End Of The Year Blog

And so another year ends. It only seems like yesterday 2012 started and now here we are on the 31st December (well, I am at the time of writing this. It’s probably already the 1st January when you’re reading this. Or later).

To be honest, I’ve always thought that New Year’s Eve was overrated. Even as a kid, I’d rather go to bed than take up my mum and dad’s offer of staying up until midnight. These days, I’ll end up staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning but more down to watching the celebrations unfold on TV than partying myself. Let’s face it, you’re either watching Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, laughing at how they are trying so hard to act like they’re broadcasting live on New Year’s Eve when it was actually recorded a month earlier, you’re getting sloshed in some pub or club that’s charging three times the normal amount for a pint, or you’re at a house party still getting sloshed (on booze that you got on special offer at Asda). Then there’s the way that the entire mobile phone network goes into meltdown the moment you text your family and friends Happy New Year as the clock strikes twelve.

At this point in time, there’s often the urge to look back on the year gone by. The media bombard us with reviews of the year, while a lot of us may take a moment to reflect on the last twelve months of our own lives.  Personally, I would prefer to look forward rather than back. Sure 2012 did have some good moments – the Olympics, the Paralympics, Manchester City winning the Premier League (sorry but I had to put that in somewhere), the Jubilee,  the world not ending (in your face, Mayans). My personal highlight was finally getting to see one of my favourite bands, Coldplay, in concert.  However, despite these good things, 2012 wasn’t exactly the best year for me, for a lot of reasons. Not a total annus horribilis, but not exactly one to file under “OMG THAT WAS THE BEST YEAR EVER!”

As the final hours of the year tick away, I am hoping that 2013 is going to be a good one.  Not just for me, but for my family, my friends and everyone else. I hope that people find happiness. I hope that people are healthy, and remain so. I’ve seen the inside of hospitals (as a visitor) more times this year than I can remember.  I hope that all the people I know and love get what they want and deserve.  Most of all, I hope 2013 is a fucking awesome year for everyone.

Bring it on.

A little pre – X Factor final post

And so, after what seems like an eternity of it being on TV (not helped by the endless ad breaks), this year’s series of the X Factor reaches it’s conclusion this weekend. The final is being staged in my hometown of Manchester this year. I am not going to it, incidentally. It would have been nice to go to it and experience live TV from actually being in the audience of it, but I wouldn’t have got the chance anyway. Plus I’ve been starting to come down with a bit of a cold, which sucks as I have loads of stuff to do. Ah well, I’ll be at home watching it, which is probably the best place for me really.

I have to say, again I haven’t really enjoyed this series as much this year but it has been marginally better than last year’s, in terms of the fact that there has been at least one contestant that I’ve been interested in this year. I think I’ve forgotten most of last year’s contingent, bar Little Mix (which I still think is a stupid name for a group, nothing against them personally) and Marcus Collins – oh and Janet Devlin, and The Risk. But the latter two is probably down to the fact that I follow them on twitter (what about it?).

So what do I think of this year’s final three? Well there are two of them that I thought would definitely make it to the last stages of the competition and one that I didn’t necessarily think would get to this stage. You can probably guess already who fits each one, but even so, here’s what I think of each of this year’s finalists:

Jahmene Douglas – When I first saw Jahmene’s audition I knew that he would go far in the competition. It’s fair to say that he has delivered pretty much every week, even in the performances that I personally wasn’t really that keen on. His ABBA week contribution was probably his weakest , but hey, it was an ABBA song he was doing. If he wins the show I think he will do quite well if given the right material. My only fear is that he might easily be forgotten about – he’s a nice kid, his talent stands out, but he doesn’t. This is not a dig in any way and it is understandable given what we know about him. I hope the experience of being on the show really does bring him out of his shell, then he will really shine. In any case, I don’t think he will be going back to ASDA any time soon.

James Arthur – Of the three left in the competition, James is my favourite. Again, he has been a very consistent performer. In fact, I don’t think there has been anything he has done on the show I really disliked, apart from when they threw in the dubstep bit when he sang Adele’s Hometown1 Glory (why they did that I will never understand). While it would be great if he won, part of me is not sure he will. What works against him is the fact that he is the only one of the three that has been in the bottom two at some stage of the series, and those who have been in that situation have never gone on to win it. That doesn’t mean to say that it couldn’t happen, though.

However, if he does go on to win it, I hope that Syco do not shaft him the way that 2010 winner Matt Cardle was. It’s not wrong to say that James is similar to him in terms of that he writes his own stuff, has played in bands and done the gigs, but they are different musically. I hope James gets a chance to be able to do his own thing, and that he isn’t moulded into Cowell’s own version of Ed Sheeran (I like Ed Sheeran by the way), as it‘s clear he has got something of his own and I would hate him to lose that. I also hope that if it does go wrong with Syco, he follows Matt’s example and walks away from them, rather than stay with them and end up waiting ages to release new material like Shayne Ward did. James would do well to grow a thick skin too, as engaging in twitter spats with the likes of Frankie Boyle will only result in giving Boyle and his ilk more ammo to fire at him. Not to mention making it more likely that the media will tear him to pieces post X-Factor.

Christopher Maloney – I am going to admit it. I actually don’t mind Christopher at all. Really I don’t. Sure he is cheesier than the most mature cheddar, and his performances don’t float my boat (probably because it’s not a cruise ship), but he can sing. He was voted in by the public as the wildcard at the start of the live shows, and the public have kept him in each week. However sad it is that some other singers who we thought would be in to the end have gone while he’s remained, it’s not his fault he’s still in it. In fact, a lot of the negative press surrounding him has made me feel uncomfortable. There has always been at least one contestant each year that has been painted as a kind of pantomime villain by the media since the show’s inception. This year, however it has been nastier than ever before, to the point where I’ve felt sympathy for Christopher and also for Rylan towards the end of his time on the show. Not enough to make me want to vote for them, but enough to make me think that certain sections of both the media and the public have overstepped the mark this year somewhat. I don’t know, nor care, if Chris is a diva, or anything else that he has been accused of being in the tabloids. But even if there’s even a hint of truth in the stories about him, are those spreading them and giving him abuse any better people than he is? Somehow I doubt it.

If Chris wins, it will more likely be because of the hate towards him, rather than in spite of it. That said, there are probably as many people out there who haven’t read the tabloid stuff and voted for him because they like him, as there are those who have voted for him just to stick it to Cowell and his minions. To some, he might not be the most marketable act that ends up on Syco’s roster, but he will probably still sell records to more than just his Nan. Whether anyone will own up to owning one is another matter entirely, but whatever happens fair play and good luck to him.

So there you have it. This has turned out to be more than a little pre – X Factor final blog post. Whatever, this is the only one I have done this year. Lucky you.

The First Post Of 2012

Bank holidays are such an anti-climax. There’s nowhere to go, the TV schedules are mostly full of crap and there’s hardly anything to do. So far I’ve spent the day raiding my selection boxes, listening to my iPod and trying to get a new profile picture for my twitter. I look pale, I’ve got dark marks under my eyes and I generally don’t look very attractive in the pictures. Not that it is my intention to but you want to have a half decent photo, don’t you? Part of me thinks I should have spent longer in bed than I did. It might have been a better use of my day.

As well as this, I have been looking at some of my blog posts over the last year. I’ve seen how I tried to write a post every week during 2011, then stopped when I realised that I probably didn’t have enough to keep me going throughout the whole 52 weeks.  There have been some good posts, others where I have just written any old rubbish, some of them from when I’ve been in a low mood and just want to moan. Apologies if you’ve read any of those.  Not to mention at least one blog post which got more hits than I have got for any post on my site, which had I known, I’d have posted on my wikinut page (it might have been cool to make a bit of money from my casual ramblings, even if it didn’t turn out to be much).

So what to expect for this year then? Well, after writing more posts in December than I have at any other time of year, I hope to carry on doing it. Maybe not 16, but I guess I can manage about 6 a month, maybe 10 at a push.  I have also resolved to keep a diary this year. When I say diary, I mean that I am going to try and fill every single page of it. I bought a nice day to a page one just before Christmas, and it would be a shame to waste it (I also got two week to view ones for Christmas, which will still be useful even if I can’t write loads of stuff in them). I really want to keep up with my writing, in one way or another. Maybe I’ll attempt Nanowrimo again later this year – or maybe not. I might start making videos again after my (extremely brief) attempt at vlogging. Again, maybe not.  I guess we’ll see what happens.


Happy New Year and all that…

As another year comes to an end, some of us mark it by going out and getting sozzled on booze that costs ten times more than normal. Others choose to stay indoors and get sozzled whilst watching Jools Holland’s Hootenanny. A very small number of us choose to spend it online. Ok, it’s probably not that small really. but you get my drift.

Anyway, this blog is basically just to wish you all the best for 2012. If this year was a shit year for you, then may next year be a million times better. If 2011 was good for you, then I hope 2012 brings more of the same. And if it does turn out to be our last year on Earth (not that I believe all that BS), let’s go out on a high eh?

It’s not the end of the world…

This might well be the last blog I ever post on here. Tomorrow is Saturday the 21st May, the day that some people (ok, mad American  Christian evangelists) are saying will be the day of the Rapture – aka Judgement Day, aka the end of the world.

The first time I saw someone mention The Rapture on the internet my initial reaction was “oh, is that band who did House Of Jealous Lovers making a comeback?” It was only as I read further that I realised that they were referring to an event mentioned in the Bible where all the righteous people in the world are sent up to heaven.  As you can tell, I am not a particularly religious person.  You can also tell that I’m not really a believer in God, but neither am I an all out atheist. As an agnostic, my stance on the issue  is very much “don’t know, don’t care”.

What does get on my nerves though, is how otherwise normal people fall for the old “the end of the world is nigh” crap. If it wasn’t the Millennium Bug that destroyed us all, it’s going to be 2012. Oh wait, this rapture thing is actually happening in 2011, isn’t it? And if you go off what others say it’s a precursor to the actual apocalypse which they say will happen in five months time (that’s if you’re that gullible).  The Jehovah’s Witnesses have said Armageddon was imminent at various points since they first started knocking on people’s doors nearly every week.  And that bloke who you’ve seen on the street corner holding up that infamous sign for years is surely fed up of standing there by now.

Truth is, people have been predicting and been fearful of the world ending pretty much since the first Homo sapiens walked the Earth. Even in Roman times, people were scared that the sky was going to fall on their heads one day – well, that was what the Asterix books taught me, anyway.  What’s funny is that most of the fears and beliefs that many of our ancestors had would be laughed off as ridiculous and irrational in this modern age, yet many are still scared shitless by the very thought of an Apocalypse. What’s even funnier is that the very Christians who are declaring that the moment is here are being accused of blasphemy by other Christians who say that only God can know when it’s happening.  It’s enough to make you want to whack them both over the head with a Richard Dawkins book.

Seriously, the way that some people are so frightened of the prospect of the world ending saddens me. Life is short enough as it is without worrying that you and everyone else is going to be wiped off the face of the earth soon. We all die at some point, we don’t know when our time is up but there’s no point in sitting around, getting ever more anxious and scared of facing the world in case we get hit. Life is for living, so go and live it.  It’s what God would want you to do, should he exist.

Incidentally if this rapture thing really does happen and the man upstairs starts hoovering people up to the heavens above is it possible He could wait until Britain’s Got Talent is over before he sucks me up?