Tag Archives: X-Factor

Monday Music

29 Nov

We’re starting with The Kane Gang.  I always loved this song but I haven’t heard it in fourteen years; a Facebook friend posted it yesterday.  Only trouble is, those mean people at Sony say I can’t share the video with you, so here’s the audio version:

Everyone on Facebook says it reminds them of the British summer of 1984 but it reminds me of video tapes and that I was in South Africa.  Another reason to resent my parents.  Oops, sorry: I’m on the wrong blog.


Another week, another episode of the X Factor.  I was sorry to see Katie Waissel go, her pornographic grandmother notwithstanding.  I thought this was her best performance:

I loved Rebecca Ferguson this week; I think she’s fabulous but it was all becoming a bit samey so it was good to see her liven up a bit:

But the performance of the night for me came from Matt Cardle:

The First Time Ever I Saw This Is A Mad Factor

11 Oct

Red is the new Black.  Half of the text refuses to change from grey to black and I must have uniformity for my sanity, so it’s all red from now on, like the mist before my eyes.  WordPress grey is like a Stockport summer sky and I just can’t do wishy-washy; it’s not in my nature.

Phase Three of the X Factor started on Saturday, with the live shows.  I was disappointed in Matt’s performance; it wasn’t terrible but he’ll have to get better if he’s going to win.  I preferred his boot camp audition.  He starts singing at 1:40.

Mary was fantastic but I don’t think she’ll win. 

Aiden Grimshaw was the stand-out performer of the night.  I hadn’t rated him but the Hub, in his infinite annoyingness, spotted him from his first audition.  Although I’ve loved the song in all its incarnations, I never really understood just how mad a world it is until I watched his interpretation.

Perhaps the song needed a teenager to bring out the real meaning: it seemed to me that on Saturday Aiden was channelling Monday-morning Spud.  Today’s Drama of the Week was initiated by odd socks.  If my boys are anything to go by, grunge fashion extends as far as the feet; my sons never wear matching socks if they can avoid it.

 I’ve another pair at home just like it.

Spud has to wear black socks for school on pain of being expelled, but I compromise by buying multiple pairs of the same pattern so he has matching socks but they are not necessarily from the same pair.  Aren’t I clever?

This morning, he had a hissy fit because he had no school socks – and he had brought down his washing basket at eleven o’clock last night.  I can only assume I should have set my alarm early and got up at five to wash them.  I don’t have a tumble dryer but that’s not a problem because the morning screaming I do would provide enough hot air to send him off to school with the toastiest toes in Stockport.


Perhaps my child’s descent into typical teenagerdom inspired this bleak senryu, which came from the latest Writer’s Island prompt, ‘envision’.  It was five stanzas long at first, but you need to know the Book of Revelation to appreciate it, and it was so grim I couldn’t bring myself to post the rest.


Envision a world
where fowl gorge on the flesh of
kings, and hope is dead.


Save A Life: Spit In A Cup

31 Jul

I am on the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register.  They organise bone marrow transplants for people with leukemia and they have a new campaign, asking each potential donor (me) to recruit four new potential donors (you) over the next four months (then).  It’s called 4×4 – possibly the only time a 4×4 is believed to have saved the planet instead of killing it.

It couldn’t be easier to register: no blood samples, no visits to the doctor; just spit in one of these 

   and send it off.

There are over 400, 000 donors on the register but that’s not enough as only half of the patients waiting for a transplant are a match.  The campaign is trying to up the number of donors to a million.  The criteria for joining the register are as follows:

  • be 18 – 40
  • and reasonably healthy

It’s simple to join:

  • complete an online application form in 15 minutes
  • give a saliva sample – don’t worry, you don’t spit in an envelope; they’ll send you a small kit

The register is desperately in need of men (aren’t we all?) and people from ethnic minorities in particular, so come on, stop being a wuss and spit in a cup for your Auntie Tilly and a whole bunch of dying people who will be eternally grateful to you.

By the way, don’t think you can get out of it if you are not resident in the UK: many countries have their own register.  I hope at the very least you are blood donors and, hopefully, registered organ donors.

And if I still haven’t convinced you, think of the poor little boy who died and gave his name to the register; his mother worked tirelessly to set it up and the least we can do is spit in a cup for them. 


And in other news

Biggest non-story of the year: The Sun announces that Joe McElderry is gay.  Tell us something we don’t know.   Better yet, tell us something we want to know, like when his album is coming out.

Don’t Read This If You Recorded The Last Episode Of ‘Over the Rainbow’ And You Haven’t Watched It Yet

24 May

This weekend was all about the tv: first we had the last-ever episode of Ashes to Ashes, a show which never lived up to its predecessor, the joint-first-best programme ever made (as decided by me in my poll of me): Life on Mars (its co-winner being The West Wing) – and I mean the original Brit version, not the Harvey Keitel abomination.  All the more surprising, then, that it was one of the most satisfying conclusions to any tv series I have ever watched.  

Over the Rainbow ended with an okay winner who was the only one of the eleven finalists to hit a bum note when singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow at the end of a show – watch her face when she realises her last note is flat:

I liked Danielle but I’m still sulking because Steph wasn’t in the final.

Britain’s Got Talent threw up this gem:

Thinking about reality tv and the transience of fame – and seeing Stacey Solomon hiding in a corner of Michael Bublé’s Audience With – reminded me of this poem I wrote last year:

Stars In Their Eyes 

After the door shuts,
the footsteps die:
no wife to swap;
no champagne pop;
adulation stops:
you’re a flop. 
Paparazzi don’t pap;
you fall through the gaps in the schedule. 
X-Factor marks the spot,
vacant for the next big thing, brother.
It won’t be you:
don’t bother. 
Fame – long wait;
short sell-by date
(fifteen minutes, tops). 
Don’t open that door.
Walk away; don’t try. 
You’re not a celebrity,
get out of there. 
the great TV lie.

Talking of Michael  Bublé (as if I ever needed an excuse), here he is being fabulous on ITV last night:

Of course, the big tv event of the weekend was the last-ever episode of Lost being simulcast around the world; it was on at five this morning in the UK.  I watched the very first episode and it lost me at the sunbathing plane crash victim, so if you want an informed opinion, I’ll have to tell you to get lost.

Big Night Out For Me

15 Apr

If a cancer-stricken elderly lady knocked on your door and invited you to a party, could you say no?  Me neither. Though I did at first. 

Let me explain: I had just come in from church a couple of weeks ago (five minutes later and I’d have missed her) and there was a knock on my door and this old lady asked me, ‘Are you interested in politics?’  When I said ‘Yes’ she wept on my shoulder with relief; when I told her in reply to her next question that I was voting Conservative, she asked if she could have my baby.  We live in a strong Labour ward; there are blood and custard Labour posters all over the place.  Well, I say ‘all over the place’ but I really mean ‘in one window in a house three streets away’ because these days ‘deprived area’ doesn’t mean ‘Russian revolutionary-style activism’ but, ‘if I could be bothered to vote at all, it would be Labour because I work in a low-paid job and don’t have much money and they are the party that will look after me by taxing me to death, from birth to death and everywhere in between; besides, that’s how my parents voted and furthermore, blue doesn’t suit me.’  My old lady wanted me in the audience for tonight’s  ITV Leader’s Debate; a variety of types is needed and there aren’t many working class, Condervative-voting women around, apparently.

I have ranted about electors not bothering to elect in earlier posts so I won’t go there again, but I read a post yesterday that irritated me because it pointed up my inadequacies as a concerned voter: check out http://cubiksrube.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/democracy-in-the-uk/ and he will show you how the work of engaging voters should be done – by appealing to their inclination to do it all from home if they are going to do it at all.  It is a really useful guide to this election.

Perhaps that is why the big media networks are so excited about the debates; it’s a way to interest a largely apathetic electorate.  If we had X Factor-type shows where the duckhouse builders were voted out in the early rounds, it might be more interesting; it would certainly get a bigger turnout.  I think it might have to be proportional representation instead of first-past-the-post politics, however, or we could lose a leader who’s having an off-night, because some perform better than others (naming no names).  That’s what politics is really all about these days: who performs well in the media; who looks good.  You can pass all the anti-discriminatory legislation in the world, but these days, I don’t see any polio-stricken, wheelchair-bound candidates applying for the job of Prime Minister of the UK or President of America; do you?  It’s why I nag Tory Boy to visit the dentist regularly: he’ll never get elected with manky teeth.  They are lovely, actually; and they’d better stay that way or it won’t be just the media making fun of him…Britain’s not gallant.

America has had leaders’ debates for fifty years, but this is our first one (of three).  I almost turned down the opportunity to be in the audience because of the logistics of getting there: three buses and a ten-minute walk.  It’s not getting there so much, but travelling home late at night.  I can’t rely on the Hub being well enough to taxi me around so I always have to assume he can’t, make contingency plans, and cross my fingers that his M.E. won’t be our foe that day.  As it happens, he has had a rough week and he is feeling it, so I will get the buses to Granada Studios and he will rest all day so that he can collect me.  It’s only 23 minutes away but that’s a round-trip of an hour with waiting; it’s too much for him to do that twice today.  Who knew M.E. was the enemy of the voting classes? 

I wonder how the leaders (I keep wanting to add the words ‘Our Glorious’ to that, though I am not at all Orwellian) are travelling to Manchester?  Not by air, I hope.  Iceland, not content with losing millions of our British money, has allowed a volcano to erupt and thus stop those Brits with any money left from going on holiday to recover.  A cloud of volcanic ash is snaking across Britain six kilometers above us, forcing flights to be cancelled.  Britain is not amused.  Questions will be asked tonight, I’m sure; demands to know why the Government has not acted on the issue of erupting volcanoes in foreign countries spoiling British holidays.

I doubt if I’ll get a chance to ask a question: I’m not going on holiday, for a start.  But I heard someone say that, as the debate is only ninety minutes long, it’s likely that there will only be time for eight questions to be asked and answered.  If the audience is one hundred strong – though I think it might be bigger – that gives me an 8% chance.  I’m not holding my breath.

Back to my story: the lady at the door was drooping so I invited her in while we filled out the inevitable paperwork.  It was then that she told me how peeved she was that she couldn’t attend the debate as a hostess because she was having ugly stuff cut from her stomach today.  It was only after she left with my personal details (including passport number) that it occurred to me that it could have been an elaborate scam to steal my money and identity.  Seventeen phone calls from ITV regarding security, questions I might wish to pose, and whether I have any metal body parts later and my fears were eased.  The ticket arrived on Tuesday and, barring a last-minute hiccup when my stolen identity reveals me to be an Icelandic banker and thus persona non grab me in the face and smash me with a useless airline charter, I should be taking my seat around seven tonight.  If you are watching, look out for me: I’ll be the woman in black hiding the right side of her face with straightened hair.  I haven’t had my glasses fixed yet; I should have gone to Specsavers.



Yesterday’s prompt was to write a ‘cleave’ poem: it’s a fusion of two vertical poems to make one horizontal one.  I wrote one last year as part of my South Africa collection, though I didn’t know then there was a name for the form:


Anti-Apartheid Movement


crazy in love,

                                they see through

a fervid haze. 

                                razing unjust laws,

passion scars, grazes

                                false cultural ideals. 

black and white

                                race to connect,

skin on skin;

                                ignoring political sin.




Here’s a little other poem so that I have something new to post to fulfill the terms of the napowrimo agreement (write a poem every day):


Old Habits
I used to read
Before babies
Before study
Before I forgot to








Tilly Bud’s Got The X-Factor As Well

15 Dec

I have to say a big ‘thank you’ to Joe Mcelderry and the X-Factor: they bumped yesterday’s stats by a third.  With the show just finishing and the winner declared, people have obviously been Googling the names and accidentally coming up with me.  The Hub is always telling me to talk about current affairs to trap people into reading me, and he has been proved right.  Again.  He’s so irritating.   I’m going to have to seamlessly work in X-Factor references in today’s blog to replicate yesterday’s figures, in the hope that readers who stumble across me will impulsively subscribe to The Laughing Housewife (JUST ADD YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE WIDGET ON THE LEFT-HAND SIDE) and be unable to escape.  Please tell me if you notice the references; but I’m sure you won’t.

Today’s news:

Spud Bud is poorly and staying home from school – oops, excuse me – I’ve just remembered I was supposed to phone and tell them that; I’ll be back in a Rachel Adedeji… 

Where was I?  Spud is gutted because his English class is performing a mini-pantomime today, and he is in it.  Lloyd Daniels spent last night making a wicked witch sock puppet, complete with battered hat and broomstick, to replace an absent friend who is miffed because he has to go to the funeral today of a friend of his mother’s, who he has never met (the friend; not his mother).  Spud was chuffed with the puppet and excited about performing.  He loves performing: for the first eleven years of his life he was going to be an actor and set his parents up in Kandy Rain.  Now it’s all rugby and writing, and we have to move to a hovel in our retirement. 

He woke up this morning and complained of not feeling Jamie Archer, but he was determined to go to school because he didn’t want to let down his friends.  He ate his breakfast and got ready and I gave him two paracetemol, which made him feel a bit John and Edward Grimes.  He was determined to soldier on but the whole time he was trying not to weep over his aching bones and soggy bottom.  I asked him if he wanted me to make him stay home and he didn’t deny it so I sent him up to bed.  He was down again just minutes later, upset and saying again that he couldn’t let down his friends.  I let him go because I was confident he would be back; and I was right (it’s not irritating when I do it).  He had missed the bus because it had taken him so long to get to the bus stop, and he came in and went straight upstairs, stopping only for a little cry and a comforting hug from his Rikki Loney and to vomit into a fortunately-placed Stacey Solomon.

I went up five minutes later with a cup of tea and bottle of Olly Murs and to check on him, and came down again to discover Toby had pooped in three places in the distress of it all.  I cleaned up the Joe McElderry by the kitchen; the one by the hall cabinet; and the one on the door mat; then collapsed in exhaustion on the Danyl Johnson from all the hand washing  and was forced to watch television all morning to recover, instead of doing the planned housework.

Although it’s a shame Spud will miss fun activities, at least he’s not missing anything important, it being the last week of school.  They break up on Lucie Jones the 18th.  But it’s better to be ill now than Miss Frank.

What did I tell you?  Seamless!

Joe’s Got The X-Factor!

14 Dec

I was thrilled last night that Joe won the X-Factor.  He has a wonderfully melodic voice and seems like a genuinely nice guy.  I felt sorry for Olly, but he seems like another nice guy and was gracious in defeat; and these days, runners-up tend to do as well if not better than winners, so I’m crossing my fingers for him.  Poor Stacey went out on Saturday night.  I thought she gave the performance of the weekend in her duet with Michael Bublé.  They had real chemistry, and she looked fabulous in that dress – for the first time in years I felt nostalgic for my figure because I have never worn a dress like that, and now it’s too late.  Still, I won’t give up hope, because Michael Bublé still hasn’t met me yet.

What annoys me is the nay-sayers: I have read around the blogs this morning, and so many people are complaining about the blandness of the X-Factor and that type of show and how it’s the rise of mediocrity, that it makes me wonder who of the ten million who voted last night dares to disagree.  Well – I do, being one of the 6.1 million people who voted for Joe to win.  There have always been tv talent shows; the X-Factor is simply the latest incarnation.  Mark Lawson (a critic with whom I usually agree) irritated me with this: ‘…the victory of McElderry and Cowell is a defeat for admirers of high-quality or public service television…’  I don’t think talent shows come much slicker than the X-Factor; do you?  It is high-quality television in that it is well-made and entertaining.  Yes, it’s not brain-stretching telly, but so what?  It’s Saturday night and I want to settle down with my family and enjoy myself without having to think.  I would also say it is public service television: the 200,000 who applied to be on it and the twenty million who watched the final would probably agree with me.  This is just snobbery: what does Mr Lawson think Shakespeare was writing, if not entertainment for the masses?  And what would I, Mark Lawson and the 9,200,000 Google results I’ve just found have to write about this morning if it didn’t exist?

Britain’s got the X-Factor! 


I Have Saved Myself £12billion

7 Dec

I can’t say I’m impressed by the government’s plans to save £12billion: if I understand Sky News correctly, they simply have to stop spending.  If it’s that simple, why has it taken so long to do?  I’m really not convinced by the argument; after all, when I cut up my credit cards last week, did that mean I had saved £12billion myself?  No, I didn’t; I’m not going to see that money in my savings account anytime soon, am I?  I’m just not going to spend any more, and I’m going to be paying off past debts for a long time to come, just like my government.  And neither of us has any gold reserves with which to make the process easier.

But on to the REALLY important news: Joe McElderry is in the X-Factor final.  Another two flawless performances this weekend.  I was glad to see Olly Murs and Stacey Solomon in the final as well, though sorry that Danyl had to go; I loved his rendition of And I Am Telling You in the first live show.  It was a strong contest this year.  Oddly, however, there were no obvious standout performances as in other years: Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke, for example, had some cracking shows in which they were clear frontrunners; and Ray Quinn was brilliant when he sang My Way in Leona’s year.  Joe has been consistently good, but not electrifying.  But I’ll still be voting for him to win next week: I can afford it now that I have £12billion to spare.

Poor Lloyd

30 Nov

Poor Lloyd hasn’t got the X-Factor any more. See full size image I quite liked him, and I loved his version of Bleeding Love, but he was up against some tough competition.  He got much better the last couple of weeks so it’s a shame he was voted off, but there can be only one winner – Joe McElderry, See full size imageof course.  He was superb this weekend – more superb than usual.  If you didn’t watch it – and I hope you’ve got a good excuse, like you live on another continent or something – then check him out here: Sorry and Magic.  My favourite of his performances, however, came last week.  Watch this: Sun.

I have finally learned the meaning of housewives’ favourite.

A Few Random Thoughts

10 Nov

Having in the last three or so months posted long and short pieces, photos, opinions, stories and poems, it occurs to me that this blog is a bit of a Curate’s Egg.  That got me wondering who was the Curate and why did he have an odd egg in the first place? 

Wikipedia says it came from a cartoon in Punch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curate’s_egg 

Bishop: “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr Jones”; Curate: “Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!”
“True Humility” by
George du Maurier, originally published in Punch, 1895.

Speaking of punch, what about the result of Saturday’s big fight?  http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/nov/07/david-haye-nikolai-valuev-title-fight  Truly a victory for the small man, relatively speaking.    As a Kylie clone (or QEII, if you prefer) – and when I say clone, I mean Kylie squared, because I am 5′ tall and 5′ wide – I was chuffed by the result.  Patience and dogged persistence beat brute force on the day.

As pleased as I am, I didn’t actually bother to watch it; if I want to see two adults belting each other’s brains out, I just look outside my front door.  My Saturday night was spent watching John & Edward singing (and I use the term very loosely) Ghostbusters on the X-Factor. http://www.youtube.com/v/_DJrGr9Pyrc

Hilarious and entertaining and tuneless.  You’ve got to give them credit for the way they throw themselves into their routines.  If they don’t get their own tv show when this is all over, I’ll be very surprised.  You heard it here first!

Don’t you love Dannii’s changing hair? 

I was shocked to see Lucie voted off.  Either Simon Cowell wimped out by allowing it to go to deadlock, or he is fiendishly cunning and gambled on Jedward’s popularity to eject a strong contender from the competition.

Finally, I was watching Ellen DeGeneres this morning, and was impressed by two men.  The first was Kurt Warner, an American footballer who is married with seven children and brings them up right: amongst other things, if they are at a restaurant, he insists that his children must look the waiter in the eye when ordering i.e. treat them with respect.  You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIGLW6g6qaQ

The other was comedian Steve Harvey, who has written a serious book about male-female relations. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PedFMBCSaVg  He talks about the ‘ninety-day rule’ – the gist of it is, ladies, if a man joins a large corporation, he has to prove his commitment for ninety days before getting any benefits.  Mr Harvey suggests that women might like to consider applying that rule to new relationships.


Sorry about not embedding the links; my techneptitude shows no signs of abating.

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