5 December 2008

Today's Favourite Music

My return to radio whoring commences tomorrow with breakfast show cover here, so it's a rather early start as I head up to Thornaby for 6am.

In a nice twist of fate, I'll undoubtedly talk up on air Middlesbrough's chances in their Premier League fixture later the same day, prior to leaving at 10am and heading back home to watch Hull City play .... Middlesbrough.

The freelance life. Can't whack it.

4 December 2008

"You're playing for something far more valuable..."

Now that I'm no longer driving to a studio of an evening, I've begun to watch Eggheads again. A thrill a minute, my life. Anyway, this week they've introduced the new 'sixth Egghead' to the programme, the winner of that Are You An Egghead? series which Dermot Murnaghan has been hosting lately.

Why have they done this? It's not as if they've had to replace anyone directly. So far this week, Barry has replaced CJ, Daphne and Chris, while not appearing at all in the other episode. He seems unable to look at a camera properly, rolling his eyes while keeping the rest of his smiling expression fixed, in the way David Blunkett does. Blunkett has a better reason for it, mind...

Ultimately, Eggheads will always be the same programme, irrespective of the strength of the challengers or the person Barry has replaced. Judith will be useless and an embarrassment on anything that doesn't involve polo, Emily Bronte or silicosis; Daphne will express gestured shock when someone on her team guesses incorrectly but then struggle on one of her own questions; Chris will get a question about the Sugababes and decide to claim he couldn't care less rather than take a wild guess; and Kevin will know absolutely everything that has ever happened since the universe began.

Only when Barry replaces Kevin - which hasn't happened yet - will the opposition have a chance to win in a manner which isn't freakish.

3 December 2008

"This holy tide of Christmas, all other doth deface..."

Wandered around the city centre in Hull yesterday, doing a spot of Christmas shopping. Everywhere you go now you can hear carols, apart from in Princes Quay shopping centre itself (opened by Gary Davies) which was playing Secret Smile by Semisonic.

Hull is renowned for its long-serving buskers. A blind chap has diligently sat down next to M&S on Whitefriargate almost every shopping day for at least 30 years, playing his accordion. At this time of year he has a Santa hat on his head and some tinsel wrapped around his white stick. There's always a bloke playing - oh dear, don't actually know the name of this instrument - one of those harp-like stringed things except you place it on your knee and strum across it, rather than pluck it vertically. He was on Jameson Street yesterday, just outside Greggs.

Then there was a bagpipe player in Queen Victoria Square. Now, I'm not sure whether he was raising a few quid for himself or doing some charity thing, but he stood, in full regalia, playing carols on his bagpipes. As I wandered by, he was playing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen so I put a couple of coins in his container - not because it's necessarily my favourite carol, but because it always makes me think of this (about 28 seconds in)...

... and this (first scene):

2 December 2008

Cold calling

It's December, it's freezing and the nights are drawing in, and yet an ice cream van is still merrily driving down our street at gone 6pm every single evening, playing a screechy version of Heads & Shoulders, Knees & Toes as it saunters by.

Nobody down our road is buying the man's wares. I feel a bit sorry for him, but he must know that his work is entirely seasonal, and even kids with sweet tooths and an uncanny capacity to nag their parents into buying them something would prefer a large portion of Wellington fudge and custard to a Cornetto or a 99.

1 December 2008


December 1st, so yes, very well, I no longer object to the Christmas lights in people's windows and the fake trees on doorsteps.

Maybe I'm jealous because chez Rudd is bare to the core due to the building work and we have to do decorating before decorations. The most we ever manage decoration-wise usually is putting the cards on the windowsill and mantelpiece - a tree of any type, size or description is never the wisest idea when five playful, destructive cats have free run of the house. After one festive season we were still finding needles in the litter tray in February.

I played Macy Gray's I Try on the radio at the weekend and mentioned that she seems now to only re-emerge, as a voice at least, at this time of year when that version of Winter Wonderland she did ends up on some advert or other. Still, at least the song is about Christmas - there will be the usual clamour for Stay Another Day, Keeping The Dream Alive and The Power Of Love this year, despite the fact that none of them are Christmas songs, nor were intended to be. East 17's record wasn't helped by the bells on it - what a crazy production decision that was - and Frankie Goes To Hollywood's video was a nativity scene, which given the nature of their previous two videos, I suppose they were just making sure it got on telly this time.

As for Freiheit, well, theirs just wasn't about Christmas, so there...