Monday, 14 December 2009


Hi Titlies et al (that’s a Titan Lovelies portmanteau I coined last week),

This week was final week, aka getinasmanyadbreaksashumanlypossibleweek, which is what they’ll officially be calling it next year actually. Dim little Stacey from Daggenham, amazingly hot Olly with dancy feet from Essex and bland Joe from some godforsaken place called South Shields went head to head to fight for the crown of COWELL PUPPET ‘09.

It was a lengthy process which claimed approximately four hours of the weekend. It was amazing though. George Michael managed to stay awake long enough to do a duet with Joe and Robbie Williams was an absolute wazzock (OK, that’s not so much “amazing” as it is “standard procedure”).

HERE’S WHAT THEY SANG (on Saturday):
Stace: first audition song – Wonderful World, Duets – Feeling Good, Best Song – Who Wants to Live Forever
Joe: first audition song – Dance With My Father, Duets – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, Best Song – Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
OLLY MURRRRS: first audition song – Superstition, Duets – Angels, Best Song – Fool in Love

Stace got the least amount of votes and was kicked off. Joe and Olly returned for Round Deux (that’s “round two” in French, FYI) last night.

Olly – Twist and Shout (how can you fail to love this dude?)
Joe – Don’t Stop Believin’ (so not as good as the kids from Glee.)

THEN they sang the winner’s song. Written for a teenage Disney sugary piece of trash. Totally fitted like a glove with both of these guys, then. It was “The Climb”.

Joe sang it better, I’ll concede that. However, nothing can hide the fact he’s an utterly boring human – please note, he NEVER has friends talking about how great he is on VTs, just “Hilda”. She can bore off too. PLUS he looks like Hilary Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry”. What Olly lacked in singing talent he made up for in personality (and looks, let’s not be shy about this) – I’d much rather watch him stumble through an E4 interview with that Welsh twonk, Jones, than McBoredry.

The public voted. In fact, more people voted for the X Factor winner than voted in the last British General Election. HANG YOUR HEADS IN SHAME BRITAIN. Take a moment to think about the moronic nature of the British public now. Go on. TAKE A MOMENT.

Right, now, moving on...

The winner was... JOE MCELDERRY. He sang his single one last time after Dermot showed him a CD case (remember those?!) of his single. Great. This also means Hannah won the sweepstakes.

So that’s it guys. X Factor has ended. It’s been emotional. Until next year...

This is Z-Factor, signing off...

In an error on my part, I didn’t collect a £1 coin (or pennies to the sum of £1) from you all to present to Hans – so please can you get your pennies together NOW to give to Hans?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


Hi X Factor Lovelies,

Welcome to the penultimate (that means second to last, yeah) X Factor email.

This week was semi-final week and all the stops were pulled out. We had choirs, dry ice and my particular favourite, the fire curtain. Ohhh yeah, now we’re talkin’.

The first round were Michael Jackson songs, because we haven’t heard enough of those this year...
Stacey – The Way You Make Me Feel (I enjoyed it. I love a bit of chair dancing)
Joe – She Out of My Life (He can sing. He is nice. But he is terribly vanilla)
Danyl – Man in the Mirror (Complete with Earth Song-themed VT. Faux pas, Cowell)
Olly – Can You Feel It (My boyfriend informs me I love Olly a little too much. We might have a problem because nothing can stand in the way of Olly and I. Anyway, Olly was amazing even if he did look a little bit like a trophy on his little tower thing.)

Then they had to sing a song to get them to the final. Perhaps I am mistaken, but isn’t this the purpose of the whole competition? Annnyway, here’s what those beautiful pop puppets sang...

Stacey – Somewhere (It was amazing, but it reminded me of my mother who used to sing this to me. Unfortunately for Stacey, my mother is tone-deaf, bless her, so it wasn’t the greatest connation)
Joe – Open Arms (Yeah yeah, he can sing like a good ‘un. He’s going to win. And by this time next year you’ll have forgotten him and wish you’d voted for Olly. Just like JLS last year. Check if I’m wrong)
Danyl – I Have Nothing (Lovely and prophetic)
Olly – We Can Work It Out (Crazy dancing legs. Lovely stuff. Louis said this wasn’t a well-known song, confirming that Louis is actually living on another planet and/or is senile.)

Lady GaGa was also kicking about in a massive bath, displaying a brand of crazy only GaGa can create. Then Janet Jackson came on and sang a medley of hits from the 1990s. Glad to see those Jacksons aren’t rinsing their dead brother for all he’s worth... Dermot was not allowed to speak to Jan-Jan. I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

No bottom two this week, and the announcements were mercifully quick. Danyl Sidesmile was kicked out. This was the right decision. Unfortunately, Olly cried A LOT. I’m going to have to have words. No one needs to see snot on a Sunday evening. This means little Matty Bear is out of the running, which is a dreadful shame. Him and his date jumper will be missed. No snot from you either, thanks Matt.

Hans – Joe
Natalie – Stacey
Rona – Olly

Until next week, this is Z-Factor signing off...

Thursday, 3 December 2009


Patient X Factor Fans,

Last week there was no Z-Factor as I was on my death bed, but don’t worry guys: I have risen again. This is the second coming of Z-Factor!

If you cast your minds back to the Saturday before last, Wham!/George Michael took over X Factor (not in person, thank sweet baby Jesus). Mariah Carey also popped by with 10 million paper butterflies. She laughs in the face of deforestation.

I won’t regale you with both weeks, so I’ll cut to the chase on Wham! Week (it’s pleasing to say that – I hearts alliteration). In the sing off was Jedward and Olly – a travesty. Where was that stupid Welsh boy?! Anyway, Jedward were kicked off. I almost had a heart attack – I couldn’t live without Olly now. Dannii tried to prove some point about X Factor not being about entertainment (good to know). I love you Dannii, but do not toy with my emotions when Olly is at stake.

This week was Take That/Elton John week – woo woo! Why TT and EJ have to share a week when GEORGE MICHAEL gets one to himself, I’ll never know. Unfortunately, neither Barlow nor EJ turned up, but the show went on regardless. I was just glad Robbie didn’t rear his ugly head again. Here’s what our lovely little idiots sang:

Stace – Rule the World (quite good. Lacked fire curtains)
Joe – Could It Be Magic (bit operatic for my liking)
Lloyd – Million Love Songs (Jesus wept)
Danyl – Relight my fire (Wouldn’t wee on you if you were on fire, Danners)
Olly – Love Ain’t Here Anymore (swoon)

Stacey – Something About The Way You Look Tonight (Sheepskin-tastic)
Joe – Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word (pretty great, actually)
Lloyd – I’m Still Standing (unfortunately)
Danyl - Your Song (bit dull)
Olly – Saturday Night’s Alright (Let’s just skip the next two weeks and make Olly Prime Minister. That is what we’re voting for, right?)

There’s no longer a bottom two as from now on it’s based on votes alone. This is a worrying development – there are an untold amount of morons out there who are allowed mobile phones. Who knows what they’ll do!! Thankfully, the morons pulled through this week and Lloyd was voted off. This means that we also lose MMR, but he will remain in our hearts forevs.

Next week is semi-final week! AMAZING. The final is going to brilliant. White Christmas Trees, children’s choirs and fake snow abound. SCREEEEEAMMMMMM! It’s CHRIIIIIIIIIIIIISTMAS!

Hans – Joe
Natalie – Stacey
Matt – Danyl
Rona – Olly

Until next week, this is Z-Factor signing off.


Monday, 16 November 2009

X Factor Week Six (sponsored by Calvin Harris)

Hi X-Types!

This week was Queen week, who incidentally have a Greatest Hits Album out this week. They advertised it in the ad breaks – WHAT A COINCIDENCE. Also, Calvin Harris stormed the stage with a pineapple and got called an idiot by Simon. Cowell is badly mistaken – Harris is a genius, Si’s just jealous he didn’t think of it first.

It being Queen week meant that Brian May and Roger Taylor were on hand to stand by a piano and nod at each contestant individually, whilst imparting words of wisdom such as “She seemed nice!” Sadly, not even Simon Cowell’s powers extend to bringing back Freddie Mercury. No, Freddie was left to spin in his grave all evening...

ALSO, Jafro wore a sparkly AC/DC t-shirt to meet Queen (!!) and Lloyd said he’d never heard of them. That alone should have put them in the bottom two! IDIOTS.

Here’s what the boys ‘n’ Stace sang...

Stacey – Who Wants to Live Forever
Joe – Somebody To Love (He was really glad Cheryl put him in the “little brother” zone last week, actually. He didn’t secretly wish flirty little Lloyd dead or ANYTHING)
Danyl – We Are the Champions
Jafro – Radio Ga Ga (every fibre of my being is repelled by this man)
Olly – Don’t Stop Me Now (oh God, I badly love Olly)
Jedward – Under Pressure (actually, Ice Ice Baby – out of time rapping is cool, y’all)

On Sunday we had several treats – Shakira bored us with her next dull-as single whilst wiggling her smokin’ body around, ALL 12 X Factor finalists were on hand to sing “You Are Not Alone” for the Great Ormond Street hospital (Michael Jackson would be so proud - he loved helping kids, touching their... Lives and stuff... Yeah!) and then May-Taylor-X Factites did some of Bohemian Rhapsody. Lloyd presumably didn’t know what the hell was going on. Jafro looked smug.

UNTIL he got put in the bottom two. BEST MOMENT OF 2009 SO FAR! Lloyd was also in the bottom two, probably owing to the fact he cannot sing for toffee. It went to deadlock and Jafro was the least popular (well done Britain, I am proud) so he was out. SEE YOU, YOU EPICALLY ANNOYING IDIOT. This means we bid farewell to Neil as well, who is not an idiot or annoying in the slightest. Sorry for your loss, Neil.

Marts - John & Edward
Hans – Joe
Mark – Lloyd
Natalie – Stacey
Matt – Danyl
Rona – Olly

Next week Mariah’s on. Can’t wait to watch Dermot try to negotiate that one.

Until then, folks, this is Z-Factor signing off...


Monday, 9 November 2009

X Factor Week Five (sponsored by Disney)

Hi X Fans,

This week was FILM WEEK over at X Factor. This meant they mentioned DISNEY'S A Christmas Carol every two minutes (no word on Dickens) and also ran A LOT of Disney ads in the multitude of breaks. Oh, and if you weren't subliminally conditioned enough to go out and buy a Disney DVD by that point, Joe and Lucie stepped in to sing Disney songs/talk about how much they love Disney. Sadly, Dermot didn't wear a Mickey Mouse suit.

Here's what they sang:

Stacey - Son of a Preacher Man (pretty good!)
Lucie - This is Me (barf)
Joe - Circle of Life (see Lucie)
Lloyd - Stand By Me (massive cringe)
Danyl - Purple Rain (not as good as RUTH LORENZO last year. If not, Ruth was Spanish - that was her "thing".)
Jamie - Crying (smug, irritating, needs a punch on the snout)
Olly - Twist and Shout (swoon)
Jedward - Ghostbusters (I ain't afraid of no ghost - brilliant)

Last night the Black Eyed Peas gave a strange (read: rubbish) performance and Leona Horse Face Lewis came back to remind everyone that being a good singer doesn't necessarily equate with having an interesting personality.

In a very strange twist in events, Lucie and Jedward were in the bottom two. WTF, voters, WTF? I know I don't vote (I'm not paying £1!) so I can't complain, blah blah blah, but here I am, COMPLAINING. Who is voting for Jafro and Lloyd?! Someone remove their phones from them immediately.

So Jedward sang Rock DJ and jumped up and down A LOT - they also leapt into the audience and the production crew almost had a panic attack. That wouldn't have happened on Brian "hoodie" Friedman's watch! Lucie Jones sang One Moment in Time. I'm sorry, I know she can sing but she's just so beige. Yuck.

Simon controversially took the decision to deadlock - cynics say this was tactical on his part. My sources (read: Digital Spy) whole-heartedly concur*. Lucie got the least votes, so was voted off.

Do you know what this means? DO YOU? It means I am freakin' out of the running. DAMN YOU WALES, you're meant to vote indiscriminately for anyone from Wales. You've failed me. AGAIN.

Annnnyway, still in the running...

Marts - John & Edward
Neil - Jamie Afro
Hans – Joe
Mark – Lloyd
Natalie – Stacey
Matt – Danyl
Rona – Olly


Until next week, this is Z Factor signing off...


X Factor Week Four

Hi all...

As we were all getting spooky last Saturday night, the real horror show was over at X Factor this week - I'm looking at you, Lloyd.

The theme was Rock and Jamie Twatfro looked like the cat who'd got the cream. It would have been too delicious if he'd been voted off this week... Sadly he wasn't.

In other news, Cheryl wore an awful dress and Danyl brought suicidal feelings into every home in the UK. Yes folks, Danyl was visibly shaken by the news stories this week that he was a bully and worse than Hitler. Unlike the tabloids to coin such sensationalist hyperboles, I know, but Dan really took it to heart. Even I felt sorry for him and emotions don't come easy to me!

Anyway, on with the guitar bollocks... I mean ballads.... This is what they all sang:

Rachel - One (U2)
Stacey - Somewhere Only We Know (Keane)
Lucie - Sweet Child of Mine (Guns 'n Roses)
Joe - Don't Stop Believin' (Journey)
Lloyd - I Kissed a Girl (Katy Perry)
Danyl - Don't Wanna Miss a Thing (Aerosmith)
Jamie - Get Your Rocks Off (Primal Scream)
Olly - Come Together (The Beatles)
Jedward - We Will Rock You (Queen)

Stand out performance award goes to Olly, who was amazing. Lucie straightened her hair and looked totally different (but wasn't great). Stacey walked, which is apparently worthy of MUCH praise (she's not THAT thick, surely?). Lloyd was awful awful awful.

Rachel and Lloyd were in the sing offs. It looked like curtains for Lloyd, who could barely sing, but Simon thought Rachel was so unpopular he might as well let it go to deadlock. Naturally, Rachel was out - a massive shame as she could actually sing, unlike Lloyd. But oh well. I've got to let this go. Deep breaths, Zo's. So it's goodbye to Rach and goodbye to Sir Phil. You were both magnificent.

Marts - John & Edward
Neil - Jamie Afro
Hans – Joe
Mark – Lloyd
Zoë – Lucie
Natalie – Stacey
Matt – Danyl
Rona – Olly

Until next week, this is Z-Factor signing off...


X Factor Week Three

Hi Xcitable X Factor Lovelies!

This week on X Factor it was Big Band week and woe betide anyone who didn’t follow the rules: Louis was ready to witter on about it all night. “AT LEAST HE SANG A BIG BAND SONG”. Awesome smack down, Louis. Simon looked really intimidated.

No one likes Big Band week. It’s boring. Thank God for John and Edward. Michael Buboring was also on hand to offer his pearls of wisdom and then he did a robotic little dance for everyone on Sunday. Here’s what they all sang, try not to lose the will to live...

Rachel “I’ve stolen Stacey’s personality” Adedji (there’s a chance I spelt that wrong) sang Proud Mary. Then she went mental after her comments. I wanted Dermot to slap her. He didn’t. Sad times.

Stacey sang an emotional... Scratch that... BORING performance of Wish Upon a Star. That’s Disney, not big band, Stace. Still, nice girl.

Lucie sang Funny Valentine, which was really good. Shame she’s Welsh. Yeah, I said it.

Joe sang Sway. Everyone loves him and his stupid teeth now. Can no one see he’s a massive cheese-fest of horror? He’s a young Cliff Richard. No good can come of this. The time to act is now, people. Get rid of him!

Lloyd did Fly Me to the Moon. When is someone going to point out that Lloyd can’t actually sing? Yeah, he has dreamy eyes but THAT DOESN’T PAY THE BILLS, LLOYD.

Danyl sang Feeling Good. It was pretty good despite him being an epic twonk.

Jamie Ego sang a U2 song. Double thumbs down in the taste stakes, dudes. This song choice incensed our little Irish judge A LOT. Shut the hell up, Louis – no one cares. I can’t wait to see Ego’s face when he gets kicked off.

Olly Murrs – the best Essex export since Lucy Dowling sang Bewitched.

Miss Frank sang That’s Life. It was way better than anything they’d done before. Even the middle one looked good – that is no mean feat by the costume department.

John and Edward did She Bangs. No one had any idea what that had to do with Big Band (Louis didn’t complain though... Double standards there, Walshy), but it didn’t matter – they were in garish suits! YAY!!!! It wasn’t as good as their Britters tribute last week, but still much more exciting than the rest of the competitors put together.

Miss Frank and Danyl were in the sing off. Both “acts” performed pretty well on Saturday, so that was unfortunate. Danyl sang Little Help From My Friends, aka the theme tune from the Wonder Years – woo yeah! Anyone with me? No? OK. Miss Frank sang Love Don’t Live Here Anymore – and they were right, as they were kicked out! Shame it wasn’t Jamie Afro, but there’s always next week. That means we say goodbye to Leelingman – you’re all familiar with that scenario as they all sodded off elsewhere anyway. I KID!

Marts - John & Edward
Neil - Jamie Afro
Hans – Joe
Mark – Lloyd
Zoë – Lucie
Natalie – Stacey
Phil – Rachel
Matt – Danyl
Rona – Olly

Until next week, Z-Factor is signing off...

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

X Factor Week Two

Hi X Factor Types!

So, it's only week two and we've already been put through the emotional wringer. This week was DIVA week, and boy oh boy did X Factor deliver!

Firstly, let's take a moment to remember Whitney Houston's performance - not the song, per se, as she mimed most of that. But she led by example on the diva act score. The look in Dermy's eyes as he interviewed her was of ONE MILLION PER CENT terror. Brilliant. To be a contributor to X Factor this year you apparently have to be coked off your face whilst claiming you've beaten your demons. Perfect reference from Derms about Whitters not "pulling any punches" - sly Bobby Brown dig? The man is a genius, even if he has sold his soul.

In other news, Cheryl Cole also performed "live". It was pretty good - she wore a hat with a larger circumference than the rings of Saturn. Ashley Cheaty Cole was there to support his wife or eye up the Twins. One of the two.

Here's what the contestants sang...

Rachel sang 'If I Were a Boy'. Poor love.

Stacey wore a bad dress and sang 'At Last'. She got mixed reviews.

Lucie sang 'How Will I Know'.

Joe sang 'Where do Broken Hearts Go?' YAWN. He is good, but man is he dull. Oh, and he used to be fat.

Rikki and his eyebrows destroyed R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Lloyd murdered 'Bleeding Love'. Cheryl cried it was so bad.

Danyl sang 'I Didn't Know My Own Strength' and Simon congratulated himself on an excellent performance.

Jay-Fro did 'Hurt' by Xtina, as predicted by our very own Miss Lee!

Olly (who is allegedly dating Lucie, rumour fans) sang 'Fool in Love'.

John and Edward wore skin-tight red PVC suits and did a routine to 'Oops I did it Again', complete with bizarre Titanic reference.

Miss Frank were on last and sang 'All The Man I Need.'

In the sing off was a SOBBING Rachel and Eyebrow boy. It was... Awkward. Rachel sang 'With or Without You' and Rikki sang 'Flying Without Wings'. Zzzz. Eventually, Rikki was kicked out. Woo hoo! No more throat infections! No more eyebrows! No more stupid hats! So it's goodbye to the lovely Indie too.


Marts - John & Edward
Neil - Jamie Afro
Hans - Joe
Mark - Lloyd
Zoë - Lucie
Natalie - Stacey
Phil - Rachel
Matt - Danyl
Rona - Olly
Leelingman - Miss Frank

Talk is that Cheryl's gone off the boil this year. I think this year's contestants are pretty dull. Next week I predict that Rachel will be out of there. Sorry Phil!

Signing off,

Thursday, 15 October 2009

X Factor Week One

*******************WEEK ONE SPOILER WARNING******************

For those who haven't seen X Factor yet (call yourselves fans?!) then look away now. Phil, are you still reading? Stop, no good can come of this.

It was the first week of live studio performances on the X Factor. There were fights, potentially homophobic slurs (know your audience, Dannii - rookie error) and lots and lots of sequins. That's right: X FACTOR IS BACK, PEEPS!

Sadly, Robbie Williams (aka officially the most annoying person in the world) was also there. He had a ridiculous quiff and vacuous and/or patronising "tips" for the contestants. It'd be easy to think that with those horror Twins and Robbie in the same room together the world would implode from the combined annoying energy coming off them all - by alas, no. The show went on... And on... And on...

Mercifully, the contestants didn't all sing Robbie's ditties. Here's what they did sing...

Rachel was up first and sang 'Let Me Entertain You'. It fell seriously short.

Kandy Rain then sang 'Addicted to Love'. It wasn't great either. Cheryl told them they still looked like strippers. Cheryl = Captain Obvious.

Lovely Olly was on next. He sang 'She's the One'. Robbie said he wanted to be Olly's best mate. Back off, Williams. Go back to Wilkes where you belong.

Eyebrows Ricky was on next. He wore a horrible suit and a stupid hat. He also murdered 'Back to Black'.

Stacey was up next. That dappy one from Daggenham. Yeah, her. She sang a Coldplay tune and made it sound pretty interesting, which is nothing short of a miracle.

Miss Frank sang 'Who's Lovin' You'. I wasn't lovin' them, Frankly. I predict cat-fights on Sugababes scale before Christmas. Check if I'm wrong.

Jamie "All I am is a hairstyle" Archer was on next. He sang 'Bring It On' - it was dull.

Lloyd who is Adam Ricketts incarnate was up next. He tried to be Justin Timberlake and epically failed. Cheryl called him a "little pop star".

Lucie was on next. I can't remember what she sang but it was really good. She got some hair in her face and looked a bit scared. Oh yeah, she sang Leona Lewis - I couldn't remember because Leona's songs are so epically boring. Poor Lucie, she's nice.

John and Edward were the standard horror show they always are. They jumped about and made the nation's skin crawl. Everyone told them they're annoying. Their mother probably hung her head in shame.

Joe turned out to be quite good looking if he keeps his mouth shut (those teeth!). He also turned out to be a REALLY good singer. Well done Joe.

Danyl Sidesmile was last up. I am bored now and can't remember what he sang. SORRY.

So the results came in. Kandy Rain and Rachel were in the sing-off. Rachel was way better at singing, natch. Then the judges couldn't reach a decision. Kandy Rain was kicked off back to Spearmint Rhino. Thank God for that. Brilliantly this also means Jonts is out of the competition!


Marts - John & Edward
Neil - Jamie Afro
Hans - Joe
Mark - Lloyd
Zoë - Lucie
Natalie - Stacey
Phil - Rachel
Matt - Danyl
Rona - Olly
Leelingman - Miss Frank
Indie - Rikki

As the weeks go on this email will get shorter, so that's something to look forward to, eh?

Z-FACTOR, over and out.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

The Start of X Factor

Last year I ran an X Factor Sweepstake at work with regular updates. The updates were so popular with my friends outside of work, they requested I publish them elsewhere, so this is what I am doing. I'm not sure if all the jokes will translate that well to people outside of my workplace.

Hi X Factor Peeps,

The names have been pulled and the results are in. Now it’s time to reveal who you all got in the X FACTOR SWEEPSTAKES ‘09.

Jonterific scored with Kandy Rain – the strippers who seem to think their previous lives are as shameful as beating a puppy to death. They just want a chance to put it all behind them! Dermot nods on sympathetically. Jonts has already sent me a Daily Mail story about KR – he is EXCITED.

Marts is behind Louis all the way – he got The Twins (aka John and Edward). They are the most annoying people on the planet after Robbie Williams (sorry Clubbo). Let’s hope they get run over by a truck soon.

Neil selected Jamie Afro – the man with an afro. His sob story is that he doesn’t like his job. Oh boo hoo, Jamie.

Hans got Joe Teeth – he has bad teeth and no personality.

Mark got crazy fringed Lloyd – he can’t sing but Cheryl has a crush on him. She’ll definitely call him a “little pop star, why-aye pet” every Saturday until he gets voted off because HE CAN’T SING.

Zoë picked out Lucie – she’s Welsh and can’t spell her own name, but she’s pretty inoffensive otherwise (Lucie that is, Zoë is definitely NOT Welsh).

Natalie hit the big time and got Stacey – Stacey is as thick as two short planks but can sing pretty well. She’ll go far I reckon.

Phil was wide-eyed with excitement when he got Rachel - “I love her!” he’s quoted as saying. I don’t know much about Rachel other than Jonty almost fell off his chair with excitement when he thought Grace Jones as entering the X Factor. Christ on a bike.

Matty Bear selected Danyl – Danyl apparently looks like a mad hunchback lurching around the stage, according to Matt. He also has a manic side-smile. I think MB and Danyl going to be swell together.

Rona picked up Olly, who is basically Will Young without a massive jaw. He’ll probably win.

Lucy/Michelle/Sarah (aka Leelingman) got Miss Frank – a cobbled together band who are probably Louis’ best hope of winning.

Indie got Rikki of eyebrows fame – he wears terrible hats and cries a lot.

Here’s a quick run down...

Jonts – Kandy Rain
Marts – John & Edward
Neil – Jamie Afro
Hans – Joe
Mark – Lloyd
Zoë – Lucie
Natalie – Stacey
Phil – Rachel
Matt – Danyl
Rona – Olly
Leelingman – Miss Frank
Indie – Rikki

I’ll get your £1 donations at the end of the sweepstakes when we know who the winner is. Try not to scream with excitement – you’re at work and it’s really inappropriate actually.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

My Face is Not an Ad

I just found out that unless you check a box on Facebook then they could be using your photos in their advertisements. I don't know about you guys, but I don't fancy potentially lending my face to some corporation's ad.

You can read more about it here.

Put simply, if you follow these instructions you can opt out of your photos being used in ads. Head over to Facebook and log in...

Settings -> Privacy -> News Feed and Wall -> Facebook Ads -> Appearance in Facebook Ads and click "no one."

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


I recently started going to "bootcamp". That is to say a high-energy fitness class held in the local park. Bootcamps have been enjoying an increase in popularity lately, whether that's because exercising outdoors appeals to those stuck in an air condition office for 45 hours a week, or perhaps because it's marginally cheaper than the gym (mine is £30 for six sessions), I'm not really sure. I have to say though that I am a convert.

I do enjoy exercising outdoors, even if other park users are scoffing barbecues under my nose as I dash past (I secretly hope they feel guilty for eating their gorgonzola stuffed beef burgers). It's nice to be out in the fresh air and the view is certainly better than that of the meat heads "spotting" each other in the gym. I also am in favour of the budget-friendly costs.

However, I think the real reason I enjoy the class is because I am inherently lazy when it comes to exercise. I'll mean well at the start of my health kicks and go to the gym twice a week for three weeks, and then I start missing sessions. My friend will only be able to meet up on an alloted gym day and instead of going to the gym a different day, I'll just not go. Then I'll start to feel guilty and have to avoid the gym because going back to the start - the muscle cramps, the feeling you're going to be sick and trying to remember how to programme the cross trainer again - it's all too much to bare. With bootcamp I seem to be able to commit - I go twice a week and the instructor, a lovely Austrian girl called Sybille will notice if I don't. She keeps saying impressive things like "this five minute sprint is as good as a 30 minute job" as I dash past her, sweating last night's wine from every pore. I believe everything she says and after four weeks of twice-weekly sessions, I am seeing results.

If all this has piqued your interest and you want to know more (don't worry, I won't mention sweating wine again - no one needs that), then I'll explain what a class is like. We warm up first - which includes stretches and balancing - I am told doing balancing exercises uses all your core muscles and tones you up without you even realising it. I am all in favour of that! Then we do a lot of lunges, squats, step ups and press ups in quick sucession. Sybille allows for beginners and is all in favour of going at your own pace, but she is encouraging enough to make everyone want to do their best for her. After doing all of the more static exercises, she has us doing a series of high-impact heart exercises - this is sprinting for your life to you and I. It is incredible how much faster you run when a super-fit, super-nice fitness instructor is cheering you on. At the end you cannot speak (and feel a bit like vomiting) because you've worked so hard. But it feels good. In the wind-down time, we do a lot of sit ups and then muscle stretches, which lengthen the muscles whilst they're still warmed up. Apparently lengthening muscles is good. Sybille said.

All this, for £6/70 mins is good value for me. I drag my housemates along with me and we have something vaguely resembling fun. I really can't recommend it enough.

For more info on bootcamps in your area, head to British Military Fitness or if you're based in North London, Sybille runs her Fit2Play classes on Highbury Fields.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

You Don't Have to be Mad to Live Here...

... but yet nutters still reply.

My North London houseshare is going through a phase of transition. After three and a half years, a handful (we are a rather large house of nine people in total) of housemates moved to pastures more glamorous (Stratford-upon-Avon, Athens and Berlin are infinitely more glam than Holloway Road).

As we bid sad goodbyes to lovely (read: clean) and fun (read: contributes to communal wine cupboard regularly) housemates, our thoughts turn to finding people to replace them and the gumtree gauntlet.

For those not familiar with houseshares in the 21st Century, Gumtree is the source to find "randoms" to replace housemates. It's a internet message board used to pimp out rooms to the great, good and desperate of London – and, I imagine, beyond.

Replies to our ads come in and a good majority of them are nonsensical. It seems that some people are using a hammer to type out words, with the effect that there are at least three extra letters in each word. A person who uses a hammer to type won't make a good housemate, so they're relegated to the "ignore" folder.

Once we get our short list together, we begin interviews. I won't deny, we're a raucous group of housemates when we're together. It's sink or swim when you come to interviews, although we try our best to make the interviewees welcome. We've had a guy that didn't take his coat off and looked petrified. We've had an Aussie girl who was positively reeling, but didn't quite know when the polite time to leave was without giving away her horror. We've also had a guy turn up drunk, tell us he's been made redundant, likes the room and is now off back to the pub thanks very much. Perhaps most worrying of all, all of these fellows told us that our place was "the best place I've seen in so long". What do they do if they hate a place?!

And I'm not saying it isn't bad from the other side either. A friend of mine went to a housemate interview where a guy insisted on taking a polaroid of each person, as if it was a model casting. "I knew then that the flat wasn't for me. It totally put me off!"

It's all very well doing interviews but you'll never really know what someone is like to live with until you live with them. You might think you know, but you have no idea. I've lived with people who've seemed perfectly normal but have turned into horror shows after a while. There was a guy who only ate fried eggs – morning, evening and night. He went through a box of 24 every few days. Consequently, the house stank like a greasy spoon cafe. I like a good fry-up with the rest of them, but I could live without greasy eggy frying pans at every turn. I've also lived with a guy who banned us from turning the boiler on, even in winter in the cruel, bleak north west of England. He informed us that we should "wear four jumpers and run up and down the stairs a few times". I suspect he's not the only person in the world to impose such sanctions on a boiler to save a few quid, too.

Tonight's the night we're doing housemate viewings. Despite all the egg-eating, boiler-Nazi freaks, I remain positive we'll find someone decent. The recession is on our side - if the Metro et al is to believed, there are more renters out there now than there has been since 150BC. The law of averages says that we'll find at least one person who will donate to our wine cupboard...

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

I _ _ _ e Dan Brown

I am a self-confessed book snob. It's awful. I judge people if they claim The Da Vinci Code is their favourite book, I shudder (on the inside) when people say, "Oh my God, I love Harry Potter. Did you read the latest one, The Enchanted Monkey from Elsavor?" In short, no I didn't read it because I am not a child.

I am all for children's books - I love them. There's nothing better than reading The Tiger Who Came to Tea to my two-year-old nephew. I mean c'mon, the tiger drank all the water in the tap and Sophie got to eat in a cafe - what is not to like about that? (Sorry about the spoilers) However, that's in the spirit of things - I am not reading about a greedy tiger alone, to myself, in my room at night. That's what irks me about Harry Potter fans - there are so many good books out there but they're reading books intended for a child – with no excuse. Ditto those Twilight books.

You see, I approach reading as a means to explore different styles of writing. I enjoy savouring new words and different approaches to narrative. I love the English language - it's beautiful when employed well. I know this might all sound very pretentious to you. You might even still be reeling for the revelation I've judged you for enjoying Angels & Demons. The thing is, with books, you can afford to be snobby. Sure, read for enjoyment, but also read something that is vaguely going to stretch you, teach you something new, inspire you in some way otherwise you've wasted your time reading some crap which you could have spent reading something magnificent. And life, as we all know, is too short for that.

My boyfriend almost visibly shudders now when someone says they've read a Dan Brown and loved it, or talks about Harry Potter. And not because he's a book snob - he's quite open-minded accepting people, whatever their personal library. He shudders because he fears one day, what he's been fearing might happen for over four years is about to occur; I might open my mouth any moment and say, "Why are you reading that crap?" and slurge forth the above rant. He is a doubting Thomas though - I might be a book snob but I do have manners.

I have a friend who changed her life after reading The Time Traveler's Wife. Whilst I read that book and was much more indifferent to it than most people, that book changed her life. OK, not every book is always going to do that, and not every book will lead you to a good place even. But at least you're in with a chance of feeling challenged by a book if you plump for something with a bit of depth to it next time you're at Borders.

I suppose there's a chance that there are people out there that don't want to be challenged. That's a strange idea to me. I doubt we'd get along...

Monday, 11 May 2009

Cupcakes and baths, Portobello style

This weekend I went to Portobello Market to see my lovely friend, Phoebe and her equally lovely boyfriend, Neil. We met up at 11am, having not eaten breakfast so headed to The Hummingbird Bakery. I got the recipe book from the lovely Charmaine (read her blog, food fans) but had never eaten any of their infamous cupcakes.

Phoebe and I walked in to an incredibly fresh, vanillay baking smell and were seduced right away. All the cakes look incredible - cookie cheesecake, carrot cake, banana bread, red velvet cake. I plumped for a chocolate brownie with a cheesecake topping which was then also topped with lashings of fresh whipped cream with raspberries muddled in. Chocolate and raspberries is one of my favourite combinations.

I fell in food-love on first taste, as did my boyfriend Andrew, who ordered the same. Phoebe got a black bottom cupcake (chocolate, with cheesecake inside and a cream cheese frosting), but I think Neil ate most of that after demolishing his apparently unimpressive savoury muffin.

Anyway, I'll definitely be making those brownies as they're in my recipe book.

After cupcakes, we battled through the crowds and antiques to the food stalls and gapped at the mile-wide (might be an exageration) paella pans filled with delicious seafoods and golden rice. We were almost regretting eating the cupcakes first. I picked up a few treats from Lush - my favourite sakura bath bomb, along with a new find - their vanilla bath bomb (comes complete with a vanilla pod). I also got a melting marshmellow island thing for my bath. I'm not keen on Lush's sickly sweet smells, so I'll see how that goes.

We eventually made our way to Ladbroke Grove tube. It took about two and a half hours. This is because so many bad idiots got in our way. I think you need a lot of patience for weekend markets in London.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


For those of you who might like to follow me, I'm on Twitter too at

It's locked entries, but just give me a heads up that you're adding me and I'll add you back.

If you're a Heroes fan, you can also follow my work Twitter at

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Facebook Pedantry

I just caught up on FaceCrack (it is not me who is so anal as to time my useage, but rather the director of my company - more on him at a later date...). I spent most of the time inwardly whimpering/screaming at people on there. It is a shame it's so addictive; I am sure I would be a much calmer person if I didn't use it.

Here's my key issue with FaceCrack: spelling. Here's another: grammar. Oh, and one more: punctuation.

I have to sit on my hands (meterphorically, of course) whilst looking at Facebook so I don't spend my hour going around correcting people's mistakes. I am aware people might think, "She needs to get out more." But I think, "Why are you openly advertising that you're a moron?" when I see errors on Facebook. We're all friends on Facebook, aren't we? Does grammar matter? Well yeah, I am your friend, but I am sitting here thinking, "You've gone down in my estimations now I know you can't spell 'definitely'."

Here are some great examples on my news feed:

IDIOT1 reckons nobody does exporting quite like the Columbians. Her new motto is, "if in doubt, go Columbian..."
She almost certainly doesn't mean people from the capital city of South Carolina. And probably not graduates of the prestigious New York university either. And anyway, what exactly could she want to import from Colombia?

wher u find me up in n7 cuz, wit da best highgrade da best lemon cuz, price on da rise so da stress levels up, if u aint talkin money get steppin youngaz.
Sorry, what? I know you from school. A fee-paying, cricket-playing, scholarships-to-Eton-pushing prep school at that.

is learning alot through his dreams lately.
'A lot' is two freakin' words.

is T-1day till Mauritius!
My anger also extends to smug idiots.

Jesus wept.

loves carrot sticks and houmus. :-).
But not such a fan of spelling, apparently.

There are many, many things that irritate me about Facebook. Mostly because it makes everyone misguidedly think they're interesting or funny and it seems to bring out the show offs in people. And the idiocy.

Not at all like blogging then...

Monday, 27 April 2009

Bad Idiots Check List

I'd say I look at people on average about ten times a day and think, "Why?" Now I've moved to London, my incredulity at the human race is only exacerbated. There are over 7million people living in London. I'd say 6.5million of those are what I technically classify as "bad idiots". Here are some examples of Londoners being bad idiots:

  • Standing at the top or bottom of tube station staircases, chatting on their phones. Getting in the way, essentially. A tell-tale sign of a Bad Idiot is someone who gets in the way and remains oblivious to that fact they're pissing everyone else off, no matter how many people furious tut at them.
  • Not keeping right. There are signs everywhere telling everyone on the underground to keep right. They have put railings down the centre of walkways for a reason. Yet some people think their place to be is much more pressing than everyone else's. So what do they do? They walk down the left channel. This forces everyone the Bad Idiot is walking against having to go single file, despite the fact they're following the rules.
  • Pretending to have a chat on the phone whilst a mile underground. Joke's on you, BI.
  • Pull-along suitcases. They are very convenient, and don't get me wrong, I love a wheely suitcase as much as the next harrassed holiday-maker. What I don't like is the idiots on the Piccadilly Line who behave as if they're not pulling a footlong dead-weight behind them. They weave through people, cut people up and leave a river of people behind them shaking their fists and rubbing their shins. BIs don't care - they're off to Tenerife and they're fucked if anyone is going to get in their way.
  • Slopping drinks. Every freakin' where. It's especially annoying as you lean across the bar to key in your PIN, or in a desperate bid to get served next, and you rest your arm in slopped drinks. You don't know what it is. Hopefully water. Yes, it must be water. Surely someone would've wiped it up if it wasn't water. Oh no, my arm smells decidedly hoppy. Great.
Do you have any pet peeves or BI traits you've noticed (disclaimer: comments about blogging about BIs definitely isn't a BI trait)? I'm not really advocating a negative tirade against humanity here. OK I am; rant at will.