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THEZAPPING POPTASTILICIOUS 21 SONGS OF THE WEEK:
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21 ~ Dashboard Confessional, Stolen
20 ~ The Magic Numbers, Take A Chance
19 ~ Elton John, Tinderbox
18 ~ The Feeling, Love It When You Call
17 ~ Lily Allen, Littlest Things
16 ~ The Ordinary Boys, I Luv You
15 ~ Gavin Mikhail, Brave
14 ~ Emma Bunton, Life In Mono (new entry)
13 ~ G4, Danny Boy
12 ~ Westlife, The Rose
11 ~ Switch22 – Back On The Dancefloor
10 ~ Simon Curtis, Broken
09 ~ Jamelia, Beware Of The Dog
08 ~ Scissor Sisters, Land Of A Thousand Words
07 ~ BWO, Will My Arms Be Strong Enough?
06 ~ The Killers, Bones
05 ~ Paolo Nutini, Rewind
04 ~ McFly, Sorry's Not Good Enough
03 ~ Simon Curtis, Put Your Make Up On
02 ~ Deborah Gibson, Sounds Like Love

01 ~ Take That, Patience (2 weeks)
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and as a cheesy festive new year bonus here is an mp3 of the one of the first singles that i played to death...
MP3: Renee& Renata - save your love (genius!)

Ugh being ill in any holiday season is just wrong and ridiculous. My nurse friend ruthiepoos has given me so invaluable tips so I am going to drug myself up and hope for the best. I really want to go out tonight (I have a killer new outfit - uber stylish!) and don't want to let darren down either. My throat is practically closed off though and i'm either freezing cold or sweaty and clammy (yum!) and my legs feel like lead. Boo! What's particularly crappy about it is when i had non hodgkins lymphoma several years back, i would go for chemo, come home, throw up for a few days and then have a horribly sore throat. So it kinda brings back unpleasant memories :( But enough of the maudlin - on with the remnants of posts that i wanted to post in the last couple of months but never got round to! (PS- i think i'm delirious from all the pills I'm popping! I wept like a baby when they got it together at the end of movie Failure to Launch!)
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THEZAPPING DIRECTORY:
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11 to watch in 2007
Simon Curtis Special (Part one)
Simon Curtis Special (Part two)
Top 26 tunes of 2006 (26 thru 11)
Top 26 tunes of 2006 (10 thru 1)
Top 20 Albums of 2006 (20 thru 11)
Top 20 Albums of 2006 (10 thru 1)
Thezapping competition
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THE SINGLES THAT SHOULD BE, BUT PROBABLY WON'T:
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Once signed and given a snifter of success, the very best brains and huge amounts of cash are put behind marketing the band and choosing the strongest songs to promote the music to the public . Thezapping is constantly amazed then, that some of the choices are mindbogglingly crap. Here are some suggestions to keep recent albums buoyant in 2007…
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~ The Killers: Bling – the most overblown song on a glorious and increasingly brilliant overblown album. Brandon Flowers is channelling Bono and doing it very well (and I'm not even that fond of U2)! When this track is performed live at the summer festivals, you just know that buildings will be trembling in awe…
~ Elton John: Never Fade Away – The voice seems deeper and less malleable than usual, but with a melodramatic such as this, Elton John remains a master craftsman who transcends trends and is eternally timeless…
~ Lily Allen: Knock Em Out – Love her or hate her, that is the question. Or is that Lady Sovereign? Any"hoo", the favourite loud mouth of 2006 not only paired trainers and dresses, but churned out sing a long anthems such as this that reprimanded male sex pests by way of a two tone rhythm and Betty Boo pianos. And soundtracked a brilliant scene in Entourage…
~ Scissor Sisters: Just Might Tell You Tonight – The other jakeypoos shows he is not all go-go dancing and promiscuity as he sings a tender love song about growing old together. Having and being with your soul mate has never sounded so serene and gorgeous…
~ Snow Patrol: You Could Be Happy – so far, La Patrol have shown they can rock, soundtrack tragic tv moments and do indie chantreuse duets with the first three singles from Eyes Open. Next should be this tale of love and regret set to the lovely tinkling of a music box…
~ Jamelia: Do Me Right – I still stand by Window Shopping as the third single, but to ignore this pop gem with spine tingling bhangra beats, sitars and raga tinged MC-ing would be criminal (and probably a reflection on a chart that refused to be beware of a Depeche Mode sampling dog. BOO!)
~ Keane: The Frog Prince – Sigh. It was Christmas. The season of giving, so I decided to plough through turgid Under The Iron Sea one more time. Bad Dreams is quite nice, but this song with it's forlorn refrain – "you've wandered so far from the person you are" – is a hidden highlight I had missed out on. And XO agrees ;) Sounds autobiographical, but actually is about Johnny Borrell. Allegedly…
~ Robbie Williams: Summertime – the raves from Nick and Adem convinced me to stick with my fave male artists's latest opus a little while longer. Everytime I listen to it a different song stands out. Currently it is Summertime – an inspired ode to Ibiza-esque raving produced by William Orbit…
(with assistance from the 100 tracks you should've downloaded feature in Q magazine!)
THE PERFECT PORTABLE:
Upgrading my archos from a 420 model to a 504 in the pre-Christmas sales was a brilliant inspired move. The new model s a veritable video powerhouse – it's screen is bigger than the old one and poos all over the iPod's tiny effort. The 80 gb of memory holds all the illegally downloaded shows you could ever wish to watch (Ugly Betty, Heroes, The Oc, Desperate Housewives, et al) and plenty of thezapping's very favourite pop artisits. Perfectly marvellous, I tells ya – and the double battery life is pretty decent too…
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LINK: Purchase the Archos 504
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THE SWEET SMELL OF ME:
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The most important thing about choosing a fragrance that will make you smell sweet ass sexy isn't the aroma. Although clearly that is quite important, obviously. No, it's all about how hot the guy advertising the fragrance is. Which is why I have switched from once hot now not CK to these two lovelies. First up is the warmth and sensuality of David's Intimately Beckham. Apparently it fuses bergamot and grapefruit with just a splash of nutmeg. It's actually quite comforting and finally is a celebrity fragrance worth spraying on your man-fou…
. Now the man with one glove does look like someone elses head on my body ;) Black XS from Paco Rabanne (meaning excess not extra small as I erroneously thought!) is a blend of cinnamon and sage and has quite the seductive whiff to it. Whenever I wear it, DazProzzy can hardly wait to get into my pantaloons! The packaging is equally fine as the smell and now has pride of place on the bathroom cabinet. Marv, etc…
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LINK: Purchase Intimately Beckham
LINK: Purchase PR Black XS
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THE NEW HOLLYBLOKE:
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I used to love Hollyoaks. It was the Sunset Beach of Britain. Adultery, theft, gay rape, murder, prostitution, etc and all on at 6pm in the evening. Then, I kind of didn't have time for it anymore so during the laziness of Christmas, I thought I would tune in to see if it was still as crazy as ever. It was – Christmas tree sabotage campaigns, a young mom plotting to bump off her hubby for the insurance money and some underage lad who shagged his teacher tied up on a boat to stop him testifying at her trial. Brilliant! And then there is Benjamin Hart who plays Foz, an art teacher. Not only is he a gayer in real life, but he was a copper in the Spice Girls "Wannabe" video and the lover in Dannii's "You Won't Forget About Me" promo (who he is now best friends with!) And as well as steaming up the screen on Hollyoaks, he has been cast in new gay rom-com Mr Right due out next year. Those are some credentials that thezapping approves of…
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LINK: Hollyoaks website
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THE NEW TO THEZAPPING TRIAL FEATURE:
.Usually people who do folk-y music aren't blessed with stunning good looks. Take the Indigo Girls. I mean, God, I love them and their socio-political ditties, but they didn't half fall from the top branch of the 'less attractive' tree. So colour me shocked when I – in one of my must-own-everything-at-christmas moods – purchased Sufjan Stevens 'Song's For Christmas' opus (my first SS purchase) and discovered that not only does he put out stunningly original collections of songs, but he is an alterna-hottie singer too! Who knew – well apparently, a quick google search reveals that quite a lot of rabid adoring fans are already out there. And he has quite the back catalogue – Seven Swans is his unique take on Christianity, while Michigan and Illinois are part of a massive effort to write about every state in America, embracing an abstract view of the world (can't wait to hear his take on Utah!) Which is probably why he likes the gays, as we often have a unique outsider skewed perspective on life too! Good for us, etc….
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LINK: Sufjan's myspace site
LINK: Purchase Sufjan's Christmas CD set

THE REVIVAL DAZPANTS IS FIZZING AT THE SLIT FOR:
. Little DazPulsator and I both love musicals, but often have different tastes in which ones we like. So when we agree we need to snap up those front row tickets tout de suite, as le francais say. So when a brief revival of Little Shop of Horrors was announced, DazPictionary nearly love- wee'd all over the leather sofa. And it's on at the incredibly pretty and gorgeous little menier chocolate factory theatre – which, believe it or not, used to be a chocolate factory. No really! Marvelous :) After an incredibly successful run of Sunday In The Park with George, this promises to be the most full on and fun show about a man eating pot plant that the theatre has staged! I'm just counting on Darren squeezing my knee with excitement during Downtown. Oh, and the theatrical ending rather than the movie finish, please sirs!
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LINK: Menier Factory website
LINK: Purchase LSOH Original Cast Recording CD
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THE COUPLET OF SONGS:
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There are some songs that just deserve to be played back to back. Not because they sound identical, but rather because their lyrics and musical style perfectly compliment each other and, oh heck, if songs could get married then definitely, these songs would be heading down the aisle for civil partnerships and marriages galore! Here are just a few groups of songs that I think utterly belong together…

Deborah Gibson – Raise The Roof / Bette Midler – Mambo Italiano
~ Deborah goes a bit dancey and channels the Sex and The City theme with this plinking uptempo little ditty celebrating the need to party. Which leads rather perfectly into Bette's cover of the Rosemary Clooney classic, all flamenco, groovy beats and a whole big dollop of campness mixed in for your enjoyment…

Scissor Sisters – Land Of A Thousand Words / BWO – Will My Arms Be Strong Enough?
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Nick summed it up perfectly when he said that LOATW was the spiritual successor to Mary – both are languid, laid back love songs with a strong hint of doubt mixed in. BWO continue that theme with the ultimately uplifting ballad about love, hope and redemption…

Jesse McCartney – Beautiful Soul / Deborah Gibson – Naked
~ both tunes have a great acoustic earthy vibe to them, and are about embracing the person within and being yourself. Both are very sing a long and have big crescendo's leading to glorious choruses that will have you singing along for many a week…


Scissor Sisters – Laura / Take That – Shine / Mika – Stuck In The Middle
~ three tunes that all have a very distinctive opening piano melody that – while in the case of the latter two, isn't exactly the same as the Scissters intro – has a certain familiar ring to it. All three tunes are great amazing pop songs. PS. Mika review coming in the new year…
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THEZAPPING STARTS HIS NOVEL:
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Sadly the picture above isn't an all new foxy boyband for your viewing and listening pleasure. Nor are they close friends of mine who posed for a quick photo to promote my book. No they were some models photoshoot in Mate magazine, but it kind of goes with the theme of my novel. Obviously I can't give too much away here, but lets just say that a boyband is very much the central character and there is a Desperate Housewives style mystery running throughout it leading up to a shocking ending. The process of writing it is quite interesting – I know what the mystery is, I know the beginning and the end and what I basically want to happen along the way. It's stringing it all together that is the challenge! It's my major project in 2007 to get it finished and when I do, you guys of course will have a sneak peak!!
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THE RUBBISH GUILTY PLEASURE:
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Dante's Cove is rubbish. Brilliantly so - in the way that only Sunset Beach and Passions have previously embraced. There is a healthy mix of young relationships, bitch slapping step fathers, and of course the old ancient curse that haunts Dante's Cove. The writing is awful, the acting worse and everytime they get near anything remotely resembling a plot, the writers seem unsure of themselves so just write in lots of sex scenes. It could be a great show and it has an interesting premise. However, for now, I'm just addicted to it's cheesy rubbishness!!
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LINK: Dante's Cove myspace site
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THE GREATEST HITS DONE RIGHT BLOWOUT SPECIAL!
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LINK: Whitney Houston (including mp3 of new single!)
LINK: Madonna
LINK: Robbie Williams
LINK: Sophie Ellis Bextor (including mp3 of new single)
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THE NEW YEARS GREETINGS!
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Happy new year everyone - thanks for sticking with thezapping and entertaining me with your comments and opinions throughout 2006. Much happiness and prosperity to you all in 2007 :)
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MP3: Abba - Happy New Year
MP3: Sugababes - New Year
MP3: Barenaked Ladies - Auld Lang Syne
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Coming Monday – the first of thezapping record company project acts gets it's first single release; a look at what other singles are out this week;
Coming Tuesday - a review of two albums including Mika; a look at some of the top acts tipped by the media to keep an eye on in 2007

CLICK HERE FOR OUR COMPETITION
CLICK HERE FOR THE 11 TO WATCH IN 2007 FEATURE!
CLICK HERE FOR PART ONE OF THE SIMON CURTIS FEATURE!
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Yesterday, i published the first part of a rather epic Simon Curtis feature, and I'm rather pleased that I did get my highest number of page hits for over 4 weeks :) Part one featured a review of his as yet unreleased album, some additional songs he has recorded and the first interview I did with Simon. So without further "ado", let's get on with part two!!!
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THEZAPPING INTERVIEWS SIMON (AGAIN):
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11. Since I "spoke" to you last, there have been a few new developments in the world of Simon Curtis that impact on the release of Alter Boy. Are you able to elaborate on this any further?
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Yes, I am thrilled to announce that I have finally procured proper management for once and for all! woohoo! haha.
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I truly am very thrilled, as the man crazy enough to take me on is a somewhat legendary figure in the music industry. His name is Robert Fitzpatrick, and although he is rather low-key in comparison to such other industry greats as Clive Davis and such (as far as his public persona is concerned) the man’s list of accomplishments in the industry is unparalleled. He was The Beatles’ entertainment lawyer, the Bee Gees manager (along with Robert Stigwell), and single-handedly assembled/managed Cream (and after their parting of ways, Eric Clapton). The list goes on and on, but to be able to say that the Bee Gees manager even remotely finds my music appealing, much less wants to manage me, is really mind-boggling. He’s such a great guy, already is like family, and completely “gets” my vision of what I want to accomplish, and the kind of artist I want to be. That is paramount in a manager. I am still somewhat reeling that someone of that calibre, with a history such as his, still has the foresight to see where music could, should, and needs to go, just as he did back in the day.
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Unfortunately though, for anyone waiting on the previously impending digital release of Alter Boy, this might be just a bit of unwelcome news, as those plans have now been scrapped. Right now the plan is to begin major label shopping here in the US come January with the primary intention of procuring a direct-distribution deal (where basically a label would buy the rights to distribute my completed album, pay for mastering, promo, etc. As opposed to a normal record deal where a label might sign an artist and oversee the makings of the album, etc). So while this may sting a bit for those of you waiting patiently, I promise that this is good news, and very well could lead to an infinitely bigger release on a much grander scale. We shall see…

LINK: Robert Fitzpatrick's myspace site
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12. In one of your myspace updates, you mention that Put Your Make Up On is in limbo due to those pesky guys at Xenomania owning the credits to thepopjustice theme. Is that correct and where are you up to with that now?PYMO would make a great single...
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Yeah, good ol’ Peter Robinson over there is quite difficult to get a hold of to say the least! I must’ve sent him 30-40 emails regarding that stupid song! As of right now, I have been told that the track that Xenomania created for the contest is not public domain, and therefore renders it off limits to me if say, I would ever like to release PYMO as is. BUT in the great game of legal jargon, loopholes, etc, we are knowledgeable enough to know that while they may own the rights to that particular musical arrangement/track, they do NOT have any legal standing over the song I wrote to it. Now, while I don’t want to burn any bridges over at Popjustice (cause I love that site, and hope they will eventually warm up to me as I progress in my career), I know that I MUST have that song on the album, it’s presence is not only necessary, but an integral part of the album’s appeal as well. Without it I am afraid the album would be rather dark, and much angrier than I intended it to be. That song in particular shows that I can write a song that is fun, effervescent, and a bit whimsical to a degree and not have to dumb it down in order to do so. So just in case the track does end up getting officially rendered off-limits when the time comes to release the album, Jeff went ahead and created his own version of the track that is 100% his original creation and sounds 99.9% identical to the Xenomania one. It is really incredible that he was able to do it, not only without any live guitar to help out, but without any knowledge whatsoever of what programs, sounds, etc, that Xenomania used in theirs. While I must admit I want to do everything I can to use the original, Jeff’s creation surely will suffice if any problems do arise.
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13. Talking of singles, I have my own opinions on which tracks would make knockout releases from Alter Boy. Are there any in particular that you woulddefinitely push for a single release?
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Hmm, that really is a tough one. Answer has my vote for the first single, but I would love to see Sugar Sugar White released, simply for its lyrical content and the much-needed dialogue it would open here in the U.S. That song in particular I really think could help launch things simply due to its highly controversial subject matter. Casual Encounter is another one that I think could make a fantastic single; the video, the remix potential, the controversial nature of its content all give it the trappings of a single in my opinion. I think Broken would be a stellar single, but I wouldn’t want it to be my first, as I think it would somewhat misrepresent me as an artist initially. I want the first single to be one of the provoking songs on the album. Like if Jive released Crazy instead of Baby One More Time as Britney’s first single, I don’t think her career would’ve exploded how it did. Crazy is an utterly fantastic Swedish-pop gem, but Baby One More Time was edgy, controversial, and crafted in a way as to allow a lot of subtext and sexual connotation, which, in conjunction with it’s glossy sound and completely commercial appeal, made it a global smash hit, and a launching pad for her entire career. I want to release a Baby One More Time first, not a Crazy.
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14.In England we have a really popular radio show called Live Lounge where current chart acts cover songs by other acts in the charts e.g. Sugababes did Arctic Monkeys, Girls Aloud did Amy Winehouse, Take That did Kaiser Chiefs, Scissor Sisters did Franz Ferdinand? If you were on that show what song would you cover from British or us charts and why?
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Eep, this is a tough one, as there are countless songs I’d love to cover. I don’t know about any songs that I’d like to cover from the American charts at the moment, and I’m not quite up to date with the British charts either, but I can most certainly fill you in on the covers I’d love to perform during the prerequisite “cover section” of my future, first world tour! lol J I have always been a fan of the female pop greats, and I think it’d be interesting to give some of my favourite Britney and Kylie songs a male perspective, especially in a big pop-concert setting.
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First on my list would probably be Can’t Get You Out of My Head, simply for its arena-friendliness. That song is one of the great pop anthems that can instantly ignite the energy in a multi-thousand person audience. The “lalala” alone sends audiences into a frenzy. If I did another Kylie song, I’d like to do something more obscure, yet still high energy like Burning Up, from Fever. I have a really high voice when in falsetto and can hit all the little chirpy notes she hits in it, and I think a male singing it would be totally unexpected, very Prince-esque. I’d have to perform a Britney or two, simply to pay tribute to her, as she was for a very long time (and hope she can become once again) my favourite popstar of all time. Her performances were nothing short of electric, and her songs, perfection. I’d probably perform BOMT in its original form, as Britney herself hasn’t performed it in years and surely audiences would go mad hearing the first iconic “dun dun dunt” piano hits that open the song. Ahh that’d be so cool. Haha, could whip out (quite literally actually) the scandalous stage-performance material and do some dark, twisted, S&M version of Slave 4 U, but don’t know if that would ever come to fruition! Hahaha, I’d have em’ rolling in the aisles, no doubt. Rather unlike the reaction Madonna or Prince would illicit with a similar stunt!
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I’d have to perform Bye Bye Bye, as it truly signifies the pinnacle of Swede-pop and would drive an audience nuts, and I’d love to also perform Darren Hayes’ Unlovable. That song is my favourite song of his, so emotionally charged, intimate, and scathing, and everyone always says I sound like him, so go figure. I’d love to do a little live medley tribute to my beloved A*Teens as well!
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As far as cover records go, I think I’d like to reach a littler farther back than the 90’s and early 2000s. There are tons of great disco songs that I think would sound stellar with an updated, electronic pop sound; Bee Gees, etc. I’ve always wanted to do an update of Animotion’s Obsession with Britney; truly would be the dream duet right there. There are really tons of songs I’d love to put my spin on at some point, but alas, I love writing too much to ever do a cover album I think. One or two covers at most, and only if I feel I could bring something new and fresh to the song.

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Simon was most generous in his candid answers and also with his time, so thanks VERY much for taking the time out to do this interview. And for the unseen photo he provided above. And looks forward to his twisted S&M version of Slave 4 U ;)
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THE SIX DEGREES OF SIMON!
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As soon as I had discovered Simon, I quickly followed the links through to Jadion then Fayden then Iced Entertainment and finally Bliss. I knew they were all interconnected (or at the very least had worked with each other) but I wasn't sure how! Thanks to the magic of Jadion, I finally have a clear-ish idea of how it all fits together. OK, here goes: Simon is a singer, who obviously also writes songs. Jadion is his producer and has worked really closely on Alter Boy with him. Fayden is a singer-actor-model who has worked with Simon and Jadion on some of his songs (simon wrote Hypnotic and you can hear him singing backing vocals on it too) and who also runs Iced Entertainment Media with Jadion. Simon is not part of IEM, although he has written a song for Bliss who are (and that song may well be genius. Trust me). Get the point? Good. Let's dance.
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LINK: Jadion's myspace site (check out his aces remix of Buttons by PCD)
LINK: Jadion's official homepage
LINK: Fayden's myspace site (stream Hypnotic)
LINK: Fayden's official site (check out his version of The Dance)
LINK: Iced Entertainment media myspace site
LINK: Iced Entertainment media official homepage
LINK: Bliss' myspace site (check out the Jadion produced Take Me Home. Brillo!)
LINK: Bliss' official site
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THEZAPPING READERS WEIGH IN ON ALTER BOY:
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There is nothing more exciting than when other people share your enthusiasm for a new artist, and in preparation for this feature, I alerted several other bloggers and thezapping readers to the tracks on Simon's website and asked for their opinions. Some absolutely love him. Most really like his unique yet familiar take on pop. And a couple - well, they didn't like every track, but they tracks they did like they loved! And all agreed that Simon could be a driving force in bringing pop back to the charts. Here is what they had to say...
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POPPOSTERGIRL (Veronica Mars):
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I think probably an unmissable part of understanding and appreciating Simon Curtis’s music is the lyrics—the commentary they provide swings from personal to political, and they’re meant to be dark in subject, a darkness which the music enhances. What I really like about Alter Boy, though, are the soundscapes Simon and producer Jadion have created. Words are part of that, but in the sense of how they fit in and sound. The album overall is pop, but it’s got an electronic edge, and it doesn’t sound like anything in the Top 40. I’m tempted to start throwing the word “experimental” around. There are moments where that feels especially true—“Halo,” for example, chops Simon’s voice up to turn it into the beat itself. There’s also a sense of greatness, grandeur, or a desire for the epic (listen to that intro and then tell me that’s not what they’re trying for!). It’s a pop/electronica epic, though, so hooks are never in short supply. Over the course of at least sixteen tracks, the album never sounds the same. That’s not to say that it’s schizophrenic; even beyond thematic connections, the album does definitely have musical coherence, but no one song sounds like another.
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Some highlights: the soldier chant-sampling “Left Right Left;” the perfect anger of “Sugar Sugar White,” which has a middle 8 that reminds me of Moulin Rouge’s “Hindi Sad Diamonds” (but given that very little of Moulin Rouge is original, they probably used a sample or cover that I just don’t know); the catchy chorus with its stretched-out words of “Alter Boy;” “Halo,” which originally closed out the album and provided the music for the intro and, to me, sums up what the album is about; and “Put Your Makeup On.” And, of course, the song no review of Alter Boy would be complete without reference to: “Broken.” It may not be dealing with social commentary, but it is easily the most addictive song on the album. That chorus—oh my gosh! And the middle 8! And the bridge! Really, the whole song is just captivating for reasons I haven’t yet worked out. Honestly, if you don’t want to spend the next week being forced to compulsively listen to it, avoid “Broken” at all costs. Deliciously dark and, as I said, addictive. For sheer enjoyment, the only rival to “Broken” comes in the form of parts of “Put Your Makeup On,” with Xenomania (as part of the PopJustice theme contest) providing the music backing and Simon singing a super-accessible pop song over the top. The key moment in this song, and one that Paul has mentioned before, has to be near the end, where we get a near perfect combination of music and lyrics, with Simon singing about getting harassed for his musical tastes, written in the form of a back-and-forth between him and his critics: “As a kid, I got a lot of shit for/liking my music, but what is it for?/You should listen to this because it gives more/Yeah, but it’d sound lousy on the dancefloor!” It’s not meant to be an in-depth defense of the merits of pop music, but it is meant to reflect the instinctive response that many people have—the desire for music that’s fun, not caught up in itself—and, in that respect, works perfectly by being itself what it most desires.
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The introduction to the album asks, “If you could hear the sound, would you listen?” Given my current lack of faith in the public, I fear I may already know the answer to that question, but whenever Alter Boy is released, I can only hope the world responds with a resounding “YES!”
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(thezapping note: PPG and I often have conversations over Broken and Put Your Make Up On and regularly say things like "can simon do no wrong?! ;) Read PPG's previous post on Simon here)
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ELECTROQUEER (Raj)
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(thezapping note - Raj fell in love completely with Simon's music and kindly chose today to do his own post about Simon that you can read here. he felt that would get Simon more exposure. Here, then is just a sample of his brillo review!)
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"At the tender age of twenty, Simon Curtis seems hellbent on bringing a different type of pop to the world which is aching to be heard. His edgy and thought-provoking lyrics have us questioning...Is he old enough to be singing about such saucy subjects? Well the answer is, 'We don't care...it's great music and Simon promises us that the resurrection of pop will soon be upon us. Even if the resurrection doesn't sustain, we are overjoyed to bear witness to a new musical messiah in the making."
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PAY CLOSE ATTENTION (Dan)
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I've listened to the entirety of the Simon Curtis CD several times. I do like it - quite a bit in fact. I think Simon has a great voice and a great sound that's familiar enough but new enough to attract attention. I also think that his songs transcend typical pop songs. One of my favorite stories that I tell about pop music is that one time when I was in college, a good friend of mine was having boyfriend trouble, and she said to me, "A pop song should NOT know how I feel." - I think that she was specifically referring to Michael Bolton, and in that respect, I would have to agree. I mean, Michael Bolton able to express what I can't? Surely not! But as far as general pop songs go, my reply to her lament is "If it doesn't, what's the point?" That having been said, I think Simon has a great potential to speak about great issues under the guise of wonderful pop music.
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Case in point - "Religion Reduced" which is one of the songs I really like on the album. I don't know what it's like in the UK, but here in America, the word Christian has become reduced to "right-wing homophobic intolerant asshole." And that's really unfortunate. And I think this is the message that gets across in the song - along with the "believe in your own spirituality!" line - which to me says "don't let the right-wingers be the ONLY representative of Christianity." Again, this might not be as big of a deal in the UK right now, but rest assured, in the U.S., it's one of the biggest dividing lines in our culture right now..As far as fun pop songs go, there's nothing that's going to beat "Put Your Make-Up On." It has a driving pop beat and Simon really sings well on this one. I think I especially appreciate the bridge of the song - and what good is a song without a good bridge?? - talking about he got shit for the music he listened to as a kid and how he should listen to such and such, only it wasn't worth a damn on the dance floor! *raises hand* Hmmm...well, that could be taken straight from the pages of my life.
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All in all, I hope that when they release the CD, they cull some songs and make it a stronger, shorter album rather than a long, all over the place album. I mean, the songs are all good, but less is more sometimes. This is so true with so many artists - especially established ones. I'll take a tight 10 song album like Madonna's Music over a meandering 17 track CD that doesn't know when to call it quits. And yeah, some of the songs sound a little bit same-ish, but that's not all bad. I just think that a shorter, stronger album will help quite a bit. But what do I know? I'm certainly not a record producer. I'm a mere consumer.
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NATHAN (Zapping reader)
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First of all I totally agree that he has super infectious songs yet a differentiating image enough to be mega successful here and in the U.K. As for my personal preference, my favorite songs were: Put your makeup on, Broken, and Naivite.... I also liked: Return to Sender, Alter Boy, and The Kids In.... The rest of them will def stay on my ipod but prob. will get skipped about half the time I listen to this playlist. They were good though who knows maybe the rest will grow on me. I would also love to see him do more "fun" songs too about less serious stuff, but maybe thats not what he's all about. I can't wait to see what he has in store for performances (maybe cd:usa or trl) and/or music videos, but I'm sure you'll be right on top of that when it happens.
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JEREMY (Zapping reader, actor, poet and all round nice dude)
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simon curtis describes himself as a cross between darren hayes and daniel bedingfield, something which he is very justified to do. on the whole his sound rmeinded me of 90s pop music, however the track Answer, which of the ones I listened to was, for me, the standout track and immediately reminded me of Darren Hayes album Tension & The Spark both vocally and stylistically. This song is beautifully crafted and amazing to listen to as you can just chill to it, but would also be great on a night out. Another strong track is Bones with its great sampling and simplistic vocals. For me, the only let down was ut Your Make up On which felt was weak and unoriginal. On the whole however I think Simon's sound is top class. His infuences are very obvious however he manages to make his mark on a well trodden genre.
(thezapping note: After we got this review, we explained to Jeremy the background to PYMO and that the music wasn't Simon's composition)
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DON'T STOP THE POP (Rob(o)pop)
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(thezapping note - Rob was very generous in his time and effort he put into the review which was indeed very long! I'm going to print an edited version here, but it's fair to say Rob wasn't overly taken with Candy, Left Right Left and Sugar Sugar White, feeling they weren't the best tracks and didn't appeal to him at all. Vicious started to win him over and then he really liked (on a ten out of ten basis) Broken and Casual Encounter. Here are his reviews of those songs)
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Vicious: Now this is more like it! Vicious is a sublime song but again its missing something that pop songs must contain. Perhaps a catchy melody wouldn’t go amiss? This bitchy tirade about some gossiping queen ultimately fails for being overproduced and at times the baseline misses the beats of Simons stunning vocal harmonies. Overall however Vicious is a strong track that recalls Goldfrapp, Darren Hayes, Kylie, Duke and Malou. Lyrics: 7/10 Music: 6/10
Broken: Oh its getting better. Theres even a outline of a poptastic of a catchy tune in Broken. In fact I love this song. Its Swedish by design and would be a song that Britney would kill to record as her comeback single. If you’re a fan of Robyns Be Mine you’ll adore Broken. In fact the 2005 Swedish no.1 sits well with Broken for it delivers a very similar sense of becoming single and having ones heart ripped out. Lyrics: 9/10 Music; 10/10
Casual Encounter: About sex again? Perhaps cruising? Who cares(although it’s getting a bit tiring and if you're making sex sound boring you know something isnt right). This is best track on the album. Thankfully the skippy baseline that marks out all of his work takes a much needed break and is swapped with some sparse ethereal electroblue finishes that bode well with his voice. Casual Encounter is the first sign of originality, sensuality and is the most interesting track hes done. Not only do we have stunning shards of innovative eastern strings and muttered words that chime along to the break-beat but your pulled into a spectrum of classical electronic spheres that crash and collide with the melancholic use of a naked violin section. Simply haunting and totally memorising. Lyrics: 10/10 Music: 10/10
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Thanks to all the bloggers and readers who contributed and gave an objective overview of Simon's music :) Oh! And here is another link we found to someone who wrote about Simon long before i was an alter boy convert!
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Phew, that was long wasn't it. Be sure to check back Sunday for an end of year blow out spectacular (all the things i have had jotted down for the past couple of months but never got around to writing about!) Oh and check out Modern Fabulosity who very kindly named me best music blog of the year. Thanks :) Oh, i promised myself i wouldn't cry ;) You guys rock too :)

CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO OF OUR SIMON FEATURE
CLICK HERE FOR OUR 11 TO WATCH IN 2007 FEATURE
CLICK HERE FOR OUR COMPETITION
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THEZAPPING'S BRIGHTEST HOPE FOR 2007:
In each new era, there are always plenty of good pop groups and acts out there. That's part of the problem really, because if you are after songs to rub up close against your dreams or fire your sense of previously unimaginable possibilities, or bewitch you into not feeling alone, or tinker unpredictably with your insides, or spark unreasonable joy, or allow you to feel understood and misunderstood in whatever proportions you require for any given day or year or lifetime, good really isn't good enough. But there are very few acts that are magical.
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I often write about acts that I like. A lot. I think groups like Scissor Sisters and Bodies Without Organs tap into the new wave of pop without being cynical or ironic. The Killers and Magic Numbers bring pop elements into rock and provide us with some amazing and powerful tunes. Acts and singers such as Girls Aloud, Rachel Stevens and lately, Jamelia all have ridden the wave of making pop electro and thrashy and ultimately thrilling, while Paolo Nutini and the current influx of acoustic males have bought a gritty earthiness back to my ears. All these acts I love, some immensely, yet there is a list of a reserved few that make thezapping magical grade. Deborah Gibson and Kylie are givens. So are Robbie Williams, Take That and Will Young. And more recently Maroon 5 managed to win me over completely with an album that still gets played with alarming regularity to this day. And so, two paragraphs in, I have to say that from the first time I heard the show mix of Broken by Simon Curtis, I knew instinctively that he was going to be magic.
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A magical pop act is a very personal thing. For me, you just get this growing sense of wonder that this person absolutely gets what pop is and is making music that you have imagined in your head exists in a perfect world of pop. And it's not just about catchy tunes (though they are important), it is also about lyrics that touch you, provoke you and inspire you, it's about beats you can dance to and it's about that all consuming desire to listen to it all again once it has started. Simon has that in droves. I first reviewed his album back in October of this year and am reprinting an amended version of that article
(you can read here!) because two months on and many listens later, I had even more I wanted to say about it…
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THEZAPPING REVIEWS ALTER BOY:
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I'm not really sure how I first happened upon Simon Curtis, but I am certainly glad I did. Not only does he seem a thoroughly nice chap, but also his music has a certain edge and drive that you wouldn't expect from such an angelic faced individual. I really believe that his forthcoming album Alter Boy could provide the kick in the arse that pop music needs – certainly in England and hopefully in America.Mr. Curtis has managed to produce an album that is thematically cohesive, lyrically deft and utterly addictive – blending together a number of styles that produce a fresh, pop friendly, club motivated sound. Religion, war, betrayal, sex and friendship are themes that run through all the 18 songs on the album – but unlike recent bloated offerings from Janet Jackson and Christina Aguilera, the songs never outstay their welcome thanks to catchy choruses, political opinion and often deliciously malevolent lyrics…
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The album opens with Simon declaring that this is his work as he is now – it represents his journey through his youth and documents every heartache, every stab in the back and even the betrayal of his country's values through the war in Iraq on the politically charged Left Right Left. Careful listening to lyrics is a definite requirement of this album, but on this song in particular in order to get the most rewarding listening experience you possibly can. Candy Store is a thinly veiled metaphor for the joy of sex and if you have a slightly dirty mind like me, then it's practically pornographic pop heaven! I just love the line where he says since he found the candy store, he's stopped having to jerk ;) And Vicious may be the greatest break-up song ever, far outranking Cry Me A River. The issues of hurt and betrayal and deception are evident as Simon describes a seemingly ideal girl who ended up not as she seemed. The chant "vicious bitch" over the dark thumping bass is about as macabre and justifiably vindictive a pop song I've heard in recent years. Just painfully exquisite…In an album full of classics, there are a few definite stand out highlights. Bones is a prince-esque club thumper that defies your ability to keep you toes untapped as it insinuates it's way into your brain. Broken (including album version and show mix) is just simply one of the best pure pop songs of the year and if there is any justice in the world, will be leaping up charts fairly shortly. These two songs in particular definitely deserve to be singles. Religion is addressed in more detail in Religion Reduced, Alter Boy and Halo – three tracks that examine the preconceptions and judgements that society makes of individuals. Heavy, but delicious stuff. And perfectly relatable for me – growing up in a Mormon community as I did, when you have a thing for the same sex isn't the easiest thing in the world to deal with… And sparse ballad Purgatory is one of the most haunting things Simon has produced. It reminds me of those gorgeous ballads Erasure produced at the height of their career, in it's simplicity and it's beauty. Simon's voice really shines and the words perfectly fit a chapter of my novel I am writing, so I may have to ask Simon for it on the soundtrack ;)
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A strong point of this album is the clever way it currently (the final track listing on release may differ) all links together. Not quite a concept album, all the songs thematically flow into each other with an emphasis on clever (but not pretentious) lyrics, Simon's voice ranging from alto to falsetto and back without being jarring or grating, unconventionally dark lyrics that leave no feeling unexposed and no raw nerve untouched (something Abba did to amazing effect on songs like One Of Us and Winner Takes It All, etc.) and a modern, forward thinking pop sound that is textured and exciting – all the more impressive considering the few people who have worked on it. And yet songs work equally well for different mood isolated from the album and played on a mix cod with some of pops current stars (Sugababes, Girls Aloud, Phixx, Bodies Without Organs, etc)…a sure indicator that this album deserves to be huge…
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Overall an outstanding debut album from a talent that I recommend you all keep an eye on…
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LINK: Stream the album at Simon's official homepage (click on music!)
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THE ADDITIONAL REVIEWS:

Not long after I wrote the Alter Boy review, I came across 2 other songs of Simons that I hadn't heard before. One was called Flashback – a tune he wrote for Disney to mark their annual resort event of the same name. This is one of his most theatrical tunes – from the opening bars, it's almost impossible not to imagine him rising up on a smoke filled stage at the start of a concert while silhouetted dancers show off their choreographed moves. This is a song that is made to be performed on a huge scale, and was my first indication that Simon could write specifically as well as pouring out what was in his head and heart. The song provides enough Disney pomp and ceremony to work in a parade, yet retains Simon's trademark beats, lyrics and vocals as it details how you need to learn from the past to make your dreams happen. An incredibly catchy song, its proceeds also went to the The Leukaemia Society of America…
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The second song I heard post Alter Boy review was Put Your Make Up On. Simon wrote this as his entry for the Popjustice theme tune competition. The backing track was the same for each contestant (a typically edgy-pop Xenomania effort) and the task at hand was to write a pop tune that would fit the music. The song Simon came up with is one of his most hit-ready to date and one that I find incredibly hard to get out of my head. Indeed I was playing it rather loudly on my stereo on holiday earlier this year, when I heard a knock on the door. Assuming it was someone asking me to turn it down, it was 3 lads wanting to know how I got my hands on an unreleased Scissor Sisters song! Naturally, I explained and a conversation ensued as to how they wished the Scissor Sisters had retained the edginess of their first album and put more songs like Put Your Make Up On on Ta-Dah. What is often genius about so called "throwaway pop" is how multi-layered and meaningful it actually can be if you take the time to listen properly. As a song, yes, PYMO is incredibly catchy, upbeat and I have no doubt at some point will have some amazing remixes. Lyrically, it's a commentary on the looks and image obsessed society we live in and the lengths people will go to in order to get where they want to be. Which fits well into the world of pop, and so is actually quite a clever entry for a Popjustice theme tune. Which all would have been brill on it's own – only Simon takes it up a notch and ends the song on a crucial highlight: a refrain that plays over the main chorus as he sings an internal monologue "as a kid I got a lot of shit for/liking my music but what is it for?/You should listen to this because it gives more/Yeah, but it sounds lousy on the dance floor!" I nearly hugged my computer speakers when I heard that – I can't imagine readers of Popjustice not relating to those lyrics about how you can be mocked for liking music you can dance to – and how music like that is perceived unworthy and throwaway. Clever, clever stuff (and be sure to catch the reference to xenomania and the sugababes red dress in the second verse!) This may well end up as one of THE pop songs of 2007…

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THEZAPPING INTERVIEWS SIMON:
While obviously thezapping has been very supportive of Simon and his career, Simon in turn has reciprocated and been most supportive of thezapping website. In November, he kindly agreed to answer some questions I had for him, which are printed below. At the time a digital release was being planned for the album, though this changed later on. Keep reading and you'll see what I mean…
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1. Alter Boy seems to be a play on words - and the album a collection of thoughts on your journey through life. Was it difficult to put together a collection of songs that seem so personal?
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It truly wasn't as difficult as one might think. I set out from the beginning with the idea of creating an album that not only made people want to dance, but also made them want to sit down with the insert and pour over the lyrics as well. That's the kind of album I always hoped to hear from pop artists like Britney, who always had great albums, but never got too personal. I wanted people who heard my album to be really affected by it, to hear something they've never heard before in a song, and I believe that by investing your real, inner self, and damn near your soul into every song on the album is the only way to achieve that. And yes, Alter Boy is a play on words. The album touches on many religious themes, as I grew up in the Bible Belt, so it reflects that aspect of it, as well as the personal growth I speak of in the music. Not to mention it is a bit tongue-in-cheek, and that's how I like it! haha
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2. I love the song Broken and think it would be a great lead off single for the album. How would you visualise the video for it?
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Haha, that's awesome. My producer will be rather pleased to hear that, since that is the song he participated most with in writing for the album. Before we had that song, the album was turning out to be very dark, very angry, (we hadn't yet recorded Bones, Answer, or PYMO) and he insisted that we include at least one traditional, Swedish-style pop song that people didn't need to dissect with a dictionary! haha
So he created the track, wrote the chorus, I wrote the verses and changed the chorus to suit my liking, and despite all my bitching and moaning about how I wanted "every song to be intelligent!!!" it turned out to be one of the most liked songs on the album.
As far as a video for it goes, sheesh, I haven't even given it that much thought as my mind has been so focused on just getting the damned album released! lol
But I would have to say that it would most certainly include a hefty amount of choreography (cause the world needs that so bad right now, truly). I tend to be quite a snob when it comes to my tastes regarding cinema, and I would regard my videos as small films. Not necessary with plots and all that, but rather just ensure that each video evokes something, and isn't just mindless club bullshit.

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3. Your producer Jadion has a great fresh sound that you seem to work well with - how did you get together and how does your musical collaboration work?
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Wow, we've known each other for so long now, it is ridiculous. I met him for the first time when I was competing in the Britney Spears Samsung Superstar tour in Tulsa (where I'm from). It was a wannabe "Idol-like" contest where participants had to sing a Britney song, and the national winner would get to record a demo with her management, and appear in her next video,etc. So after I sang, Jeff (Jadion) approached me with his card and told me he was trying to put together a boyband. Having always despised the notion of being in a boyband myself, I pocketed the card and thought nothing of it. About 3 months later, I was getting antsy to record again (I had wrapped up the year long recording process on my first, extremely shitty demo about 6 months prior) so I scrounged up the card and called.
I came into his studio to have a listen to his work, etc. and was literally astounded. The only producer I'd ever worked with up until that point made recordings that sounded like bad Karaoke tracks, and here was this guy in Tulsa, Oklahoma who's stuff sounded as though it had been flown in from Sweden. Needless to say, I asked him if he would work with me, and he said yes. We've been collaborating ever since.
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As far as the process goes, it really is much quicker than some would think. Generally Jeff will create a track (with his keyboard and computer, all electronic) and I will go hide away for an hour and write the song to it. Sometimes I will write the song first and build the track around it, other times it is a blend of the two. We are both very involved in the song's creation. Within the past year, however, I have grown very possessive over my lyrics though. I have this terrible habit of acting like a spoiled little child, hell-bent on getting his way if Jeff tries to make a suggestion. lol Quite sad actually, but sometimes, just sometimes, I'll relent :P
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He's an absolute genius as far as the actual producing, mixing or engineering is concerned. The sound quality is a testament to that, because we literally had no budget at all on this album, recorded it with cheap-ass equipment in an LA apartment, and it all sounds damn near professionally mastered. We both really push the song to what it becomes in the end.
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4. I'm quite into fashion as well as music - and when I saw David Beckham all over the British press recently rocking a shirt and tie with sweater, I thought hey! He's stolen Simon Curtis' look!! Do you follow fashion or are you more comfortable throwing on whatever is comfortable in your wardrobe?
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That is so funny that you would ask that, because I really am quite a fashion anomaly. I have a great respect for fashion and style, and can't wait to have money to spend on it, lol, but in the same respect, I am perfectly content to roll out of the house in full-blown hobo-style; pyjamas, sweats, etc. I am so night and day in regards to my personal style. I love the way clothes can become an alternative means of self-expression, and I think that's where fashion's appeal lies for so many people. Right now I am wearing the most heinous looking, baggy pyjama shorts, and a massively oversized white oxford shirt that I slept in, and I truly wouldn't think twice about going out looking like this. I get made fun of for it, but I don't care, I am comfortable, and that's all that counts.
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5. How did the show go in Vegas in June? Are there any more planned - what can people expect from the Simon Curtis live experience?
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The show went fantastic, I hope to have it posted on youtube here at some point soon. As of right now, there aren't any in the works unfortunately, but hopefully that will all change with the release of the album. As far as my stage show goes, it really is a work in progress. Of course my dream is to have the big arena show complete with a herd of dancers, massive sets, and eye-popping pyro, but that isn't quite on the cards just yet :P
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6. I really think your sound would go down incredibly well in the British charts? Have you ever been here and would you like to visit if not?
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Oy, would I love to visit. I have been trying my damndest to get some representation over there, but as I am currently living in LA, it has proven to be rather difficult. I would very much love to promote my music overseas. The UK and Japan are on the top of my list.
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7. How tough is it to break into the music business in LA? Have you ever been tempted to go the American Idol route?
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Absolutely mind-numbingly, unbelievably difficult! Here in LA the club scene is all about rock, so unless you're some trashy wannabe band you can't perform in the venues. As far as record labels go, they're only into what was selling last week, as opposed to what should and will be selling NEXT week (which is why they're all damn near bankrupt) So right now that pretty much means that if you're not hip-hop or rock you're screwed. People in the music industry really have no foresight, and/or taste, which is why the internet is playing such a crucial role in the advent of this new era of music and music industry; consumers themselves are now becoming the tastemakers, and while horrifying to the floundering suits at EMI, it is rather invigorating to artists like myself, who know they have something that could be big, but just couldn't get a chance before from the labels. Now we can make our own chances.
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I actually did audition for the second season of American Idol. I had just turned 16 and they told me that I had a great voice, but looked too young to be on the show. I am so glad I didn't make it!
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8. You got to tour with the A*Teens (another act that should have concentrated on the uk!) - what are your best memories of that? Do you still keep in touch with any of them (I think Maria should release Oxygen as a Christmas single)
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That is so funny, I actually never toured with the A*Teens! I am just a rabid A*Teens fan and have one of my many pics with them on my myspace page. I keep in touch with Marie on myspace though, she is very supportive of my music, and I always joke about how I should be her opening act. Their music was just such a big part of my childhood, I will never deny that I love them! haha
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9. What do you tend to do in your down time? Any fave books/tv shows/music?
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Oh gosh I am such a nerd when it comes to my hobbies. I don't go out like most people my age, I really don't have any desire for the clubs, drinking, etc. I instead prefer a good round of Halo to a round of shots! haha
Oy vey, I am destroying any cool factor I could've possibly had before, but I don't give a shit, it's the truth. I love reading, and fantasy is my favourite genre. The dungeons and dragons nerd-type section of the bookstore is my favourite. I read the Hobbit in third grade, and it hasn't stopped since.
I love good tv and film. I am an actor as well, so I have learned a lot about those industries while living here in LA. As far as music goes, you can probably tell that I love pop music. Anything from Sweden is at the top of my list, but I really do enjoy most all kinds of music.
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10. Thank you for answering all these questions. Last one! Where do you see yourself at this point in 2007?
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Hopefully using the momentum built from this digital release to sign a distribution deal with one of the majors (can we say, Lily Allen?) lol
I hope to be at a point where music is my profession. Acting is going well, so I have the best hopes as far as film and tv are concerned, but my music is my passion, and I'd love to see the career I've always dreamed of and worked for come into fruition. Just have to keep my fingers crossed and work my ass off I guess :)

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A couple of weeks later, Simon secured a management deal and is currently label shopping his album for a distribution deal. I got back in touch to ask about that, the troubles he was having with Put Your Make Up On and some other stuff I had pop into my head…come back tomorrow for part two of the interview, finally figuring out how the jigsaw of simon, jadion, fayden and bliss all fit together, as well as some readers views on the music…

LINK: Simon's myspace site

Boo, I tells ya. Boo! As I am leaving my job in the middle of January (YAY!) for a foxy better paid, closer to home new one (DOUBLE YAY!), I don't have any leave left so had to drag my arse out of bed today and haul it into work. On public transport no less. Shudder! And as I was on the first train to London since Christmas eve (though I get off at Coventry), it was jam packed to the gills. And I mean packed!! I could barely breathe. Well, ok I could breathe and I was even able to watch an Ugly Betty on my foxy new archos, but I didn't have much elbow room. And that's all that counts. Or something. And as I am the only person in my office today, it's a little boring so I am blasting out tracks from my 7 in 07 (see below) and typing up this very blog in word, to paste into blogger later. Ooo now it's like you are all here with me. Or something. Oh god, there I go again. On with the post!!!
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THE DAYS OF ZAPPING FUTURE:
. Well golly gosh. Thezapping (I'm not sure why it's all one word, but I sure do like it like that) has been going for almost a year now and 2007 will (hopefully) be it's first full calendar year. And I feel that, while it sometimes has the schizophrenic feel of Robbie's Rudebox, I have settled into a nice little randomised groove. So I have picked out some of my favourite features and decided to make them more regular. There are a few new features I want to try out too. Hopefully, you will all let me know what you think – and please spread the word. I enjoy writing this thing and want people who enjoy pop to read it :)
~ THEZAPPING MUSIC MONTHLY: For years now, I have been making mix tapes and now cds (and sometimes zip mp3 files) for my friends on a monthly basis of some of my favourite songs for that month. Usually I go with singles from acts, but sometimes I'll chose singles I think they should have gone with instead. There are usually between 20 and 22 songs on there and I will be posting it at the beginning of every month.
~ THEZAPPING POPTASTILICIOUS 21: Each week, somewhere on the blog (possibly on the side column like Electroqueer does) I will be posting my favourite 21 songs of the week. With the British and American charts in such a state of boring disarray, it really will be the only charts that counts. If I have time, I may even do commentary on it (a la much imitated but never topped – allegedly, wink wink – chartrigger)…
~ THE SHOULD'VE BEENS: Pop is a fickle bitch, no? For every raving success like Girls Aloud and McFly, there are those who are left languishing in the rafters. Some deserve to be there, but there are some who embraced ever facet of pop and created bright shiny tunes to hug and embrace (e.g. V and All*Stars). There are many zapping faves yet to cover, so expect mucho from the vaults…
~ THE SINGLES SELECTED COMMITTEE: Every week, we will do a round up of the latest singles to be released in the UK – main tracks, b-sides, remixes, cd covers, videos, etc. The whole package, including where they may chart. If you would like to contribute to this on a regular basis, please email me at the usual address ;)
~ THE SINGLES SELECTION COMMITTEE: But sometimes (and quite often), record companies get it wrong. So when new albums come out or when we feel popstars and their management need a helping hand, there will be suggestions of what tracks should be future singles and when. Again, I'd love to have more people involved in this, so please email if interested ;)
~ THE GREATEST HITS DONE RIGHT: I'm a stickler for a proper greatest hits package – all the singles and double a sides, in chronological order with 2-3 new tracks. This is so rarely done nowadays, that I feel I have to go back and correct history. And sometimes rewrite it a little bit, if an album has been abandoned too early (a la Gareth Gates 'Go Your Own Way' or anything by Liberty X that wasn't their debut).
~ THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS: Then of course there will be all the other bits that randomly pop up – what I'm reading, what I'm watching, the latest fashion tips, any new pop act that catches my eye and anything else I feel like writing about. Plus there will be random theatre reviews and other stuff over at the spin off blog, and holiday stuff (both past and present) over at Holiday Diaires. You can't get much fairer than that can ya?!
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~ SUBSCRIBE TO THEZAPPING: If you are on myspace, you can subscribe to thezapping myspace blog. Basically it will be the same as this, but you will get little extras thrown in… random pics, new music, news on how my novel is coming along and some other stuff I haven't even thought of yet…So what are you waiting for?! Go ahead! Subscribe dudes!
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THE DAY THAT 7 BECAME 11 (AND MERGED WITH THEZAPPING RECORD COMPANY PROJECT IDEA!):
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All the stuff above means that I am hoping that thezapping will become an exciting place to be – and a place that is utterly devoted to bringing you the very best in new pop music, and putting it back into the British charts. I'm not trying to emulate Popjustice et al, because they have their own style and I love it, but I want to create something that is a little bit pop and a little bit me. With this in mind, two of my biggest features for 2007 have been merged into one…The 7 to watch in 2007 feature has been running in the background for a while now, but will be bigger and better come the new year. Plus, when we started it, there were only 7 acts we liked and now there are more. Considerably more. So suddenly, 7 has become 11 to watch in 2007. Which fits in nicely with what we were planning for thezapping record company project idea. Basically, all 11 of these acts have been "imaginary" signed to the fictitious (til I win the lottery) thezapping record label… Here's what will happen:
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~ each of the 11 acts will release one single per quarter. Yes there are 13 weeks in a quarter, but I am giving myself time off for holidays, etc.
~ One single per week will be "promoted" vigourously on this site with ideas for video, cover, b-sides, remixes and live lounge performances.
~ you, the reader, then have all week to vote on where you think it will chart in the top 40 if it were really were being released that week.
~ During the year, points will be accumulated based on voting numbers, "chart" positions, etc. In the last two weeks of the year, these points will account for 50% of a vote – you then get to vote for your favourite of the 11 (which will be the other 50%). The winner will be thezapping best new act of 2007…

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So without further delay, and in alphabetical order, here is the all new, updated, 11 in 2007 list (except one…)
. Who are they? BEYOND
What do they sound like? Imagine Steps, buffed up with some Liberty X cool and dipped in some irresistible pop beats that sparkle brightly from start to finish…
Why I like them? well, we haven't had a decent boy-girl combo for ages (then typically two come along at once) and Beyond are suitably stylish, have no fear about telling you about their drunken nights out (and therefore will end up all over the pages of 3am in true popstar style) and even go to photoshoots when they are possibly dying from flu. That's star quality right there!
Key tracks – A little bit of ooh; just don't have the heart
. Who are they? BILLIAM
What do they sound like? Take That circa Everybody Changes period. Quality polished pop tunes with killer choruses and an injection of pure glee that makes the songs a lot of fun…
Why I like them? well for starters, Jazz is from Birmingham and I have to support the local boys. Plus they clearly have a love of all things pop if you read their bio, so they are doing this music because they love it, not just to get them famous. There's no irony. PS – check out their videos on myspace, girls (and gays presumably) already adore them... plus i'm pretty sure i saw them in the december issue of AXM...
Key tracks – Check It Out; Beautiful Ones
. Who are they? BLISS
What do they sound like? Now that Jadion and co have got their hands on them, they have amped up the funk factor and now the adorable Bliss girls sound like they are itching to step into the shoes of Sugababes and Girls Aloud, with saucy, sassy tunes.
Why I like them? Because they ARE saucy and sassy. They have just the right amount of flirtaciousness, coquettishness, sex appeal and girl next door smarts. Plus you just know they would whip the disco boys at G-A-Y into a frenzy! Plus we are a little in love with Iced Entertainment...
Key tracks – Take Me Home Tonight; something I can't mention yet ;)
. Who is he? CONOR
What does he sound like? If George Michael were having an affair with William Young and Stock, Aitken and Waterman delivered the baby, while Darren Hayes cut the umbilical chord, then Conor would be that baby. Only with a more charming Irish brogue…
Why I like him? All his songs have a deliciously, sunny 80s pop vibe to them, without sounding like he is mining that period. He looks like a jolly nice and fairly trendy chap in his photos. He can pull off popstar hair even with a visor on – trust me, not an easy thing to do! He's one of a number of male popstars embracing the frankly, ridiculously sexy shirt and tie gone casual look :)
Key tracks – Play With You; Club 55
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Who are they? DIGITAL
What do they sound like? A great big lesbian orgy of music from Girls Aloud and Sugababes, only with penises. So, Phixx, but more exciting and up to date. It's all electro clash beats, swirling synths, too cool vocals and something that just makes you want to thrust your groin. In a good, non pervy way.
Why do I like them? Well, because for ages I have felt we need a male Girls Aloud. And they deliver that in spades. They make slightly ridiculous song titles like San Frandisco into something genius. Baz has a rather nifty looking make up stripe under his eye. And they covered Boys and Girls by Blur. Do I really need to go on?!
Key tracks – Boys and Girls; San Frandisco
. Who is he? JUSTIN LANNING
What does he sound like? Can you imagine if Ronan Keating were good? Or Daniel Powter had a bit more of an edge? Or Elton John and Billy Joel were young again and not so weighed down with being famous? That would be Justin Lanning – pure piano-guitar pop at it's sing-a-long finest…
Why do I like him? Because music is his life. And it's a big part of my life. And while Justin gets to sing about it, I get to write about it. And Justin really embraces myspace culture by interacting with his fans, producing regular blogs giving his unique perspective on life, but isn't too serious that he can't do cheesy but aces photos like above and blog while drunk on his 21st birthday. Now that's our kinda boy!
Key tracks – Voices; Without You
. Who are they? LOCKDOWN
What do they sound like? The other boy-girl combo on our list, but both different enough to stand out and be unique. Basically, this funky foursome have dry humped pop into submission, deconstructed it and built it again as a pulsating mix of cover versions (Poison? Genius!), original dance tracks and tender ballads. It's almost a greatest hits package waiting to happen…
Why I like them? Well, not only did they very generously do a funky photoshop Christmas card (exhibiting web skills far beyond my own), but they are a talented bunch who have an active fan community and during their recent group makeover have got a pretty nifty style thing going on (I am so stealing Chris' look in this pic for my new years eve outfit if he'll tell me where he got that scarf!).
Key tracks – Poison; When You Look At Me
. Who is he? GAVIN MIKHAIL
What does he sound like? Like an American idol winner, if they were good and given great songs to sing. Its power pop piano with uplifting lyrics, catchy choruses, anthemic sing-a-longs and a too lovely voice that powers it all from start to finish. Shayne Ward should only have been so lucky to have tracks like this…
Why I like him? He's remarkably unpretentious. He loves family life as much as he loves singing, doesn't seem to realise how "popstar" his look actually is and has written tunes that can touch you so personally you would swear he was peaking into your diary, hidden underneath your socks so no one else can see it :)
Key tracks – Catch Your Fall; Brave
. Who are they? PACIFIC AVENUE
What do they sound like? If you could take the best elements from your favourite boybands – the heartbreaking ballads, the reality tv shows, the dance routines, the uptempo numbers, the adoring fans, then you begin to have some idea of just how special Pacific Avenue really are.
Why do I like them? What's not to like? A web based reality tv show that gives unique insight into their build up to fame and fortune; the pop star hair; the tunes that fulfil the promise, the active fan forum they participate in and their own photographer in the form of azzy who took the remarkable snap above. Love it!
Key Tracks – Autograph; Don't Look Back
. Who are they? SWITCH-22
What do they sound like? If you were lounging in the sun on a hot summers day and someone threw ice water on you, that's how bracing and exhilarating the tunes of Switch-22 are. Creative, inventive, thrusting, pounding, urgent, sexy and unforgettable.
Why do I like them? Because they are the self proclaimed super heroes of pop and quite rightly so. They sample 20th century fox in their tunes. They have stomachs you could grate cheese on. They are friends with Jean. When we're bored, we idly wonder what a threesome would be like with them and know they wouldn't mind us wondering one little bit. But mainly because they are super nice super hero guys ;)
Key tracks – Back To The Dancefloor; Sweet Dreaming
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So that's ten of our eleven. Tune in tomorrow for a special two-part feature with our brightest hope for pop in 2007. It's gonna be a doozy!!
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THE WHERE'S JEREMY BIT?!
. He's still here! As the only actor in the original 7 in 2007 feature, Jeremy didn't fit into the new 11 in 07 feature once we merged it with the record company project idea. That's not to say though that we no longer love him, because we do. In fact, the play that drew him into our bosom is coming to the midlands again at the Wolverhampton Arena Theatre. The Maids is an amazing play and I shall definitely be going to see it once more. Hurrah, etc. Check out all the details below. If you plan on going let me know what night – it could be a zapping night out. Bonza ripper!
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LINK: Jeremy's acting page
LINK: Wolverhampton Arena theatre webpage
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QUICK BITZ/BLOG WATCH:
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~ I'm Always Right proves that he is most always almost right in a great end of year list, that recognises the genius of Emma Bunton's cover of Life in Mono and has made me resolve to love Robbie's Rudebox no matter what (nick had a hand in that too!)
~ Colour us all digital and techniquey. Cos one of our fave bloggers has only gone and posted some rip roaring dance mixes of That's My Goal and Bad Day sung by Deja Vu. I'm cyber hugging as we speak!
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Coming tomorrow and Friday - thezapping's brightest hope for pop in 2007...

ooo typhoo!

COMPETITION TIME! Thezapping needs a new look! It certainly needs it's own header. If you have the skillz to come up with one that you think captures the ethos of this site (and even tell me how to put it up) then send it to my email as a jpeg file or as the code i need to copy and paste. If there are enough entries, I will post the best on the site and let you readers vote for your fave! The winner will not only earn my eternal gratitude, but will have thezapping logo up on my site for 2007! And! to sweeten the deal, there will be a £30 (or country equivalent) amazon gift voucher for the very lucky winner! Closing date 8th January 2007....
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BE IN A BOYBAND! maybe - can you dance? Can you spin and twirl and boogie? Are you not ugly in the slightest with a probably quite fit body? And you will need to be able to sing as well. If so, then an up and coming funky boy band are looking to expand their membership and have asked me to help out - send me whatever you think will convince them to audition you (non pervy only please!!)to my email and I will pass it on to the boys. Note - i won't be able to give any feedback on whether they want to see you or not! They will get in touch with you directly! Good luck!.

Boxing Day...

I wasn't going to do a post today, but DazPremadonna is having an afternoon snooze and there are only so many dvds one can watch while shoving quality street down ones neck. So here I am typing up something really quick that will probably turn into something mammoth. They usually do don't they?! I went to the sales at the Bullring today and it was freaking chaos! oy vey! I nearly got my eye poked out while trying to pick up a rather foxy scarf. I think I will stick to shopping in the sales online (though I did get season one of the 00's Battlestar Galactica for £12 from HMV. I heard such good things about it that I thought i would give it a go...) I was sad though, that Starbucks have already stopped using their lovely red festive cups. The white one i am sure made my coffee taste less festive...
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THE TALES OF CHRISTMAS JUST PAST:
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So rather typically, DazPremature woke up at about 5am and decided that was a perfectly reasonable hour to get up and open all our presents. And what a pile there was, as you can see above! Lots of dvds, books, household ornaments (we are so gay), mp3 alarm clocks (thanks ruthiepoos!), willie shaped biscuits (kirsty so obviously knows what i like in my mouth), a new wallet (dazpicky has been dying to get rid of my pepsi one for ages, so got me a nice new leather one from fossil!), psp games for DazPsp, sheet music (thanks CatWoman!) and lots more. Not pictured - pogo sticks (?!), plenty of aussie bum underwear (rar!) and clothes. We are so GQ stylish right now...
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While Darren was catching up on playing all his new computer games, I watched the penultimate Robin Hood episode. It was quite good - i've really liked this show, despite some of it's failings. Perhaps Jonas Armstrong has helped me through it. I refuse to believe Maid Marion is dead though... maybe i'm being naive, but we will see next week in the season finale. I also watched Christmas TOTP, which was quite good. McFly opened the show with Rockin Robin and no one really matched the genius of that...
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As we tucked into a delicious lamb dinner that Darren had prepared (he is a whizz with roast potatoes), and enjoyed a glass of bucks fizz (ooo classy), we decided to curl up on the corner couch and watch Dan on tv. Of course I mean Dr Who and The Runaway Bride. I thought it was rather good - David Tennant was quite excellent as usual and did a good job of showing his love of adventure while dealing with the "loss" of Rose. At times it was very poignant. Catherine Tate channelled various characters from her sketch show with a fairly tenuous Christmas link, but overall the excitement of getting the show on dvd (finally!) meant I was quite enamoured... (check out the other Dan's review here!)
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Then we snuggled on the couch a little bit more, before being totally wooed by the very funny and very romantic first part of the final Vicar Of Dibley story to be shown. I love a good romance and no one does love like Richard Curtis. I think the bloke who proposed to Geraldine is the guy who is the sheriff in Robin Hood and quite the catch he was too. And fair play to Dawn French for being game enough to jump into six foot puddles. Again!! Can't wait for part two... And then Christmas day was over. Sigh. Still only 365 days til the next one!!
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LINK: Buy Dr Who - season 2 dvd
DOWNLOAD: Dr Who and The Feast Of The Drowned (audio story read by David Tennant - part one) (zip file)
LINK: Countdown to Christmas 2007!
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THE STUFF WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS:
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I often get the post Christmas blues. I embrace the season so fully, that when it is over I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do next... so luckily, flicking through magazines yesterday got my mind off the end of the season, and to stuff coming up in the next few weeks (that isn't going back to work tomorrow!). First up, Attitude proves worthy again of my number two fave magazine accolade by coming up with the rather brilliant cover you see above. I think it's due out at the end of this week. As McFly are such big fans of G-A-Y, I can't wait to read their interview...
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And next up are a couple of "children's" shows that seem to be appealing to me right now. One is the Dr Who spin-off for children - which will follow the adventures of lovely Dr Who companion (and unrequited lover) Sarah Jane. I think the show gives the character some purpose and closure on her time with the Doctor. It also looks like a heck of a lot of fun :) As does new kids spy show M.I.High. The preview website looks pretty cool and sometimes cheesy kids tv can be quite the diversion. Especially when you read as many "children's" books as I do! Both may be a load of old twaddle, but I shall certainly be tuning into the premiere episodes to find out!
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LINK: Attitude's myspace site
LINK: Sarah Jane show site
LINK: M.I.High show site
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THE WHAT TO WEAR ON NEW YEARS SPECIAL:


Sigh. The sales are on. Yes, it may be a mad zoo out there as people tear for clothes that they wouldn't normally be seen dead in, just because they are 50% off, but the most important party night of the year is coming up and you want to be looking good. Thanks once again to the fine folks at ASOS, i have put together some outfits you can wear pretty much anywhere without looking too fashion impaired...First up is the smart do. It isn't always about wearing a sharp suit (though it can't really fail to impress if you choose the right style). You can now choose something that hints at the formal but still gives you enough scope to be casual and comfortable in what you wear. And that's one of the most important things of all! You could choose a nice unstructured blazer and pair it with a more formal shirt (top) or if you want to dress it down a bit, try a t-shirt, but avoid logos at all costs! (2nd)...
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If you are staying in, you are in good company as it seems to be the new going out. You get to avoid the rip off bar prices, you pretty much choose who your company is, you don't have to wait in the freezing cold for an overpriced taxi and there is no dress code. Don't slum it though - you can add a touch of style to your twisted denims if you choose a fitted shirt with rolled up sleeves(top), or a double cuff shirt and add a nice scarf to it (2nd). Snazzy :)
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If you are braving elbows in your face and a long wait at the bar for every drink you want at the club, then try a bit of retro cool. Go for some jean-look trousers and team it with a rather cool rocking t-shirt. Whatever your religious affiliation, the current trend of beads and cross necklaces always looks good as long as you don't spin around too fast on the dancefloor. I once nearly took someone's eye out with it, and they didn't seem best pleased. Some people are so moody!
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LINK: ASOS website
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QUICK BITZ/BLOG WATCH:
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COMPETITION TIME! Thezapping needs a new look! It certainly needs it's own header. If you have the skillz to come up with one that you think captures the ethos of this site (and even tell me how to put it up) then send it to my email as a jpeg file or as the code i need to copy and paste. If there are enough entries, I will post the best on the site and let you readers vote for your fave! The winner will not only earn my eternal gratitude, but will have thezapping logo up on my site for 2007! And! to sweeten the deal, there will be a £30 (or country equivalent) amazon gift voucher for the very lucky winner! Closing date 8th January 2007...
.
BE IN A BOYBAND! maybe - can you dance? Can you spin and twirl and boogie? Are you not ugly in the slightest with a probably quite fit body? And you will need to be able to sing as well. If so, then an up and coming funky boy band are looking to expand their membership and have asked me to help out - send me whatever you think will convince them to audition you to my email and I will pass it on to the boys. Note - i won't be able to give any feedback on whether they want to see you or not! They will get in touch with you directly! Good luck!
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COMING SOON ~ tomorrow will be the first part of our 7 in 2007 larger feature (with added friends!) and some news about other regular features taking place throughout next year. Thurs and Fri will be an indepth look and interview with out greatest pop hope for 2007. Then I get the weekend off before everything returns to normal on Monday! Hurrah!