Eurovison 2010 – The Saga Continues

Albania! Albania!

OK, the promised Part 2 of my Eurovision 2010 round up. Who were we up to..?

Bosnia Herzovina – “Thunder and Lightning” – Vukašin Brajic: Best described as guitar based rock pop with strings, this song wasn’t great, but with so little decent competition it punched well above its weight. Nothing really notable though. Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 (Not bad, not bad at all).

Poland – “Legenda” – Marcin Mrozinski: WEIRD! That pretty much sums up this one. And not in a good Eurovision-weird way. More in a our-singer-is-a-serial-killer way. There were a bunch of girls in national dress, biting laviciously into apples and then some weird kind of drama that resulted in the singer apparently throttling one of them to death while the others pulled off her clothes. The song itself couldn’t seem to make up its mind between opera, lounge music and Robbie William’s latest. WEIRD! Verdict: A creepy 2.5 out of 5 (very creepy).

Belgium – “Me and My Guitar” – Tom Dice: The title pretty much says it all. One guy and his guitar. A pleasant enough acoustic ballad located somewhere between Cat Stevens and Tracy Chapman. Nothing amazing but it stood out quite well among some of the other dull lunacy on show. Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 (Even if it did sound a bit like James Blunt).

Malta – “My Dream” – Thea Garrett: Apparently this year Malta decided to enter a Liza Minelli impersonator – I don’t understand this any more than you do. Her song was a passable pop ballad (a lot of ballads this year) in a strong American accent which went a bit operatic at the end and featured a guy dressed as a seagull dancing around the stage. Again – I don’t understand this any more than you do. Verdict: 3 out of 5 (Competent).

Albania – “It’s All About You” – Juliana Pasha: Juliana Pasha bears a passing resemblance to Smallville’s Alison Mack, which is something that in my opinion Eurovision should have more of. Her song was essentially an 80’s glam dance track featuring an Eraserhead lookalike on a violin and a not-bad electric guitar solo. It also had a decent beat which was nice to hear after all those slow, dull ballads. Probably my favourite track of the night (and not just because I have thing for Chloe Sullivan). Verdict: 4 out of 5 (Kick ass!).

Greece – “OPA” – Giorgos Alkaios and Friends: Musically this song is pretty stupid. But it’s so cheerful and energetic that you don’t really care. An electro/techo track with plenty of influence from traditional Greek music (or at least “Zorba’s Dance” which is the only Greek song anyone knows or cares about). The performers all wore white, rhinestone encrusted pyjamas open to the chest and yelled a lot, and there was a bit played on a mobile phone right at the end. Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 (Mindless fun).

Portugal – “Há dias assim” – Filipa Azevedo: A Portugese power ballad, performed by a girl who managed to do a remarkable Whitney Houston impersonation despite not singing in English. Not remarkable by any measure but very well performed. Verdict: 4 out of 5 (Well done).

Macedonia – “Jas ja imam silata” – Gjoko Taneski, Billy Zver and Pejcin: Macedonia couldn’t seem to make up its mind. Was it doing an 80’s pop song? Was it rap? Or was it power rock? I’ve got no idea since it kept randomly jumping between them. Far too much going on to form any decent kind of opinion as to the talents of those involved. There was a quite good impersonation of a Slash guitar solo towards the end, but it wasn’t enough to save this fairly shambolic performance. Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 (The guitar solo earned them some extra points).

Belarus – “Butterflies” – 3+2 feat Robert Wells: What’s that? Belarus are on? Oh. I see. They’re just standing there singing a heavily accented and rather dull song about butterflies. Hmmm. Have I got any email? Nope. Oh, they’re still going, OK. I wonder if I turned off the oven? Yes, I did. I specifically remember doing so. Well, look at that, the women have sprouted butterfly wings. How… interesting. Ah, they’re finished now. Good. Verdict: 2.5 out of 5 (When Mr Lordi sprouted wings it was cool. You’re not Mr Lordi.)

Iceland – “Je ne sais quoi” – Hera Björk: Björk!? Iceland have Björk!? Oh, wait, a different Björk. OK then. Hera Björk – what Terry Wogan would have called “a well set up lump of a girl” – did quite a good job on this catchy techno/piano track. Not amazing but pleasant enough to listen to. Verdict: 4 out of 5 (Sorry about the lump comment…)

So, there we go, my opinion on the first semi final. Now I’ve just got to get the second semi final written up – which will probably happen sometime before August – and watch and write up the Final tonight. Albania for the Win!

Eurovision 2010 – Part 1

Bring Back Lordi!

I had so many plans for things to do today, and got none of them dealt with. I guess I just needed a day of wasteful sloth. Oh well, I’ll be energetic tomorrow.

In the meantime, it’s the yearly schlockfest of Eurovision! Woohoo! 😀

The first semi-final was last night, the second will be tonight, and the final on Sunday. I probably won’t see all of it, it clashes with Doctor Who after all, but I’ll certainly be enjoying what I do.

Anyway, here’s my run down of the first semi-final – or as much of it as I can write before the seconf semi final starts. All performances are rated on a scale of 0 to 5 where five is the best thing ever, and zero is a good argument to nuke the country responsible…

Moldova – “Run Away” – SunStroke Project and Olia Tira: Nothing really special here. There was a glowing electric violin, a guy spinning around on a disk, and a woman in a weird white puffy skirt that made her look like an ostrich. Some of the makeup seemed to be based on the chopper pilot from Avatar and the glowing violin bow was waved around like a light sabre. The song was a passable dance track but pretty much forgettable. Verdict: 3 out of 5 (Competent).

Russia – “Lost and Forgotten” – Peter Nalitch and Friends: A fairly poor showing from Russia I thought. A slow, dreary waltz with a slightly more energetic chorus. There was some really bad acting with the singer looking mournfully at a photograph, there was a bit where one of the backup singers talk sings, glitter fell fitfully from the ceiling throughout and they threw in a wind machine for the end where the song inexplicably went all happy. Frankly the whole thing was mawkish in the extreme, and the singer sounded off key half the time. Verdict: 2 out of 5 (Poor).

Estonia – “Siren” – Malcolm Lincoln and Manpower 4: An interesting attempt by Estonia with a bunch of guys in suits and lead singer who seemed to have taken his fashion cues from the New Romantics. The song sort of sped up and down with a guy alternately playing and attacking a piano, and the singer breaking out into occasional bursts of mad dancing before calming down again. Then right at the end one of the backup singers passed out (I presume this was part of the act…). If the song had been any good it would have been quite a good show, as is the song was weak and unfocused. Verdict: A high 2 out of 5 (Weak).

Slovakia – “Horehronie” – Kristina: At last some proper Eurovision madness! Kristina and her tree people took to the stage in leaf and vine adorned druid robes and sang and danced while a second woman dressed in white stood off to the side and did nothing. In the second verse she took over the singing duties when Kristina’s dancing got out of hand. The song itself sounded like Shakira crossed with Deep Forest and concluded with the dancers throwing bits of string around. Very confusing and quite entertaining. Verdict: 3 out of 5 (Quite Competent).

Finland – “Työlki ellää” – Kuunkuiskaajat: Basically an eccentric oompa-oompa song with accordion and two women dressed in white. Oh and downright silly folk dancing. Nothing amazing but at least it had a decent beat and lots of enthusiasm. Verdict: 3 out of 5 (Competent).

Latvia – “What For?” – Aisha: A girl in a silk dressing gown and greek sandals singing an Alanis Morrisette accordion song with lyrics that had to be heard to be believed. “Uncle Joe?” “Mr God?”. People, if you’re going to sing a song in a second language at least get someone who speaks said language to check it over before performing it in front of millions of viewers. Problems aside the singer had a strong voice and performed the absolutely insane lyrics pretty well. Verdict: 3 out of 5 (Competent once you block out the words).

Serbia – “Ovo je Balkan” – Milan Stankovic: A beaming man-child with terrifying hair and one of Adam Ant’s old jackets sings a halfway decent dance track with crazy wailing horns while waving his legs around in a deranged manner. Could have done with more bass and they slipped in a stupid “radio effect” on one of the verses. Verdict: 2.5 out of 5 (Should have tried harder).

OK, the second semi-final is about to start, so check in tomorrow for more reviews and sarcasm!

Poisonous Fumes

Revenge of the Roaches

My good friend Ryan is (I hope he won’t mind me saying) an environmentalist much more towards the hippie end of the spectrum than myself. Living as he does on the fringes of the rural enclave of the Swan Valley he is often moved, when visiting my home in the inner suburbs, to comment on the difference in air quality by darkly muttering things like “the very air you breath is a poisonous fume” under his breath.

I, an urban lad born and raised and hence having lungs adapted to a heady mix of carbon monoxide, ozone and soot, barely even notice the difference.

But not this morning. This morning the air in Bayswater tastes like someone’s been burning tyres for fun and profit. It is indeed a poisonous fume worthy of Mordor and my head is already aching from it. Heading in to work will be a relief – if I survive the walk to the train station that is.

I suppose it’s kind of appropriate. I fumigated my apartment yesterday to deal with a persistent cockroach problem. Obviously the roaches had some powerful karma to call on and are getting their revenge by gassing me from beyond the grave. Tricky little bastards.

Going to go look for an oxygen mask now…

May Day

It’s been a while hasn’t it?

Well I’m not dead. I’ve just been busy. I took the last week off work to really get to grips with all the cleaning that my apartment needs. Or rather needed as I’ve actually managed to get most of it done. The place is now cleaner that it’s been in probably years, and there’s room to walk around freely without having to skip hop and jump around various piles of useful things. How long it’ll remain like that I don’t know.

I’ve also finished Fallout 3, which was a bit dissapointing as I didn’t realise that the last quest I took on was actually the last quest – I had a whole lot of other stuff I wanted to do! I also discovered that I hadn’t actually installed the add ons, and then had massive problems trying to get them to install over the top. So, in the end I uninstalled the whole thing and then reinstalled it fresh (with the add ons). Sadly this meant the loss of my character, along with my highly customised home (I had my collection of garden gnomes, chinese swords and deathclaw hands arranged just the way I wanted them!).

On the plus side I get to play it all through again, which I’m currently doing 😀

Last Sunday was of course Anzac Day. As is my wont I headed down to the local dawn service, although it wasn’t as good as last year’s. Actually it was all a bit shambolic. One of the cadets guarding the memorial threw up halfway through (I have to say that the rest of the unit perfomed admirably, the CO leading him off and another cadet stepping forward to take his place immediately) and the speaker from the RSL’s lecture on all the wars and peace keeping actions Australia has been involved in since World War One conspicuously ignored Vietnam (I like to think this was an oversight rather than an example of the RSL’s historically rocky relationship with Vietnem veterans). A further surprise was in store however, as he finished off his talk by telling us all to spy on immigrants lest they bring down our democracy or something, which was really quite disconcerting.

I’ve also been getting stuff across to my new computer, which is now pretty much set up and ready to be used on a daily basis (apart from just as a platform for Fallout 3, which to be fair it has been used for on a daily basis). I managed this trick by buying a terrabyte external hard drive, which has made transfering stuff so much easier. Hooray for affordable USB storage!

Anyway I’d better go. I’ve uploaded a bunch of new photos to Flickr and they need descriptions and tags.

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