch this winter, I'd like to recommend one of my favorite films, Caramel, another in my top 100 movies of all time. This sweet little independent film from Lebanon will definitely warm you up while you sit curled up on the sofa in front of the TV with a warm cup of hot chocolate. Add some cinnamon to that hot chocolate, sit back and relax, start this film and prepare yourself for a really wonderful night in. So what's it about? Well . . . Caramel (Sukkar Banat) is a bittersweet film casting a rare gaze upon the pleasures, sorrows, longings and romantic desires of Arab women in the Middle East. Director and co-writer Nadine Labaki also stars in Caramel as Layale, the attractive young owner of a Beirut beauty shop. Layale (Labaki) is in heartbreak mode, having a self-destructive affair with a married man. Taking frequent unscheduled breaks from the shop for quickie afternoon love trysts, to the concern and dismay of her female employees. Layale has also caught the eye of a local infatuated neighborhood police officer, who's interested in a lot more than just her erratic driving. This film is a candid and heartfelt ensemble creation that at times feels like an Arabic version of Sex & The City without all the superficial thrills, pretension and endless shopping sprees. Caramel is one of the most beautifully shot films of the last decade with a flawless cast of actresses and one of the most sensual soundtracks, all playing out in that universal female sanctuary, the beauty salon. If I haven't sold you on getting a copy of this film on DVD, then have a look at the films trailer below and do let me know what you think of Caramel. I sincerely hope you find Caramel as sweet as I did.

Caramel Movie (Watch TRAILER Here)

Friday, 19 November 2010

Dreamy Actor Watch: Nicolas Duvauchelle

French actor Nicolas Duvauchelle really does deserve International stardom. Surly his good looks make him a worthy candidate for a future Hollywood hunk, one to watch. Not to mention he's a damn good actor with an impressive acting CV, having worked with some of Europe's finest auteurs and actors. Sadly Duvauchelle hasn't succumb to Hollywood's lure and remains virtually unknown outside the French speaking film industry. You might however recognize Duvauchelle when visiting France and other European cities. He has fronted huge campaign's for Hugo Boss (He's the face of the Hugo fragrance line), Lois Vuitton and Miu Miu, his handsome face is plastered all over billboards. He's also know for being in that super cool Levis commercial, running through walls. I first laid eyes on Nicolas Duvauchelle in Gérald Hustache-Mathieu's Avril (April In Love), playing the beautiful Pierre, a paint shop trainee who falls for a Nun in training. Talk about screen presence, Duvauchelle mesmerized, like a young Marlon Brando. From that moment on I have followed Duvauchelles career in French cinema, with great delight . . . and you should too.

Nicolas Duvauchelle - Hugo Boss Commercial (Watch Here)

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Up Goes My Christmas Tree

HELP ME! I'm living in a Christmas bubble, like one of those snow globes. I've been playing Christmas songs on my iPod for the last few weeks and today I pulled out ALL my Christmas ornaments and faux tree from the attic. I poured myself a glass of mulled wine and began blasting Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" from the stereo. The end result - my flat now resembles Santas grotto, fully decorated, draped in tinsel and big shiny red baubles. What's wrong with me? It's mid November, no one should be this festive now. Have I caught Christmas fever? I've attached some lovely pictures of my marvelous tree for you all to look at, my big red baubles and my partners little fairy, that he's had since a child. Can anyone recommend some good Easter decorating tips. I'd like to roll out my giant stuffed pink bunny as early as January.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Coiffeur For My Windowsill

How wonderful is this old black and white photo of a women's hair salon? I came across this image at I find this old photo striking and full of nostalgic beauty, so much so, I'm in the process of having it printed for a frame. So what do I know about this image? Well not much. What I do know is that it was taken in 1926. Interestingly, the Marcel Of Paris Salon wasn't based in Paris. It was located on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C. - soon to be located in an ornate antique silver frame on my windowsill.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Cheaters Guide To Solving Rubiks Cube

Rubiks Cube sure is making a come back, stores are stocked with the little colored cube in the gear up to Christmas. So if one pops up in your stocking this Christmas, then here are my tips to solving this frustrating little puzzle. Now I was given a Rubiks Cube way back in the 80's and no matter how much I twist and tuned that little cube I could never get the colors to match up. I just didn't have the required skills and the patience. Being the clever child that I was I figured out that you could peel off all the little colored stickers and then match them up by sticking them back on. However this would only work once or twice as the stickers would loose their ability to stick to the cube the more you removed them. My prefered solution, take the Rubik Cube apart. Using a thin blunt instrument such as a medium sized flathead screwdriver you can flick open a lid under one of the middle squares, usually under the green. You will find a screw which when removed will cause the cube to fall apart. You can then put the cube back together matching up the colors correctly, put the screw back in . . . and . . . PRESTO! Rubiks Cube complete. Much simpler than all that time consuming twisting and turning.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Solid Gold Dancers

Solid Gold was a music countdown show that ran from 1980 to 1988. Basically, North Americas answer to Top Of The Pops. The only difference, the Solid Gold dancers - a risqué dance troop of lycra loving, leg warmer obsessed bendy ladies, with the occasional dancing (male) queen. Every Saturday I'd plonk myself in front of the television set to be dazzled by these beautiful creatures. What elaborate, sexually charged routines would they come up with this week? I couldn't wait for the opening credits and that familiar theme tune. The Solid Gold dancers would charge through a haze of smoke like ninjas, flying through the air. Man did they ever shine, gold lamé and sequins were rife. So what was their purpose exactly? Well, during the weekly one-hour show a host would count down the Top 10 while pop acts performed. The Solid Gold dancers filled in the gaps of the acts not taking part, a simple premise really. Now every fan of Solid Gold had a favorite dancer. My favorite Solid Gold dancer was Darcel (above right) with her floor length beaded hair that she'd crack like a whip. Darcel was the principle dance and always looked FIERCE. I'd try and copy her dance moves often hurting myself, knocking over lamps, shacking pictures off the wall. Sadly, I never followed Darcel's footsteps, pursuing a career in dance. I do however occasionally watch clips of Solid Gold on YouTube. It's all rather nostalgic and I can't help but wonder, where are the Solid Gold dancers now? Performing on a cruise ship with Zimmer frames as props no doubt.

Solid Gold Dancers (Watch Here)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Death Of My Pumpkin Peter

Today I am morning the loss of my little pumpkin. Almost nine days after Halloween and fifteen days after I carved his little smiley face, I placed him in the bin. I called him Peter pumpkin. I have no artistic abilities, nor do I have a steady hand, especially when it comes to carving pumpkins. So I was rather pleased with my creation on Peter, I thought he turned out rather sweet. He kept us company for many days, lighting up our living room on All Hallows' Eve. But then he started to frown. Soon his frown turned into a sagging smile before his face just collapsed in on him. My partner and I fought over when I should get rid off him. We had many heated arguments as to when I should turf Peter into the compost heap, but I just couldn't. Even with his collapsed face, looking like a a gurning grandad, he still looked cute. I wanted to hold on to him as long as possible, or at least until he started to smell. Which was today. I walked into the living room to an almighty pumpkin stench. Poor Peter. He was not in a good way and I just had to bin him. I've posted a picture of Peter looking his best, right after I carved him. RIP Peter Pumpkin :-(

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Introducing Stromae

Stromae (Paul Van Haver) scored a massive number one with "Alors On Danse" across Europe earlier this year, topping the charts in Germany, France & Italy. This wonderful Hip-Hop, electro artist finally got a UK release a few months back. I've only just discovered Stromae and his thumping tunes, I came across his music on YouTube and was immediately hooked. Think David Guetta with French lyrics and you have Stromae. Born in Brussels to a Rawandan father and a Belgium Mother this rising music star is worth a look in. I guarantee you will feel the Stromae vibe. Stromae's debut album, Cheese is out now.

Stromae Website -

Stromae - Alors On Danse (Watch VIDEO Here)

Friday, 5 November 2010

It Takes A Legend To Make A Star

According to the movie poster for Burlesque, "It takes a legend to make a star". In Burlesque, that legend is Cher, the 64 year old fishnet body stocking pensioner. FINALLY! She's back on film, after a long ten year absence. I have prayed for this day every morning before I munch on my corn flakes. However, after watching the trailer for Burlesque, I'm not sure this is the right comeback for the Oscar wining actress. I read online years ago that Cher had signed up to do this film. On paper it sounded absolutely fantastic and I've been following the films progress ever since - and then . . . THE TRAILER comes out. Oh Dear! This film looks more Showgirls than Chicago - more Striptease than Cabaret. In short . . . A BIT CRAP! Christina Aguliera (Rachels Stevens wasn't available) plays Ali, a small-town girl with a big voice who escapes an uncertain future to follow her dreams to Los Angeles. After stumbling upon The Burlesque Lounge, an opulent but ailing theater that is home to an inspired musical revue. Ali lands a job as a cocktail waitress from Tess (Cher), the club’s proprietor and headliner. Ali makes her way from the bar to the stage. Her spectacular voice restores The Burlesque Lounge to its former glory and a star is born, or a box office bomb. We'll find out on November 24th when Burlesque is released. Regardless, I'll still be queuing to get a ticket. Have a look over the movie trailer below and let me know what you think of Cher & Christina's Burlesque?

Burlesque Movie (Watch TRAILER Here)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Paloma Faith & Me (The Concert)

I attended the Paloma Faith concert last night in Wolverampton at the Civic Hall and I'm still humming her songs this morning. That New York song stays on your mind like a fond memory, you just can't stop whistling it's chorus. So how was the concert? BLOODY FANTASTIC! Paloma performed songs off her debut album Do You Want the Truth Or Something Beautiful? as well as showcasing a few new songs from her as yet untitled second album. We were treated to a rather catchy and truly comedic song about cellulite, a song Paloma wrote in disillusionment with diets and gyms. I do hope this will be her next single as it is destined to become a Pop classic in the way of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive. So do watch out for it.

Poor Paloma was left breathless on some songs and unable to hit some high notes due to exhausted vocal chords. However THE SHOW MUST GO ON and Paloma certainly plowed through it with gusto and glamour. I was expecting more costume changes from the usually decadent and outrageous Hackney-born starlet - only two outfits, but then this wasn't a Gaga gig. This was Paloma Faith, her wonderfully upbeat pop songs and her down-to-earth personality. The squeaky voiced Londoner with her Barbara Windsor chuckle kept us smiling and laughing with tales between songs. She often encouraged us to join in on her fun, sing-alongs and rave hands were all a part of her charm. All in all, a great night out with Paloma. Attached are a few pictures taken by me. Enjoy!