I was disappointed with Episode 1 of this year's The Apprentice. Twelve candidates (who all look like Mattel dolls of former Apprentice candidates) participated in a hazy task that we'd all seen before, a faceless woman was fired, and the winning team were treated to... hold your breath... DRINKS AND NIBBLES back in the luxury setting of their BBC digs. There weren't many laugh-out-loud vox pops, Karen Brady seems to be running on low-battery mode and blah blah blah,
The point is, The Apprentice doesn't get good until you're a few weeks in.
In the meantime, here are some lookalikes for 5 of this year's candidates:
32-year-old former bread-stacker Adam Corbally looks a bit like fictional butcher's son Ashley off Coronation Street, particularly when you study his mannerisms. The reason I know this is because my Mum used to cook dinner in time for Coronation Street and then we'd have to sit in silence whilst she watched it. I've made a conscious effort in my own adult life to overrule history, and so when watching The Apprentice and I like to fill my house with noisy gays, distant fan-ovens and far too much white wine.
Editorial Research Director (what is that? who has those?) Katie Wright looks quite a lot like the model Jodie Kidd, or is it Jemma Kidd? Or Jemima Kidd? There are two of them, one used to be a model and now writes about beauty, the other one still is a model and also probably writes about beauty, I think? I've not researched this very well. I just remember [Jodie/Jemima] Kidd's face popping up in my Grandma's Daily Mail and then watching The Apprentice last night and thinking (after a few Chenin Blancs) - "Doesn't she look like her off the Daily Mail?" The photo I chose above isn't very good either, so you'll just have to trust me or his Google Images yourself.
Hero of last night's show Duane Bryan looks a bit like Simon Webbe, member of the boyband Blue and cousin to former Sugababe Keisha Buchanan. Let's hope Duane takes a leaf out of Simon's wardrobe (literally) and appears next Wednesday smothered in Clover and sporting a decorative rope coil and numerous tattooes.
Apprentice pretty-boy Nick Holzherr who started life selling golf balls that he found in hedges or something looks quite a lot like gay porn entrepreneur, adult model, online brand, former murder suspect, power bottom and professional toy boy Brent Corrigan. You never know, perhaps if the boys win next week Nick will hoist himself up onto the breakfast bar and take a few for the team... Whilst you're waiting for that to happen though, why not read Brent Corrigan's intriguing Wikipedia page.
See the other candidates on this year's Apprentice here
As far as I can tell none of the candidates are gay on this year's Apprentice? Or am I wrong? Pray do tell.
(NB. So this might not be the right track order, I’m just following my iPod and you know what they’re like when it comes to organising music, just shove any old shit anywhere, mid-album collaboration is it? – Let’s just file it as if it’s a completely different artist shall we – yeah that makes sense.) And we’re off...
Girl Gone Wild
The first time I heard Girl Gone Wild (which should really be called Gays Gone Wild, or failing that, Boys Gone Wild, or failing that, at least pluralise it to Girls Gone Wild which is what we all called it when it leaked onto the internet thirty-two years ago) had a vision of naked boys skidding in purple roller skates in a mirrored room (a bit like the one in Sweatbox Gay Gymnasium but bigger) whilst people in cardboard Madonna masks (like the ones we used to wear at Push The Button in Vauxhall before they totally caught on and now you even see Stag parties in them) throw buckets of Vera Wang Princess (the perfume of choice for girls in boarding schools aged 13-15, or maybe 16 if they’re still fat) from the sidelines (or possibly a spectator balcony?)
Did any of that paragraph make sense? MADONNA!
Then Dylan B Jones showed me this video of a slightly porky siren in a swimsuit dancing before psychedelic backgrounds with an Aphex Twin grin which is just insuperable: YOU WANNA!
Then I danced to the song in East Bloc whilst experiencing severe liver pains from the night before and this guy with a beard pointed out that Girl Gone Wild is basically a fusion of former Madonna hits Celebration, Get Together and Sorry. And now I’m totally over it, but now the album has come out, and it’s one of the tracks on the album, and you expect me to have an opinion on it – well sorry, I don’t*.
*Unless David LaChapelle wants to direct my video idea, using Helix Studios models and turn it into an Evian water campaign, THEN I'm interested again. L! U! V!
Wait a minute, isn’t this Zombie Nation by Kernkraft 400 which I bought on CD single from Woolworth’s in Melton Mowbray in 1999 when the internet and mobile phones were still relatively new? Fast forward another twelve years and we find ourselves on Madonna’s twelfth album and it’s calling itself Gang Bang and wants some kudos in the blogosphere? Well instead I’m just going to sit here and sip my luke warm coffee and watch the March magnolias purr silently in the warm London breeze.
But I will say this – If you’re expecting a song about gang banging then think again. Disappointingly the title Gang Bang doesn’t deliver its promise of awful sexual innuendo, (unless “fish out of water” is a reference to hemorrhoids?) Turns out Gang Bang is some kind of fluid metaphor for shooting your boyfriend in the head, which in turn could be a metaphor for playing them this album. Talking of which, what happened to that cute olive skinned guy called Jesus who Madonna was banging? And has he made a sex tape with another guy yet? MADONNA!
I’m going to be car sick. Although I did just have a flashback of this tanned Spanish guy in just white socks on his parents sofa, curtains drawn, midday, family all busy down on the beach, so thanks for that Madonna. Y! O! U!
Turn Up The Radio
So we’ve all had a good giggle of late, on YouTube and via word of mouth, about how Madonna likes to recycle lyrics. Well two lyrical clichés that so many popstars cling to, and that need to be put to bed forever, are DJs and Radios. “Ask The DJ”, “Hey Mr. DJ”, “Last night a DJ saved my life”, “DJ’s got us falling in love again”... Right, DJs aren’t interactive artisans anymore. Most DJs today are just people in new t-shirts playing their iPod from a black pulpit trying for their life to look like they know anything about pop music and that they didn’t nick their playlist off their flatmate Sam and that their job is worth more than the minimum wage. Ok, so some DJs are really good, but that still doesn’t mean they talk to people on the dancefloor, and those that do are generally really god-awful shit provincial DJs in small clubs with names written in neon tubing like Shabby’s and Kawooosh and The Lid. So message to millionaire popstars who haven’t been to a discotheque since the 70s: WE DON’T TALK TO DJs.
“On the radio”, “Turn up the Radio”, “The radio’s playing my favourite song”, “I love my radio”, “All I need is a radio” ... Right, COOL KIDS DON’T LISTEN TO THE RADIO ANYMORE. Give us lyrics like “You’re at the top of my iTunes Date Added column”, or “You’re on my memory stick”, or “Spotify is playing my favourite song right now, because I chose it”, or “All I need is my Last.Fm account and a quick scan for YouTube links in my Facebook home feed to feel free”
So here we have the queen of pop telling us to turn up the radio. Well I don’t own a radio. My mum has one in her kitchen and I see her four times a year, so next time I’m there, I’ll remember, ta Madge.
(I should probably put it on the record here that I secretly adore Radio 4. Moving on...)
I quite like the backing vocalist, go her. I wonder how much she got paid? Did she even get to meet Madonna? Does Madonna know her name? Is Madonna even a person? Has this song finished yet? Did I really pay money for this album? Oh it has finished. Oh good....
“You’re like Brando, you’re like James Dean” you’re like every other gay person that Hollywood wants to represent heterosexual attraction that I can think of without using Wikipedia. Superstar sounds like something Jedward wrote on Guitar Hero before they were famous. Talking of which Jedward throw some love towards Madonna on their hilariously quick-lived album, perhaps the trio could get something cooking?
I Don’t Give A (feat. Nicki Minaj)
One of the better tracks on MDNA, I want the video for I Don’t Give A to be Madonna running along an urban night-time Sonic Level collecting rings with Nicki Minaj’s face plastered all over repeated background scenery then at the end she bumps into a giant hovering rotating Gaga head and Madonna's rings go flying everywhere and Tails wags his finger like “you’re so vexed”. Disappointingly the bridge is cancered with that new Madonna mid-tempo that makes you think of grandmas line-dancing, and by "bridge" I don’t mean in the Sonic level video, no I’m using a clever musical term that Smash Hits taught me in-between working incredibly hard on ensuring that I would definitely grow up massively gay (by using a mixture of subliminal messages, editorial references to men being hot, excessive levels of exclamation and stickers of Ben from A1) - YOU WANNA!
I’m A Sinner
It’s going to take a stronger gay than me to push through to the end of this song. I’ll wait for the revised Spanglish thumbed-up using multiple accounts YouTube comment version.
After its tiring, tiring, trying intro Love Spent is OK I guess, forgetting the imagery it gives me of women being slot machines and male ejaculation a currency.
It’s that song we all read about before actually hearing, Masterpiece, the Golden Globe-winning ballad that threw Elton John’s partner into a red carpet hissy fit when the Elton John song from his Elton John musical cartoon called Elf Head or Dwarf Land Peeky Boo or something didn’t win instead, a fact that is made all the more funny by the fact that Masterpiece is the most innocent, harmless, understated and gentle ballad in Madonna’s entire 200-track discography. This one’s definitely going on my sangria playlist. Thanks Madonna, it’s not great, but it’ll do, and everyone loves a lyrical framework that toys with fine art. (I bet Elton’s got it on his iPod secretly) L! U! V!
Ooh, weird spiritual bollocks from American Life raising its sour head alert. It's a bit Zelda, makes me think of a stills gallery on YouTube of Ohio sunsets. Skip, skippety, skip...
Gives a big nod to Impressive Instant and other moments from Music. Sounds like an improvised Sophie Ellis-Bextor song, the sort she’d just jam to herself whilst making actual jam. It’s only one minute long on my iPod – is that an error or is Madonna being edgy? Who knows, we’re all happy... MADONNA!
I Fucked Up
Ooh interesting. I want to make a sped-up video montage of lilos deflating and mix it up with shots of Lana Del Rey on holiday with her parents. If I heard this at a spoken word poetry event in Covent Garden I'd be enthralled, but instead I’m hearing it on a fucking Madonna album and so consequently frowning a little bit. Going to the fridge, back in a mo....
“And the beat goes on” – Is that a homage to Track 10 on Britney Spears’ debut album? I like the raw B-52’s Cindy Wilson esque vocal style, but then just when the song needs to do something, it decides to repeat itself instead, like so many songs on this album. A tall glass of flat Fanta. Y! O! U!
Yeah, again, who the fuck’s going to play this in their car? It’s like someone’s Sound Cloud off-cuts. BUT, my ‘grower’ light is flashing...
I award MDNA a casual 6 out of 10. In a saturated market where Jessie J, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj are all releasing identical sounding singles, Madonna had a golden opportunity to smash everyone for six, but instead she’s fighting for air play against Alexandra Burke. MDNA will become just another Madonna album on your iTunes that you scroll past enroute to Mariah, or possibly Marianne Faithfull, or possibly Marilyn Manson. Whatever floats your boat, to quote Madonna, probably.
Read Dylan B Jones’ write up of MDNA here! - YOU WANNA!
Last night was the Popjustquiz @Concrete in East London, a pub quiz held by (purveyors of amazing pop music) Pop Justice.
One of the evening's conditions was that you brought along a shit CD to giveaway, and so I set about charity shop shopping in Fitzrovia on my lunch, avoiding Oxfam of course where the rackety second-hand CD trade will set you back £3.99 for a scratched Windows 97 PC game in a Marvin & Tamara box.
So, first of all, for my Popjustquiz teammate Johnny (who doesn't really get lunchbreaks) I picked up this copy of Steam by E17 for 99p, featuring the hit Stay Another Day:
The best bit about the Steam CD is this advert for E17 merchandise:
I predict E17 towelling robes are going to be a micro-trend come June (when the the premature-ejaculator British summer is well and truly over for another eleven and a half months).
Also. Check out this band member looking like a waiter from the cafe in Limehaus Chariots:
Then I saw this CD called Tears In Heaven or something by a grinning boy called Laurence Jeffcoate, also going for 99p. I was attracted by its homemade look, the large expanse of grey wall, and the boy's painful smile:
A quick search on my phone informed me that Laurence was a runner-up in the TV talent show I'd Do Anything, and that Michael Jackson used to visit him backstage, then a few months later he retired from playing Oliver altogether. "I'd Do Anything" - "Michael Jackson" - "small rosy-cheeked boy" - "never heard of again": My instincts told me not to touch this CD.
If Laurence Jeffcoate is still alive he would only be 15 or 16 today, so let's hope that he is, and let's hope that we hear from him again one day, God bless.
Then, as if by MAGIC, whilst flicking vaguely through a geological layer of Peter Kay charity singles with a dust-smudged index finger, this appeared:
THUNDERBUGS - Friends Forever
Four women who look like they've been dragged out of the queue at LLoyd's Pharmacy, dressed in an assortment of tablecloths, pram-liners and Burberry garments that were later incinerated in the famous Burberry-look burnings of 2003. And even better, the song is called "Friends Forever". Out came the 99p, in came a new obsession.
Friends Forever reached number 5 in the UK charts in September 1999, no doubt thanks to a big pre-millenial PR push and a few Smash Hits song cards. Here it is:
And here it is on 12", for your hardcore Thunderbugs fans. Norman Cook probably owns this:
You still might be wondering who Thunderbugs actually are/were. We've all heard of Thunderbirds, and we're all fans of the Dylan B Jones favourite Thundacub. But Thunderbugs?
Turns out Thunderbugs were a 90s girl band with a twist - not only did they play all of their own instruments like The Corrs, but their lead singer had GLASSES, which is why she looks like Anastasia to a contemporary eye.
Following Friends Forever they released this not-very-good follow-up single It's About Time You Were Mine:
The song enjoyed a remix by Skeewiff, you know, that famous dance act, basically the Grum of 96.
Following the failure of It's About Time You Were Mine, the band's album Delicious was postponed and then finally only released on minidisc, which is perhaps more embarrassing than it being scrapped altogether (although rumour has it there were a few CD versions knocking about in continental Europe).
Here is a miserable low-res thumbnail of a different version of It's About Time You Were Mine, one of the few relics on the internet that prove Thunderbugs ever existed.
Following their break-up the lead singer Jane Vaughan (you know, with the glasses) went on to sing a song called "These Lips" for a Rimmel advert starring Lily Cole:
The girls were also used in an NSPCC charity campaign called Full Stop. Sadly the campaign wasn't a great one because nobody cared about anything that wasn't The Spice Girls. Here you can see three of the Thunderbug girls with the Duke of York (at least I think it's him?), presumably he's a fan:
And that's about it. So to whoever received my Thunderbugs CD at last night's Popjustquiz - I hope this blog post finds you safely and I hope that you treasure your new possesion. In return I received a Vaccines CD, which is pretty good according to Johnny. Will save it for the car come Mother's Day.
And you've done well to get this far through this blog post, so let's finish on a proper song:
Behind the scenes on Clean Bandit's UK Shanty music video...
I recently chatted to Grace Chatto from the band Clean Bandit about their latest music video starring Lily Cole. You can read the mini interview on my Gay Times blog. Above is a photo of the homemade wood burner (four radiators surrounding a fire) that was used to heat the outdoor swimming pool that Lily Cole had to swim underwater in (mid-January)
Here are some other behind the scenes photos from the video:
For more photos visit this guy Mike's blog here:http://mikemikefoto.wordpress.com/tag/lily-cole/
To see a hot photo of their violinist Milan Neil Amin-Smith and to watch the video itself see my Gay Times piece here: