Sunday, November 29, 2009

On The Box: The Rise of Cheryl Cole & A New Egghead Is Unveiled

BoldSo X Factor closes on it's 60th Christmas Number One (Well it kept Cliff from Number 1 and that record, which of course he made up) and the interest is heightened, certainly for artists who need a revival (though unluckily for Leonard Cohen most of lovers of Hallelujah bought into the idea that it was Jeff Buckley's song and bought into him instead, at least he got royalties). So who could it possibly this year? whose overloaded cash budget will increase to overwhelming levels? and which contestant will croon their way to number 1?

The Contenders....

Well, I'm not sure, the contestants are "Essex Olly" who is a cheeky chappy (ad nausea),Call Centre slave from Essex. I didn't listen to his sob story so I'm not sure of what area in Essex, but most of it blends into one another. "Dagenham Stace" who sounds like a helium balloon going off and who has a kid (so her life and supposedly her kids life will be "changed" forever) which means Heat will have a feature of Dagenham Stace's child being a secret BNP Member in 20 years time(I Joke of course). Danyl Johnson who tends to stare vaguely and constantly above the camera and the crowd into a parallel universe (Possibly the one in which X Factor doesn't dominate the Xmas Number one slot) and "Geordie Joe", who put in a drag queen type performance on Saturday and who smiles annoyingly and continuously (Remember Tony anyone) and who is backed by 'Queen' Cole (Formerly Tweedy, that's when she hit black people, instead of just insulting them).

"Queen Cole"

What I don't get about Cole is she is awful, she seems to have thrown all her eggs in Joe's basket simply because he is from her area of the country. She is certainly not interested in finding a superstar with the "X-Factor" she is more interested in keeping her crown of winning (Though I'm sure it was Alexandra Burke), and just in case you forgot (which I doubt you could've with the amount of times she mentions it) she was the winning judge on X Factor last year. The problem with having groups of people to mentor is that self interest overcomes the idea of the competition, maybe we should get rid of the Judge's choice, or maybe we should get rid of Cole.

Are You An Egghead

Are You an Egghead is perhaps the best quiz on TV, it eliminates idiots which Television actively seems to promote, and which holds an FA Cup for Quizzers. The excitement of becoming an Egghead must be underwhelming if you judge the latest winner Pat Gibson's face, not only was Gibson one of the most annoyingly smug contestants he also failed last year, which made you wonder if there is a point if you can keep trying to become an Egghead.

The show consists of mostly retired people, bar some lookers (Yes Quiz unlike Darts does have some lookers). Who go through a FA Cup style knockout to determine who is worthy of joining the Eggheads, the show is doubly exciting as it shows up several of the original stars of Eggheads. Kevin always performs well (Bar Food and Drink) but Daphne is utterly hopeless and does suggest that she is finally reaching retirement age, CJ doesn't get to moan half as much, Chris still fucks up, Judith is as hopeless as normal and Barry actually gets to show how good he actually is.

Barry was of course last year's winner and has become my favourite Egghead, after hating him for the entire "Are You An Egghead" series one. So on that basis Pat Gibson may well warm my heart in the near future, as for the time being I advise the BBC to commission a third series.


Let's keep things simple eh?

I've decided to separate my blog into two areas, one such as this will feature culture such as Literature, TV and Music and poetry, while it's sibling "Out On The Boundary" will cover Politics/News/Society and Sport.

So the links are:

Unwritten Words


Out On The Boundary

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Single of The Year 2008

1) Pelle Carlberg – 1983
“Sublime storytelling of the most humorous”

2) Slow Club – Sunday
“Wistfully stirring in its feelings and thoughts, the feel good b side of 2008”

3) Thomas Speight – November Blues
“A Tale of two, with a luscious vocal arrange, and slight hints of sadness”

4) Clik Clik – Did You Wrong
“Boy meets Girl, angst arguments convene over electric beats”

5) Pocketbooks – Falling Leaves
“Piano swoons over the most delicate of lyrical poetry”

6) Chairlift – Bruises
“You’ll know this, it’s sold its soul to Apple, its beautiful mind”

7) The Week That Was – Scratch the Surface
“Field Music are dead….Long Live Field Music 2, Delightful”

8) Johnny Foreigner – Salt, Pepper & Spindrell
“Tales to talk, Talk to listen, full of energy and full of buzz”

9) Grammatics – Vague Archives
“Overblown sounds but frail in voice”

10) Seth Lakeman – Solomon Browne
“Tale of a Tragedy committed to song, a fitting tribute to those lives lost”

11) The Cure – Freakshow
“Smith gets angry, and we fall in love again”

12) Friendly Fires - Paris
“Instance in its lovelorn wants, and delightful in character”

13) Anthony Green – Dear Child
“Bouncy filled beats alongside a mournful angst voice, sounds emo…No”

14) Sebastien Tellier – Divine
“Bubble gum synths burying deep into the mind, creates such beauty…I think I will buy that Megane”

15) Eight Legs – These Grey Days
“Puke up boy, let us get going get out or sex crazed teen describes his lackness”

16) Hot Puppies – Somewhere
“Thoughts sideline in a blast of lost love and life”

17) Stephen Malkmus – Gardenia
“Name check this literature great on this bouncing ball of a beauty.”

18) Hermann Dune – Baby Baby You’re My Baby
“I felt like listening, this made me feel like I felt, because I Love you”

19) Blood Red Shoes – You Bring Me Down
“A war in the soul between the two of them, sexual tension or guitar drums battling”

20) Jeremy Warmsley – Dancing With the Enemy
“TB is less catchy than this ditty”

Album of The Year 2008

1) Johnny Foreigner – Waited up ‘til It Was Light
“Full of brash abrasive tunes, with a girl boy vocal that arrests and charms in equal measure.”

2) Pelle Carlberg – The Lilac Time
“Beautiful charming delightful and full of wit Carlberg makes folk, sweet.”

3) Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires
“Dreamy ambience with a knack for the tune, yet with attitude and ability”

4) Alphabeat – This is Alphabeat
“Full of tunes, no pretence, no shame just straight forward brilliant pop”

5) Jim Noir – Jim Noir
“Remarkable ignored lost gem of Manchester, it may not sell the brand but it speaks volumes”

6) Elle Milano – Acres of Dead Space Cadets
“Now Defunct outfit, a lost gem, a lost sparkle and a brash voice lost”

7) These New Puritans – Beat Pyramid
“Says nothing while saying something, says something while saying nothing, modern in kind, arresting in a listen”

8) Declining Winter – Goodbye Minnesota
“A sparse musical adventure that escapes the mind but floats gently on the soul”

9) Troubles – Wolf
“A rebirth from the ashes of greatest, and yet it holds its own its quality and sound”

10) John & Jehn – The Debut Album
“Haunting vocals delivered on a backdrop of melancholy and Loss.”

11) Eugene McGuiness – Eugene McGuiness
“Spikey, youthful exciting and fun, McGuiness can speak for many”

12) Half Man, Half Biscuit – CSI Ambleside
“Full of Humour and Tunes to match, CSI Ambleside nails modern life on its head”

13) Billy Bragg – Mr Love & Justice
“Bragg’s sparse lyrical content alongside his musical direction creates his most accessible work to date.”

14) Two Man Gentlemen Band – Heavy Petting
“Banjo Duelling, Double Bass banging its Americana from the 00’s the 1900’s and it’s par excellence”

15) Flaming Lips – Christmas on Mars Soundtrack
“The Movie is for fans, but this dark, sparse most haunting soundtrack should be let out, and elope the ears of everyone.”

16) Goddamn Electric Bill – Topics for Gossip
“Electronic sounds alongside tunes most found, allows for a record of quality to be born”

17) MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
“Record = Looping noises and sounds over a bed of fading vocals and wonderful worlds, Live = hopelessly dirge….you decide?”

18) Guillemots – Red
“Guillemots go daring and fail commercially but succeed in music”

19) School of Language – Sea from Shore
“An Album Most Alternative”

20) You, Me @ Six
“Pound for pound the best new “emo” album this year”

Monday, December 22, 2008

The 2008 Unwritten Word Literature List

For the first time I engrossed myself in Literature of both the fiction and the non fiction in 2008. I wasn't necessary a cautious or slow reader, it was just finding the time, which always seemed to tick away so quickly. However since finishing University I have started to read and started to learn, the following list includes several books that were published in previous years, but have either had a culture significance or personal feeling to myself this year. So please enjoy reading my list and hopefully reading these books for yourself, remember Libraries give us power.

10) History of Modern Britain - Andrew Marr
An award winning series, and an exciting and engaging read from the pen of Andrew Marr, it both conducts a historical narrative, and delves deeper into the cultural significance of the history to modern day Britain. Marr follows on from what you’re kept from in History and what we must all come to terms with.

9) The Political Animal - Jeremy Paxman
2008 was the first year of being engagingly active within the Labour party, and meeting many of the names both past and present has been interesting, and getting to know them personally makes you realise beyond the public image, these people are people. Paxman's book thrives on this feeling and should be read by anyone who see's politics and politicians as distant and disengaging, far from it they are human and as Paxman's book recalls for some it's a drive gained from childhoods much less fortunate than most.

8) Modern History of Russia - Robert Service
In the year of Russia electing a new president (and Prime Minster), Service's book certainly resonates in what is a heavy but interesting read. Service starts with the later years of the last Tsar and follows up to the later days of Vladimir Putin. Its insight is excellent and its knowledge second to none, if you want to know the true Russia, then this is the only book you need.

7) All In The Mind - Alastair Campbell
Part time Labour scenester (Really) writes an interesting and engaging read on the subject of depression, the stories he brings together in the setting of the office of a London psychiatrist are heartfelt and extremely powerful, but as the novel unfolds so does the life of Dr Sturrock and the novel ends in a slightly disappointing but on the whole reasonable conclusion, with the death of Sturrock and the realisation that he was always there for others, but could never be there for his family.

6) Browns Britain - Robert Peston
Arguably the man of the year Robert Peston's biography of what makes Gordon Brown tick and what a country under him would be like, and for the most part Peston is correct. Before the economic crisis Brown was pillared from post to post, but now as Peston says he has come out as a man who knows his economic plan, whilst leaving the opposition a team without steam.

5) Jpod - Douglas Coupland
I could have chose several Coupland novels which I discovered this year, but Jpod by far was the most interesting. A humorous novel that follows the world of nerds and nerders(a woman nerd maybe), it's every possible office setting and then some but the weird life in which Ethan, the protagonist tries to continuously to help others around him in the situations that continuously find themselves in. Coupland also appears and his part is linked intrinsically to why the novel has been written, it's simply fantastic.

4) Whats Left? - Nick Cohen
Cohen's argument, (and that is pretty much what it is) about how the Left falls over itself to support causes that are against its entrenched beliefs. Most of Cohen's arguments hit the right spots and yet his occasional pretentiousness can threaten his argument but for the most part he cuts a conclusive and a very convincing argument.

3) Cats Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
This year saw the passing of Kurt Vonnegut, to coincide with this penguin re-released Cat’s Cradle and with it a book that creates a humour in the darkest and most pessimistic of places. Vonnegut creates like in his masterpiece, dry humour in the worst of places, in Slaughterhouse 5 it’s the battlefields of Europe, in Cat’s Cradle it’s the end of the world due to the specialist concoction called Ice nine, a due reminder that Kurt Vonnegut is gone but will never be forgotten.

2) Flat Earth News – Nick Davies
An exposure on the very heart of journalism, and one that makes you worry what constitutes for journalism each and every day, and with the introduction of the “free” papers I can only see this becoming even more the norm. Having studied the industry deeply, this book backs up what most long lamented “media” students know, sadly most of government doesn’t, and this industry which is coated in shoddiness remains as powerful as it ever was, when it’s not half as well investigated as before.

1) Pies & Prejudice – Stuart Maconie
Radcliffe and Maconie brought back decent music to primetime Radio 2, and probably produced the only half decent Lesley Douglas decision of her short-lived but “Dr Beeching” like tenure of Radio 2 and 6 Music. Maconie originally released the book in 2007, but the cost effective paperback was released in 2008 and tells of his rediscovery of the north and along with the general factual nature its heart warming and beautiful. A book written by a northerner for all, it holds none of the snobby southern stereotypes and should be held up as the one true travel book on the north.
As one northern saying goes “its super smashing great”

List complied by Matt Hurst

The 2008 List

Every year these lists multiply in size and I could probably produce a best television of 2008 list. However for this year which has been mostly made of highs (Degrees) and lows (Unemployment) I have allowed myself only four lists which are made up a literature list and three music lists, the literature list will include several books I have read this year but were published in previous years. To go along with this I have a list of Ep's, Singles and the much loved Album of the year. And in early 2009 I'll be updating this regularly...So keep your eyes peeled.

Anyhow I'll be publishing these over the next week so keep checking and have a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.

Matt x

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On The Box - This Last Week In Television

I used to ignore television, it had become something i paid a licence for but rarely watched, as they say University was too exciting. However ever since i've graduated i've returned home and television is a constant.

'Press Stop, Press Play, Record and Rewatch.. Just not sports'

I have BT vision and this is handy due the amount of stuff my mum forces me to watch, and the problems i have accessing informative exciting and thought provoking television along with Match of The Day. You can press Stop, Press Play, Record and rewatch but for some strange reason i need to watch sport as it happens.

This includes late night Baseball, which is shown on Channel 5 and features Johnny and Josh, these welcoming "Blokes" have a delightful brand of charm and humour and hell if you don't like Baseball it's worth it for them alone....remember you could get BT Vision and fast forward.However for me i love Baseball and No Yankees, however post season like Euro 2008 will probably be much better for the lack of my team.

'Craig Burley...Get In My Son'

Staying on Sport, the wonderful Setanta (And yes i admit i actually love them, mainly for James Richardson being given a football show) have possibly the cheapest version of Andy Gray they could find. Craig Burley formerly of well Scotland and apparently Celtic is possibly from the Steve Claridge school of football, in which he repeats basically the great myths of football. These myths like Rafa Benietz rotates far more than anyone, Sheffield Utd were conned and Neil Warnock is a cock.. well perhaps that last one isn't a myth. Anyhow Burley must be paid for the "In My Son" comment, he mentions it possibly 20 times a match, a direct copy of Mr Gray who for his ills has toned it down.

Still Burley is continously wrong, his criticisms are usually about one decision which he will equate has happened throughout the match, this quite frankly makes him the worst pundit on television apart from David "Yossi Benuoooon" Pleat.

'A Whispering Eastend'

Finally i'm talking about the soaps, however i only watch Corrie and Eastenders and bits of Emmerdale (if i can't avoid it...It's better than the one show), and the Peadophile story grips the nation or maybe not. A worry is that Eastenders has recieved little coverage on this and yet as soon as Rosie Webster (Who is Fat, Obnoxious and ugly) shows a slight tit, the papers cry FURY after all thats what they do best, and they go on to show these shocking pictures taken from Corrie so that every man who sees it can show fury with his right hand.

Anyhow the Peadophile story is worrying A) because the guy can't actually be heard, he doesn't pitch anything above a mumble, this however is a habit of most characters in Eastenders apart from Patrick. B) He's now focusing his eyes away from Whitney and on to an innocent kid, and no it's not Lucy Beale who i think was having sex with a older lad some months ago (I think it was the actual peadophile story but was scrapped in favour of this), and anyhow Lucy Beale looks about 21 so she wouldn't be that suitable for this storyline. C) He's marrying Bianca, surely someone should of spotted him by now.

Alas it's hard hitting and not a subject that should be criticised so much as it's brave of them to tackle it, but hell it's better than commenting on Jamie Oliver's Minstry of Food, in which Oliver seems to patronise poor people, he'll get a knighthood for this probably.

One last word on the modern version of Merlin, as bad as the first espisode was i decided to give it a go, it's actually pretty good and Anthony Head, Richard Wilson, Merlin and King Arthur are as delightful as each other.

Regards and seeya next week

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Cure - Freakshow

Bobby Smith and company are back and after the lacklustre first single the true fruits of having Porl Thompson back show.

Freakshow is brilliant, it's modern Cure but certainly nods to Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me with more playful lyrics from Mr Smith. The Wah Wah guitars are masterfully put into give a sense of a playful but energised.

So far this collection of songs has been a mix, but the b side nods to early Cure and maybe this album will reflect all the best things about the Cure..... but yes it must be said welcome back Porl.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Elle Milano - Meanwhile In Hollywood (Single)

Well Elle (You the get the pun surely), Meanwhile in Hollywood is the second single to be taken from the forthcoming album Acres of Dead Space Cadets.

Suck in/blow out the same air in the same town
laments our protangnist Adam M. Crisp in a modern day tale of day dreaming. And yet it seems alluring almost like the young Dylan when he tackled the age issue, Crisp tackles in a stream of consciousness the factor of boredom.
It's also a frantically paced 3 minute pop song, that tackles the age of today. It's socially saying alot with very little.....ending with the message of letting the ones you love go....Sweet.

Songs Revisted - Lenny Bruce By Bob Dylan

Having spent the last week pouring over Dylan for my dissertation i'm going to make this a regular feature on my blog on generally every band.

Lenny Bruce

As much as i smirked upon first hearing Lenny Bruce it's a song that is possibly one of Dylan's better efforts during the 1980's. Emotionally its powerful in delivery and the lyrics are delievered in such a sad way you believe that Dylan is for the first time since "Street Legal" singing from the heart.
Lenny Bruce sums up many of Dylan's early laments about people who generally know the answer is there and yet can't grasp it til its gone, most famously suggested in "Blowin In The Wind". So is "Lenny Bruce" up their with Dylan's very best work? The Simple answer is no but it does need to be relooked at, for Dylan its passionate in a period in which much of his work seems full of empty wind.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sharp Focus - January's Albums & Singles

So yes, the first month of 2008 is over, a year that promises so much and has delivered tit bits of excitement so far.

Lightspeed Champion was the first band to release something of note (if you dismiss the actual release of Radiohead which i will for purposes of this blogs reputation: see albums of the year). Songs to kill to, songs to lie to and strangely songs to love to, Dev Hynes is a modern day tale teller of quirky sorts and his album sort of delves in to the less fanciable places of society, ironically for Hynes he delves far too deeply but it's wondrous to know the failures in such a beautiful creation....

Another band that entertained us in January was the strangely adaptive These New Puritians, i could possibly spill the usual bullshit journalist jargon about them being from stella Southend (Yes stella is spelt that way due to it being mostly full of stella lager drinkers), but no the album speaks for itself, it speaks largely in tongues but its quality. From Swords in Truth almost a nod to all those similar sounding hip hop records, but hell its out of tune English white kids to the almost brilliantness of Colours and yes they improve music ten fold.

January also said hello to Vampire Weekend with a collection of fun filled frolics, Cat Power singing a load of covers and Sons and Daughters releasing something extreme in delight.

February kicked in with Lupen Crooks latest effort, not only is it on par with his brilliant debut its almost too little, the Murderbirds have added a spike that was missing but it needs more yet still best to leave the audience as such. As for the Morrissey best of, please hardly a best of at least the two extra tracks nod interestingly at the new album due later this year.


Little has really excited me on the single front as of yet, except the odd gem. Firstly we had the dull affair of One Night Only, frankly one album only is too much for these Keane sounding chancers. Laura Marling's been kicking about but she's frankly too annoying to like and Biffy release another record of their latest sham fest, what a god awful record it was. Still Los Campesinos are as chirpy as they were in 2008 and it bodes well for the forthcoming album. Attic Lights seem capable of smashing into the music mind in 2008, and Blood Red Shoes build up to what surely will be a contender for album of the year with the latest single You Bring Me Down.

So finally this brings me to the chirpy almost ludicrously brilliant Hot Chip, Ready to a Floor betters anything on the debut and though I’ve not heard the record yet, if the single precludes the album in anyway then Hot Chip have finally arrived.......Fuck me Over & Over isn't a patch on this.