Saturday, December 16, 2006

Jordan can't sing

Just in case you haven't seen this doing the rounds, you've got to click and experience it now! Peter Andre and Jordan singing their hit A Whole New World ... but not exactly in tune.

I think the story goes that Jordan can't really sing so they use an autotune device to make her sound good in the studio. But some naughty recording person recorded the two of them doing their duet before her voice was synthesized to sound good.

It's hilarious. And Jordan is extremely mad that it got onto YouTube ... claims it has been faked to make her look stupid. "Ahh but she's a good bizniss woman innit, gotta respeck her for that ain't ya?"

Friday, December 15, 2006


I've just got back from Austria as my below enthusiastic post about brass indicates. Rather fantastic. went to Vienna where it is cold and germanic and whirly.

I so completely badly want to learn to speak German! I bought some CDs by Michel Thomas (who I believe is dead now?) 5 years ago and really intended to go through all 8 disks and learn. I got up to disk 4 once butfor some reason didn't continue. Leave it a few months, come back to it, and you realise you have to start again. These quickie learning devices aren't nearly as good as continual practice of a language at school or living abroad.

So I'm on CD #1 again. I'm learning things like !"come with me, please" and "can I come with you this evening". I've forgotten what else because, to be honest, the last time I heard disk 1 was a week ago and it's all slipping from my mind.

TIP: never try to learn a language in bed at night. It's not quite the same as just flicking on LBC and falling asleep to it. It seems your brain needs to stay alert.

My girlfriend's family is half german. I'm sure there will come a time when it'll become useful. her grandmother was over in the UK last year and there were a few awkward silences when the rest of the family were out of the room leaving me and her. Ormy? Ormie? Not being able to see, I couldnt even just sit there and smile ... visual language is out the window too. So, apart from my personal wish to learn, it also has it's practical purposes. I'll be able to communicate with the in-laws ...

In Vienna we went to the Freud museum, the mozart museumhouse thing ... did a disappointing bus tour ... went to a restaurant that had an old man playing a Hungarian Gypsy instrument (we gave him a 10 euro tip and he played 'if I were a rich man' for us). We went to the Christmas market in front of the town hall ... shopped ... and lots of other stuff.

it was nice that Vienna was cold. London just isn't cold enough in winter any more.

And then all this stuff about the murderer in Ipswich broke! Kristina's little sister lives there; she's just moved there with her boyfriend. nasty to think of someone living in the thick of it ... she's sensible though.

talking about serial killers, though, I live very close to where that nice Denis Neilsen (SP?) bumped off and boiled his victims in the early 80s - known at the time as the Cricklewood Murders. Rather irrelevant now as he's out of harm's way. I don't remember whether he's in a secure hospital or a prison but I do remember him being interviewed on an ITV documentary in the mid 90s ... and it was chilling. He was goading the interviewer, "no it wasn't bloody. Have you never come across a dead body before?" as if he had the upperhand and was better because of it. Horrible. I can't put it into words but it was rather chilling.

So, there ya go, Vienna through to chilling murderers. I wish I hadn't tied the two subjects together like that. My holiday was great ... shame that I never seem to really relax until a day before it's time to go home. Sounds like a cliche but true in my case it seems.

• It's the Ouch Christmas Podcast party on Monday. Wahey yip yo. Really looking forward to it.

• Thanks to katie fraser for her marvellous Xmas gift to the Ouch team. We scoffed most of them today. mmmm shortbread with orangey chocolatey bits.

Where's my cab it's ten past seven for crissakes.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Wow! Got to recommend this band to you. I heard them on Gilles Peterson Worldwide show on FM4 in Vienna while I was there this week. Specifically he played a track called Jupiter, I think. Wow.

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are exactly what they say ... brass with a kind of hip hop beat. Talk about amazing! No synthesizers or electronic sounds but totally fresh and vibrant; classic and modern. An amazing fusion from the soul!

Check out Hypnotic Brass Ensemble on YouTube.

I've got to find their album somehow! My initial Googling tells me they're from Chicago. I need that music now ... I'm off to buy it no matter how.

Have downloaded one of Gilles Peterson's Podcasts too ... first time I've really taken a lot of notice of the DJ - who also has a show on Radio One - he certainly has an ear for quality ... an interesting kind of classicness.

[update] Here's a link to the track I like Jupiter. You need to hear it in its entirity really because, at length, it is hypnotic. This clip is from somewhere near the end when some vocals kick in though I prefer just the brassy music. Interested to hear what others think.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

No Christmas yet

Can't think about Christmas or anything like that til we get our Xmas podcast out of the way and until I'm in Austria. Hurrah my holiday starts in Austria in just a few short days ... but so much to fit in before then. Will it all get done? I hope so.

I daren't go into the amount of effort, phonebashing and unforseen issues around making this podcast happen. It's put us back several days. Suffice to say, I'll be looking forward to meeting the 15-20 or so fire risks that we've invited along to the 'cast Thursday. Can't you just all learn to walk or something? How hard is it? Mik Scarlet is giving it his best shot after all on TV this Thursday at 7pm isn't he? What a role model!

Special guests at the podcast will be Mr Bennet the caretaker from Take Hart, Vicky Liquorice from Saturday Superstore and the man who wrote the Nationwide theme tune ... the early 80s one not the one everyone knows.

Great stuff!

Could blogger/google kill my blog?

So, every time I logon to this blog I keep seeing a message from Google saying "want to update to our new version blog?"

My anxiety is that if i upgrade it'll become inaccessible to screenreaders meaning I'll never be able to post again! Other Google products aren't very accessible so I don't hold out too much hope. I'm aware I can delay the switch for a while but not forever because the entire system is going to swap over.

When I'm eventually forced to switch, this blog may die forever. But maybe it won't? If you are a screenreader user and have made the switch, can you tell me how you got on?

If I go very quiet ... you know why ...