Graham Norton/Niall Horan

Former One Direction singer’s new single, Nice To Meet Ya, and I admit that it’s got a nice intro that’s worthy of Noel Gallagher and Alex from the Arctic Monkeys, and I don’t say that lightly. I admit that I’m not a huge fan of Niall, partly due to him being of boy-band stock, but even I have to admit this new song of his actually sounds pretty good. An entire dimension away from what I’m normally used to hearing. If Niall’s hoping to make the transition from boy-band to serious artists this is a good way to start it. It’s my type of music and is a decent mixture of Indie, electro and acoustic. If his new album, Flicker, sounds as good as Nice To Meet Ya  then I would be solely tempted to get a copy. His performance was really good and it was quite nice to see him play with a band, almost as if they record together, permanently. Now providing that he stays on this musical route there’s no reason why he can’t become a more serious indie/rock musician.

 

Also on the sofa were Helena Bonham Carter, Oliver Coleman, Chadwick Boseman, Lady Glennconnor and Richard Ayoade

In The Spotlight: Grimes & Hana – We Appreciate Power

This is an amazing song by Canadian singer and rapper, Grimes, and features vocals by American singer, Hana. Now what is quite intriguing about this duo is that both artists almost appear to sing at the same time, but either way it adds quite a bit of depth in regards to the song. The line, We Appreciate Power goes around like a catchy hook which you can quite easily sing to. I always found something quite dramatic about certain parts of the song in both the way that the music is arranged and combined with the lyrics. Overall this is good song for anyone who’s into electronic music and shows the best qualities of its two female singers. Why Hana and Grimes aren’t better known, or recognised, in the British music scene is beyond me.

I think there’s something just a bit eerie about the lyrics with some of its lines; Neanderthal to human being, Evolution, kill the gene, Biology is superficial, Intelligence is artificial, submit submit submit submit. In a way it’s almost like a sort of futurist referencing in regards to both evolution and A.I

The video to this is definitely worth a look at and has a sort of Tron/Manga look towards it. Neither Hana or Grimes are seen singing in it and the lyrics are seen in text in several languages. Throughout the video both singers are seen in various poses either holding props or holding each other. Also, there’s some CGI shots of earth in-between

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYG_4vJ4qNA 

 

In The Spotlight: Dave Stewart & Candy Dulfer – Lily Was Here

Recorded in 1989 and released back the following year in 1990, Lily Was Here is best described in some ways as a timeless masterpiece. It was made by Dave Stewart, one half of the electronic duo Eurythmics, along with Dutch Jazz saxophonist, Candy Dulfer. Now one of the things that is so iconic about it is that it doesn’t have any vocals on it at all, not even a backing vocalist or someone saying a couple of whispering words in the background. Just four minutes and thirty-odd seconds of uninterrupted music by a saxophone and guitar playing together. The song is both smooth, melodic and in some ways somewhat haunting.

The song is to the European/ Dutch film, Lily Was Here (De Kassiere). One of the videos accompanying the song is snippets of small clips of the film which mixed with clips of both Dave Stewart and Candy Dulfer playing the track along with the backing of a pull instrumental band. The film clips that are mixed in with it tell the story of a teenage girl who goes on the run after a traumatic event and then proceeds to go on a series of robberies.

Lily Was Here is one of those songs where, providing you are into jazz and instrumental songs with no vocals you cannot get tired of easily. It is in itself a timeless classic and truly fantastic work by two separate musicians from different musical genres, and one, no doubt where you won’t mind listening to on repeat.

Here’s two for your viewing pleasure, one contains footage of Dave and Candy performing together, have a watch and enjoy

https://vimeo.com/14212055

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNS3zwlHHlU

Just Something on my Mind…

Radio might very well be changing to keep up to date with the times but it needs to remember to ‘listen’ to its listeners

IF you are a fan, or listener, of BBC Radio 2 you will have no doubt heard that the breakfast show that is presented by Zoe Ball has lost several thousand in fact. The number at the last count is reported to be 364,000 weekly listeners bringing the number down to 7.90 million. Down from the previous number of 8.72 million. Now I admit that I’m not a fan of the station, and the breakfast show is one the most important shows on the station as that’s where you get the majority of you listeners during the day. I openly admit that I have listened to the breakfast show on Radio 2 before when the late Terry Wogan was on and as much as I hesitantly thought he was alright I felt that, as a listener I wasn’t being connected with. And don’t get me started on Chris Evans, though I do feel as though I dodged a bullet by rarely listening to him.
Now whether you liked him or not but I was a huge fan of Chris Moyles when he did the breakfast show on BBC Radio 1, and I liked him for a number of reasons: one, he would regularly engage with listeners by having phone-in’s either s part of a shout-out or as part of a feature. Remember carpark catchphrase anyone? It was the one where listeners had to be in their car, Chris would ask a question and listeners would listen by honking their horns. Hence the name of the game.
Also, I just loved the banter, but I always thought that that was where the show was actually succeeding, by actually engaging with the audience. I think in some ways this was where some radio stations, including Radio 2 are more than likely to be failing. I mean by all means you can read out a text that has been sent in by a listener or fan but that doesn’t mean that you are engaging with the people.
Let me give you an example. Some time ago, Greg James, who currently presents the breakfast on Radio 1, and someone who I listen to on a daily basis, once presented his show from a butchers/bakery. Much respect to him as his philosophy behind it was ‘what makes my day more interesting than that of the listener?’, quite right to I thought and he makes a valid point.
What I found that this also showed that the production team were more than willing to take the show on the road and invite members of the public to appear on the show. I remember listening to them when they did this and felt an immediate sense of listener pride and satisfaction as I felt that they realised that it wasn’t solely all about them. If you can cast your mind back to when they did Glastonbury and Radio 1’s Big Weekend they spoke to fans, roadie’s, production crew and people who helped out. They even carried out interviews with the locals.
Now if a radio station and a radio show can do all of that then that alone can demonstrate actual listener engagement. That plus the odd quiz and game-show where listeners are encouraged to phone in and take part. If Radio 2’s breakfast show can do any, or all of that, then they won’t have a problem with not just attracting listeners but keeping them as well.
For me, the way I’ve always seen it, is that the majority of the mornings are about waking up, having breakfast then getting ready to go out to work. And something I’ve always believed that go down well without fail is having a conversation with someone, cracking a few jokes and a bit of harmless banter. And it is true though isn’t it in that it starts the day off on a good note.
At the end of the day it is all very well having a decent presenter who is nice and knows how to talk, but unless they are actually willing to engage with the listener, you might as well just have a pre-recorded show or aim the whole thing for a different age gap. But take notice of all that and you can definitely see why many people are either switching onto other stations or just switching off full-stop. If I was listening to a breakfast show, even I would be expecting to hear a few phone-ins, even if it’s just for laughs, I’d be feeling connected to.

Graham Norton/Camila Cabello

As a former member of the girl-group, Fifth Harmony, Camila Cabello absolutely wows as a solo singer and really comes into her element. Tonight she performed her new single, Liar, and it is amazing. Now I’ve seen footage of her live performance and she oozes confidence on the stage and make that spot her own, and has equally as much confidence to use her full vocal range. Whilst on-stage she wore red and it made her look sassy to say the least and she ozzed femininity. And it was a PVC suit which made the performance just that bit more daring. Liar as a sort of hit Latina quality about it and sounds like one for the summer playlist. It sounds like up beat happy song and one you could sing along to. Even though she was on-stage with five other dancers she is someone you simply cannot take you’re eyes of her. As a music lover I defy to look at her and not feel mesmerised by her. Oh, and she’s a Game of Thrones fan

Also on the sofa were GoT’s Emilia Clarken and Jason Mamoa , Ross Noble and Regina King providing laughs, banter and discussing upcoming projects.

Graham Norton/The Sugababes

After several years away from the lime light one of Britain’s best-known girl bands, The Sugababes, made a come back and it was with the original line-up; Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy. They performed the late 90’s hit, ‘Flowers’, a garage classic originally performed by female duo, Sweet Female Attitude (SFA) with DJ Spoony. Now I remember the original line-up when they first emerged and it took me a while (and line-up change) to get into them. As much as I would have liked to have enjoyed their rendition of the garage classic sadly I just couldn’t get into it. Some of it may be because I’ve since grown up a bit since Sweet 7, the other might be because I’ve drifted away from that genre. Another reason why this girl band’s is that they are nickname as the time-lords of pop as every 1-2 albums there was a change in the line-up. Now I proudly call myself a fan in the past but sadly they weren’t doing anything for me this time.

Also on the sofa were Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Debbie Harry and Nadiya Hussain to discuss their upcoming projects as well as the upcoming film, Terminator: Dark Fate

Just Something on my Mind…

When we come together as one does it show real human kindness, regardless of who we are. So why not do it all the time?

 

AS a person with Autism I can understand all too well about how it can feel when it comes to isolation and being judged by others. A young girl from Wales called Remi turned five the other day and was left feeling upset when only two of her friends showed up for her birthday party. The young girl asked her mum “Where are all my friends”. Her dad put an invitation up online for anyone to join them. You can imagine their response when many people turned up at the doorstep with their children carrying both cards and gifts.

Now as a person who has a disability, I know all too well how you can be left feeling like an alien when no-one will give you the time of day. I mean for all we know the other families and their children could have either already made prior arrangements or the children were sick. We don’t really know. But the parents invited ten and only two showed up.

Looking at this story it just reminded me of my own experiences growing up in the local community, trying to get along and be accepted by my peers, as well as everyone else.

One of the problems with Autism is being able to form friendships and relationships with people, and that isn’t always easy. Growing up with a disability I felt like an outsider, continuously observing my surroundings and wanting to be liked by my friends. Though unlike Remi, my diagnosis came about at a time when mental health issues simply weren’t spoken about and people with various disabilities were looked upon as weirdos.

Even though there were only meant to be seven spots up for grabs it looked as though a small crowd arrived at the Eden Play Centre where the party was held. The girl’s parents said that they simply overwhelmed by the response that the had from random strangers. Fourteen children dropped by along with their parents. Some stayed for the party whilst other popped round to wish her a happy birthday and left cards and presents for her.

It is stories like this one I find which can show the shame in some people, but it can also show the warmth and kindness in humanity when everyone becomes one. After reading the story it also reminded me of the BBC series, The A-Word.

The A-Word is a programme starring former Dr Who star Christopher Eccleston, Inspector George Gently’s Lee Ingleby and Grantchester’s Morven Christie. Max Vento plays the character of Joe who has Autism.

In the series Joe displays unusual behaviour, shuts himself away from other children and displays problems with communication. Rather like myself, he finds solace in music and possess vast amounts of knowledge of the music in which he listens to. Whenever I look at the character of Joe it does in many ways remind me of what I was like at that age as I loved listening to music and would have happily listened all day long. And also, like the boy, I to found some comfort in listening to music as it gave me some form of distraction from what was happening around me.

Even though there are many people out there who live with various disabilities, be they physical, learning or genetic, we need to remember that they are human beings and deserve love, respect and compassion as much as the next person. Whether you have a child like Remi or not this story should strike a chord with you when it comes to human behaviour and how we treat each other. Now I know that her story, with the help of her parents found its happy ending, but we need to remember what is was that started it in the first place.

Now I know that I am not giving much in the way of a happy story here because the sad truth is that when we talk about people and disability there isn’t always a happy story to tell. As a society we need to deeply look into how we both view and treat people with these sorts of problems as it is one of the numerous ways in which we can help sort out this problem.

Since the party the family have been contacted by the parents of other Autistic children to offer both play dates and support. It is just random acts of kindness like this which show that, as a society, we are capable of showing compassion and if we could do it all the time, we can be prouder of ourselves.

Please follow the link below to view the story

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-50086800?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/wales&link_location=live-reporting-story

In The Spotlight: Jess Glynne – Thursday

Taken from her second studio album, Always In Between, and just three minutes thirty-four seconds long the song sounds both heavily filled with emotion and intimate. Thursday is all about feeling beautiful and being able to overcome your personal insecurities and being able to love yourself. Very much like embracing your inner-beauty and being able to love yourself. I feel that this is one of those songs which speak on a personal level whilst carrying the encouragement of self-empowerment. The lyrics are so strong and emotional without being too in-your-face and there is a line in the lyrics where she says “And I just want to feel beautiful” just goes around and round and definitely strikes a chord with you. In another part of the song there’s a couple of lines where she says “Don’t want these tears inside my eyes, yeah, don’t wanna wake up and feel insecure”. What I find quite clever about the song is that its title, Thursday, only get said five times and that’s when she’s referencing accessories or make-up.

The video to this song is entirely in black and white which adds to the sombre tone and, in some ways, carries more meaning. Every so often she looks into the camera and there’s a few clips where is seen looking into a mirror.

I remember watching her perform this at an awards ceremony on TV ages. As part of the performance she was on-stage with other women, all various sizes. At the start of the song they’re all wearing make-up and throughout the performance they wipe it all off.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0v30jKH958