This Is Pop #11

Question: At what age does it become unacceptable to still have crushes on pop stars?

I mean, perfectly harmless crushes, of course. Not the sort that develop into going through their bins, appearances in Court and restraining orders being issued.

I ask this because a pop singer’s name came up in conversation with Kay at work (I’m not sure how, I suspect that, as with so many conversations we have, she misheard something I said and asked me why I’d just mentioned this particular pop singer) and on the bus on the way home, the stomping ground of many an obsessed pervert over the years, I realised I’d had quite a thing about this popstress back in the day.

The first time I heard her, back in 1989, just like Vienna she meant nothing to me, for she was what I assumed to be “just” a session singer on a record by an R&B act with a terrible pun for a name. This record, in fact:

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D Mob Introducing Cathy Dennis – C’Mon And Get My Love

D Mob knew something we didn’t at that point, of course. Did you spot it? That’s right: not D Mob featuring Cathy Dennis, but D Mob Introducing Cathy Dennis. “Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow D Mob to introduce you to Miss Cathy Dennis.”

Those crazy D Mob boys knew what they were unleashing on the world alrighty.

My ignoramus belief that she was nothing more than a session vocalist (who, I realise now, are generally incredible singers) seemed to be vindicated when the first three singles she released in her own right stalled at numbers 93, 48 (so close!!!!) and 95 respectively.

And then, in 1991, two years after that inauspicious debut, came the biggest hit of her recording career:

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Cathy Dennis – Touch Me (All Night Long)

I was 21 years old when that came out in 1991, and yet I still recall looking up over the pages of the NME when it came on The Chart Show one Saturday lunchtime, and feeling my little heart beat so hard that I hoped my girlfriend didn’t wander into the room or else I’d have to explain the copious amount of drool on my chin.

Remember I mentioned those three flop singles? Well, actually it was just two, for the one that reached #93 and #95 was actually the same record released twice. Still, third time’s a charm, and so it was that in July 1991 it got released again, and this time: bingo! #13:

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Cathy Dennis – Just Another Dream

Two hits into a career and we all know what record labels want an artist to do next to cash in on them cement their reputation: release a ballad…

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Cathy Dennis – Too Many Walls

…and then follow that up with one last single from her “available in all good record stores now” album:

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Cathy Dennis – Everybody Move

And then, suddenly it was all over. Yes, there were a couple more minor hits, and a brief flirtation with the UK Top 20 again in 1997 with a cover of The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” which I’m not going to trouble you with here, and there was the time when she quit Club MTV’s first tour amid claims that she had been sexually harassed by one of Milli Vanilli, who presumably wasn’t lip-syncing on that occasion.

But it seemed to me that just as quickly as she had breezed into my life, so she was gone again.

Or so I thought.

For unbeknownst to me, Dennis had merely gone off to reinvent herself, and boy oh boy did she ever did that, writing or co-writing three of the biggest selling and – let’s be honest – best pop records of the 21st Century, namely this…

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Britney Spears – Toxic

(I think that’s the third time I’ve found an excuse to post that record here)

…and this…

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Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

(Kylie’s Harry Houdini tribute act needed some work)

…and this…

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Katy Perry – I Kissed a Boy

I watched Katy Perry’s Glastonbury performance a few weeks ago, and as I sat there watching it I found myself thinking: No really, at what age does it become unacceptable to still have crushes on pop stars?

More soon.

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This Is Pop #10

You were warned.

When I first started writing this sporadic thread, I featured a record by Girls Aloud, and mentioned that others by them would feature again at some point.

And so here we are.

I don’t have anything else to say about Girls Aloud that I haven’t already said, other than to reiterate they made some bloody great pop records.

And this, which almost has a rockabilly feel to it in places, is an absolute corker:

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Girls Aloud – Love Machine

More soon.

This Is Pop #9

A little while ago, when I could be arsed to write this regularly, I posted a track by Sugababes, and made reference to a single they did with Richard X.

Well, here’s another single from the same album, this time featuring the gorgeous Kelis singing The S.O.S. Band’s “The Finest”, all mashed up with Human League’s “The Things That Dreams Are Made Of”.

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Richard X featuring Kelis – Finest Dreams

I’d imagine Jamie Theakston, to this day, still has to pinch himself to make sure he didn’t imagine that he once dated Kelis. That’s if he doesn’t have somebody else pinching him, of course, like the prostitute who “tricked him” into visiting a vice club (just the once of course) where he was photographed and subsequently blackmailed.

Which neatly leads me on to another great pop record by that saucepot Kelis:

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Kelis – Trick Me

More soon (after a cold shower).

This Is Pop #8

Generally in this thread, with the exception of the post about Sugababes, I’ve featured pop acts who have made one, maybe two, records that I like.

This week though, a band who I love, who you probably do too, but who it took me some time to actually admit that I like them.

I’d been aware of the Pet Shop Boys since before they were famous, since Head Boy Neil Tennant was writing for the much-missed Smash Hits magazine when I first began getting my Mum to pay for it in the early 1980s, and I remember them getting quite some coverage when he left. There was one interview I remember where he divulged that prior to joining Smash Hits, he had worked for the UK branch of Marvel Comics, employed to anglicise the text, and to ensure that no drawings of female characters included any surreptitious nipples. Can’t think why that stayed in my mind.

I’d thought “West End Girls” was pretty good, liked “Suburbia”, loved “What Have I Done To Deserve This?”, their duet with Dusty Springfield (mostly because of Dusty, it has to be said), but not enough to actually, you know, buy any of their records.

Have a listen to a piece of impeccable pop:

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Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done To Deserve This?

There’s a bit in “What Have I Done….” where Tennant’s delivery always, without fail, makes me think of T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Arthur Prufrock”, a poem I had studied at 6th Form at roughly the time that the single came out, and which I had fallen in love with almost immediately. You can read it here.

And then there’s Dusty; the bit where she just breezes into the chorus is just…heavenly.

Yet still my shelves remained a Pet Shop Boys-free zone

And why would that be? Well, I’ve written elsewhere admitting that when I was growing up, I had a general aversion to any record which didn’t contain anything sounding even slightly like a guitar, and today’s group definitely fall into that category.

As well as this unjustifiable phobia, they had annoyed me by keeping The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl’s “Fairytale of New York” from the Number One spot in the UK with a bloody cover version, a heinous crime in my book.

By now, I had graduated from the glossy fortnightly pages of Smash Hits to the grubby weekly music paper NME.

And then, this happened:

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This really annoyed me. Not in a Noel Gallagher “Jay-Z shouldn’t headline Glastonbury” kind of way; I had no issue with the Pet Shop Boys being on the cover of my beloved NME, it was the tag-line that got my back up.

“The Smiths you can dance to“.

The inference being that you can’t dance to The Smiths. This incensed me at the time. How they dare imply such a thing??

A few years ago I found myself in an Indie club, and the DJ dropped “This Charming Man”, and I suddenly realised they had a point. Have you ever tried dancing to that, without resorting to doing a Morrissey impression? It’s nearly impossible, the time signature is not conducive to anything other than an awkward Dad-dance shuffle.

So, in short, that tag line confirmed everything I thought: the Pet Shop Boys were the enemy.

I’m not entirely clear when that changed, but it was probably when Johnny Marr formed Electronic with Barney Sumner of New Order fame, and got Neil Tennant to make a guest appearance on a couple of tracks. Hang on a minute…if Johnny likes them, then what the hell was my problem?

Fast forward a few more years and one day I was in Cardiff’s branch of Fopp (R.I.P.) and there was their Greatest Hits album, “Discography”, going for £2.00. I examined the track-listing. How could anyone resist this list of supremely arch and, yes alright, danceable list of hits:

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Not one duff track to be found there. Why were these songs not already in my life?

Because sometimes I’m an idiot, that’s why.

I admitted defeat. I had been wrong. Moments later it was mine.

If I had to pick one song by them that I love more than any other, it’s this next one. The lyrics evoke “The Day Before You Came” by ABBA, which I’ve written about before.

Older and (a bit wiser) I now realise that a band who can make you think of one of the greatest pop singles ever recorded and poetry within two songs is a very special band indeed.

And that record is this:

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Pet Shop Boys – Left to My Own Devices

In 2010 I was at Glastonbury and was lucky enough to catch Pet Shop Boys’ headline set on The Other Stage on the Saturday night. They were incredible, without doubt one of the greatest sets I’ve seen, not just down on Pilton Farm, but ever. The set was a mix of “the classics” – Dusty made an appearance, albeit via a video screen – and new stuff which was so instantly loveable it felt like I knew them already.

There was even a cover of a song which I didn’t recognise as being by Coldplay until it was way to late to stop myself joining in with the crowd-singing.

Have a look for yourself:

Majestic.

Sometimes it’s alright to be late to the party, as long as when you finally arrive you’re able to admit that you wish you’d set off earlier.

More soon.

This Is Pop #7

Over the years, Sugababes, with their ever-changing line-up, which now consists of precisely none of the original members, have become the source of many a joke for precisely that reason. Since the line up has changed, Sugababes should no longer be called Sugababes, goes the argument.

I think that’s rather unfair. Nobody says Arsenal shouldn’t be called Arsenal anymore, just because it hasn’t got the same players as it had in 1886, do they? They might win more games if they did, mind (I know, I know: unwise words when the North London derby is on the horizon). No, any right minded football fan insists they should be called Woolwich, where the club was formed.

Anyway, formed in 1998, founder members Siobhan Donaghy and Mutya Buena – both aged 13 – had been signed by All Saints manager Ron Tom as solo acts, but met at a showcase and decided to work together. Buena invited her friend Keisha Buchanan to watch them rehearse one day, and Tom invited her to join the band, comparing the three of them to the United Colours of Benetton advertising campaign which was causing as much controversy as it could at the time.

Originally named the Sugarbabies, this was changed to Sugababes when they signed to London Records, to give them a more mature image. They had their first hit in 2000. Which makes them 15. I wonder: is it appropriate to foist the moniker “babes” on 15 year old girls?

I’m reminded of a routine by comedian Ed Byrne, who, believe it or not, has done jokes which are not about Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic”:

In 2001, Donaghy quit the band, and was replaced by former member of Atomic Kitten, Heidi Range. Of course, when looking for a new band member, your first port of call would naturally be someone who used to work with Kerry Katona.

To be fair, it seemed to work, for in 2002 the band enjoyed their first Number One single in the UK with the Gary Numan/Tubeway Army sampling cover of American R&B singer Adina Howard’s “Freak Like Me”, and their second with the follow-up “Round, Round”. There’s a cracking Soulwax remix of that which I posted some time last year, so the link’s probably dead by now. I’ll dig it out again sometime.

The next single was “Stronger”, written by the band along with a chap called Jony Rockstar. I suspect this may not be his real name.

A year later, they were back, with their third album, entitled “Three” (see what they did there…?), but not before they had released “Shape”, which sampled Sting’s “Shape of My Heart”. Critics were sneery about the sample, yet I don’t recall anyone complaining that 1994 classic movie Léon was spoiled by having the Sting song played in its entirety over the closing credits.

Buena left the band in 2005 and was replaced by Amelle Berrabah (you are keeping up with all of this, aren’t you?) leaving just Buchanan as the sole original member. Four years later, and with the band’s selling powers on the wane, she followed suit, being replaced by Jade Ewen who had represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest earlier that year (we’ve been here before, I think…). She performed the Andrew Lloyd Webber penned “It’s My Time”, which it clearly wasn’t as she came fifth.

Sugababes, I’m surprised to learn, have not officially split up, although they haven’t released anything new since 2010. For some time the remaining members occasionally announced that they were either in the studio or working on new material, as if it were the sort of announcement that should be immediately followed by a ticker-tape parade and the announcement of a public holiday.

But band members old and new have kept themselves busy: Mutya Buena appeared in, and walked out of, Celebrity Big Brother 6. She now owns the rights to use the Sugababes name on paper, cardboard, stationery and gift wrapping products, but crucially, not on any records. But you can’t move for Sugababes embossed paper, cardboard, stationery and gift wrapping products can you, so it sounds to me like she got a pretty sweet deal.

Keisha Buchanan recorded 50 songs for a solo album which never saw the light of day; in an interview she explained “there is no particular musical direction” which might explain why she wrote that many songs. Either that or she mistakenly thought she had joined The Magnetic Fields.

In 2012, it was reported that Range was going to join the Spice Girls, replacing Victoria Beckham, a rumour quickly scotched by Emma Bunton. Instead, she turned her attention to television, where she was to be a team captain on ITV1’s “Totally Senseless”, along with Brian Dowling and host Steve Jones. Ever heard of it? Me neither. Probably because ITV ultimately declined to pick the show up.

Just let that sink in for a moment: a show so bad that even ITV won’t air it.

I’m shocked – how could a show with such a glittering line-up of talent fail?

In 2013, she was first to be eliminated from the 8th series of Celebrity Masterchef, when she presented Greg Wallace with a Pop Tart.

In 2013, Jade Ewen was one of the celebrity contestants on ITV1’s godawful diving show “Splash!”; she was the first to leave the show and revealed afterwards that she only did the show for the money. No shit, really?

Just let that sink in for a moment: “Totally Senseless” was considered by the powers that be at ITV to be worse than “Splash!”

In November 2015 Ewen announced that she had won the coveted role of Princess Jasmine in “Aladdin”, which is definitely a musical and definitely not a pantomime.

In 2006, British Hit Singles & Albums named the Sugababes as the most successful female act of the 21st century. Yes, you read that correctly: the most successful female act in a century that was a whole six years old.

But enough of this sniping. Sugababes genuinely did make some bloody great pop records, and today’s choice is where it all began, back in 2000,with this, which has the greasy paw-prints of one Mr Rockstar all over, it if I’m not mistaken:

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Sugababes – Overload

More soon.

This is Pop #6

Blimey, where does the time go? Has it really been….oh wait.

It occurred to me after last week’s post about Blue, that maybe this thread has already become something different to that which I created it for.

See, the idea was that I wold write warmly and affectionately about Pop Songs which I genuinely love, and every post so far has been about exactly those sort of songs.

Yet, for the majority of the post, and last week’s was a case in point, I spend 95% of the time slagging the act in question off, then the last 5% confessing that they made one record I rather like and posting it. And it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, this is my way of proving that I like the one record, by demonstrating my dislike for everything else said act ever recorded, said, did, breathed, or farted.

I dunno. Maybe I’m thinking about this too much. But I decided that this week, I’d feature a pop song that I like by an act that I know nothing about, and know no other songs by.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I hit 30, I had what I now recognise as being Mid Life Crisis Number 1. (I’m currently just about over Number 3. Or maybe it’s 4. I think it’s probably healthy that I’ve lost count.) But at the age of 30, Mid Life Crisis Number 1 manifested itself by making me go clubbing. A lot.

But part of the problem with starting clubbing at that age is that you soon find out there are many sub-genres of what I broadly class as “dance music”. You also – and by you, I mean me – find out that you have no idea what any of those sub-genres are, or what they sound like, and even when they are played next to each other, you can’t tell the difference.

Two examples. I was once at a night upstairs at the Clwb Ifor Bach on Womansby Street in Cardiff, seeing some DJ or other, the name of whom perhaps unsurprisingly escapes me now. Stopping to have a cigarette break at the back of the room, I got chatting to a bloke, and it transpired we’d both been at a club night elsewhere a month or so previously. I asked if he had enjoyed it, and he kind of turned his nose up and said “It was okay…but not quite as breaky as I’d hoped.”

I’m sorry, what now? “Breaky”? As in “Achy Breaky”? Was he disappointed that there wasn’t an outbreak(y) of line-dancing? I decided rather than ask him and look stupid, I’d nod sagely, and then ask my mate what he meant a bit later.

“He means break-beat,” was his reply. I again said nothing, nodded, and decided that I’d have to find someone else to ask what that meant, and keep going, asking someone different every time, until either I’d asked everyone in the world until I was back round at the first bloke again, or until someone gave me an answer I understood, which ever was sooner.

Another time, about ten years ago now, I found myself working in the worst job in the world: cold calling people, on their mobile phones, and trying to sell them a new mobile phone contract and, most importantly, persuading them to give me their bank details so I could set up a direct debit. You know those people trying to get you to donate to charities that you cross the road to avoid? It was like being one of them, except without the eye contact, without the “you’re doing a good deed”-ness of giving to a worthy cause, and, most importantly, with the added attraction of being told to fuck off approximately 97 times a day. I was terrible at it, which since the basic salary was so pitiful that you had to make some sales just to be able to eat, was not good news.

On top of that, bar one or two recovering alcoholics and/or junkies who’d been forced to apply for a job there to get them off the dole, I was by far and away the oldest member of staff there. The kids around me were all nice enough, but I didn’t really fit in. One was a lad who was a Dubstep DJ. I had no idea what that meant, and feigned knowledge if ever we happened to speak. He clearly wasn’t taken in by me.

Probably because we bumped into each other one night in a bar. There was a DJ playing some tunes I didn’t recognise. He seemed to be enjoying it, so I asked him if this was that Dubstep stuff he was always banging on about it. He looked at me with genuine disgust.

“This is Dizzee Rascal,” he said. I deduced from this that Dizzee Rascal does not make Dubstep records. And by the way, I have no idea if that’s really spelled Dubstep, or dubstep, or dub-step, or whatever. Dubstep, schmubstep.

So when I tell you that today’s choice is, apparently, from the bassline house scene, you can take it as given that I have no idea what that means and have read it somewhere. Besides, I was under the impression that all house records have a bassline, but what do I know?

Further investigation reveals that bassline house is a spin-off from the UK garage movement. Of course it is. That’s music that can be blaring from Kevin Webster’s tranny on Corrie, right? (Not having watched the show for about five years, I have no idea whether or not Kevin still owns a garage, by the way. I just wanted to use the phrase ‘Kevin Webster’s tranny’, if I’m honest.)

Now stay with me, because this is where things start getting complicated. For today’s song is by a duo called H “Two” O. H “Two” O hail from Leicester, and consist of Selim Ben Rabha, who is also known as “Solution”, and Simon McDevitt, AKA “Oz”. The pair also go by the names of “Hit ‘Em” and “Hard”, which I can’t decide between pathetic or pitiful to describe. That’s way more alter-egos than anyone needs to have, unless they are trying to remain undetected by either the police or the taxman. Or both.

H “Two” – no, wait. I can’t go on without saying something about the inverted commas around the word Two. The inference isn’t that the “Two” is somehow inaccurate, possibly knowingly so, but since there are actually two of them in the duo, then the inclusion of the inverted commas is entirely redundant. Which, since I’ve never heard anything else by H “Two” O, might make their inclusion a little more appropriate.

There is absolutely no need for the inverted commas around the word Two. I know that. You know that. But seemingly Selim/Solution/Hit ‘Em and Simon/Oz/Hard don’t know that, so I’m going to have to keep referring to them as such. Please be advised that every time I write it, it is through increasingly gritted teeth, my fingers bashing at my keyboard in barely suppressed rage.

Joining H “Two” O (grrrrrr….) on today’s track is a bassline vocal group called Platnum.

No, I haven’t misspelt that. I think we can safely say that nobody involved in today’s record were paying full attention in Chemistry lessons.

And so to the record itself. This is not a record that a man of my age should like. I am clearly not the target audience. I’m so far removed from the demographic, I can no longer see the demographic. So, perhaps I like it because by the time it came out, in 2008, it was already old hat. A review of the single I found on Digital Spy described it as “as dated as a cassette recorder”, and that “its banal 2-step beats [Sorry, what’s this now? 2-step..??], characterless vocals and cheap, trancey synths…it sounds like an Ayia Napa also-ran from 2004.”

That must be why I like it: because by the time it came out, it’s chances of ever being played on Ayia Napa – a holiday destination I have no inclination whatsoever to visit – were already at nil.

God knows there’s no other logical reason I can come up with to explain it.

Brace yourself.

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H “Two” O feat. Platnum – What’s It Gonna Be?

More soon.

This is Pop #5

Where do you start when dissecting the appeal of Blue?

Well, perhaps most importantly, I should start by pointing out that pretty much every record they ever made was, to put it as politely and honestly as I possibly can, shit.

Yet somehow they managed to rack up 40 number one hits globally and sell 15 million records. And amongst that, they managed to persuade Stevie Wonder and Elton John to not only allow them to record godawful covers of two of their hits, “Signed, Sealed Delivered, I’m Yours” and “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” respectively, but also got the megastars to appear on the record with them.

Let’s be honest, there’s very little to like about Blue.

Take Lee Ryan, for example. In 2001, the band were in New York when the attacks on the World Trade Centre happened. Interviewed afterwards they are asked not, as one might expect, whether they thought they may have been the intended targets, but for their thoughts on the atrocity generally, Ryan answered: “This New York thing is being blown out of proportion”, which shows not only a staggering lack of awareness, but only a gob-smackingly poor choice of words. “What about whales?” Ryan continued, “They are ignoring animals that are more important. Animals need saving and that’s more important.”  Yes, Lee, whales are important, but there’s probably better days and places than to raise this point, to be honest.

Ryan announced on 2008 that he was engaged to a woman he met on Myspace. Myspace! In 2008!! They were probably the only two people left on Myspace by 2008! He may as well have announced that he Asked Jeeves to find him a bride! Anyway, that relationship was short-lived after she accused him of assaulting her, although I should stress that all charges were dropped. Unlike that time in 2003 when he got an eighteen month driving band and a £2250.00 fine for drink driving. Or that time in 2007 when he was arrested and charged and successfully prosecuted for assaulting a taxi driver. His defence rested on him feeling “targeted because he is famous”. Well, there’s a very simple way that can be remedied, Lee…

Such was his dislike for being “famous” that he appeared in the 2014 series of Celebrity Big Brother, where he earned himself the reputation for being one of the most odious people walking the planet, quite some achievement bearing in mind he was sharing the house with Jim Davidson and Dappy from N’Dubz. He became involved in a “love triangle” with Casey Batchelor and Jasmine Waltz, two names which trip off the celebrity tongue closely followed by the words, “I’m sorry, who now…?”. After the show had finished, Ryan and Waltz briefly became a couple, until she ended it, citing Ryan’s ego as being instrumental in the break-up, as well as insinuating that the whole band were suffering from depression due to their lack of success since reuniting in 2011. But more of that later.

Blue split up announced they were going on a hiatus in 2005. I say Blue announced that; I imagine that, given the correct use of the word “hiatus”, someone at the record company wrote a press release on their behalf. You’d think that would give us some respite, but no, for two of the foursome swiftly turned their attention to the glittering prize that is The Eurovision Song Contest.

In 2005, Ryan wrote “Guardian Angel” for former member of 3SL (nope, me neither), failed ‘Pop Idol’ contestant, and, worst of all, sibling to Lisa out of Steps, Andy Scott-Lee. Alas, Andy (and Lee) lost out on representing the UK when Javine was selected in his stead, with her song “Touch My Fire”. (Javine is not Health & Safety trained. You should never touch fire, even if it does belong to Javine and she tells you it’s okay.) Now, I’ve never heard “Guardian Angel”, nor do I ever want to, but since it was deemed not as good as “Touch My Fire”, which managed to amass just 18 points and finish 22nd in the Eurovision Song Contest Final, I’m guessing it’s not much cop.

A year later, 2006, all eyes turned to the next member of Blue destined to restore some national pride. Step up to the plate one Anthony Costa. On “Making Your Mind Up”, the show where the UK entry to the competition was decided, four music biz types renowned for not just their knowledge of pop music, but also their availability, sat on the panel, invited to pick a winner from those delicious talents on show. Two, Fearne Cotton and Bruno Toniolo, plumped for Costa and his song “Its a Beautiful Thing”, whilst the other two, Kelly Osbourne and Jonathan Ross, sided with eventual winner, “Teenage Life” by Daz Simpson. (Seriously, what sort of middle-aged crisis do you have to be going through to insist people still shorten your name to a three letter word ending in a ‘z’?)

You’ll remember “Teenage Life”, of course. No? Brace yourselves:

Yes, the UK public picked that indescribably cringe-worthy piece of pap as not only the song most likely to win the Eurovision Song Contest, but, more importantly, a song which was better than Anthony Costa’s effort.

“Teenage Life” finished in 19th place with a 25 points. The wiki entry regarding the 2006 competition contains quite possibly the nicest thing ever written about that record: “Coming up to the 1,000th song, the United Kingdom’s entry this year was the 994th song in the Eurovision Song Contest’s history.” High praise, indeed.

But what about our boys in Blue? What happened to them next? Well, spurred on by Costa’s celebrity endorsement by no-less a respected luminary than Fearne Cotton, they reformed in 2011 and were promptly snaffled up to represent the UK with their song “I Can”, which always sounds like it should have the words “Tina Turner” at the end of the title. They came 11th with 100 points, which to be fair, is a whole lot better than we’ll ever score again, now that we’re telling the rest of Europe to do one. See, that’s a side-effect of Brexit that brown-nosed toad Farage et al forgot to mention, wasn’t it?

Duncan James insisted that the result wouldn’t affect their UK comeback. “Should the worst happen,” he said, “we’re still going to press ahead with the album”, not fully comprehending that them pressing ahead with a new album was pretty much exactly, word for word, the dictionary definition of the worst happening.

In the meantime, there was of course “Blue Go Mad in Ibiza”, a show which I never saw (it premiered on ITV2, would you have watched it??), and which followed the band as they ran their own bar out on the white islnd. Little did the boys know, but the whole show was a set up: everybody involved with the bar (excluding Blue themselves) were actors who purposely made things as awkward for them as possible. I’ll be honest, I wish I had watched that.

Of course, now Lee Ryan has met some actors, he’s decided he can be one himself. He is about to – if he hasn’t already, I’ve no idea, if he has then he’s not had any scenes with Danny Dyer – appear in ‘EastEnders’ as (of course) “bad boy” Woody Woodward, so I can learn to hate him all over again if I choose to. By the way, a measurement of time has not yet been invented which is brief enough to describe how long it took the scriptwriters to come up with that name. Woody Woodward. They may as well have called him Cocky Cockcock and been done with it.

I’m reminded of the time when Ryan appeared on “Never Mind The Buzzcocks”, and seemed less than keen to promote the gangster film he had just appeared in. If I were writing a click-bait ad, it would read something along the lines of “Watch Lee Ryan get totally destroyed” now, but I’m not, so I won’t:

Anyway, now I’ve said all that, I must confess, I have a real soft spot for this, their debut single, despite its studious following of the each-member-must-take-it-in-turns-to-sing-a-line boyband template, it’s dubious use of vocoders, their insistence to holler things like “Yo yo yo” slightly off-mic, and them all being, y’know, total dicks:

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Blue – All Rise

More soon.