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DazPoorly and I are having the worst luck healthwise this year. First it's Darren's back, then his neck operation, then some water infection, then I get a kidney infection, and now poor little DazPotato has a raging temperature and a sweaty clammy body. And yet he has still gone into work. What a little trooper. I maintain that he should be home resting up instead of spreading his lurgy but he is one committed fella so what are you gonna do? Although this may be the first thing you read, it was the last thing written for today's post and I thought I was going to be stuck for extra things to write about this week, but once again I am hit by inspiration and I am quite looking forward to Wednesday's post. Plus I am off to see Guys and Dolls with Nigel Har(d)man tomorrow. That is to say Nigel is in it, I am going with my bon ami Kirsty :) Viva! Anyway, my festive little lovelies, on with the post…
Darren has this irritating habit of being able to pinpoint what the next fashion trends will be. This is most annoying when I am the fashion guru in our household. Which reminds me – does anyone remember Guru Josh? No, me either. Anyway, if you are going to nip out after Christmas and get some solid funky "togs" in the sale, you should toodle on down to these two stores and snap up some bargains pronto so you will be ready for the new year…
~ The time to go Dutch: Celebrity capital of the sunshine state, we have Hollywood to "thank" for the infamous 'celebrity trend' and celebrities to thank for escalating brands from cool to super cool. Like von Dutch, par example (that my ubersexual friend Richard loves), the LA based brand, popular for it's token American references and style that has much more to it than the emblem hats and t-shirts sported by Nick Lachey and Paris Hilton. In fact, veto those items completely, if you don't want to look like a big fake whore (a word here that means someone who thinks Pink Is The New Blog is the biggest contribution to pop culture since the Beatles) and go straight to the cashmere denim section. A combination of cashmere, merino wool and suprima cotton (means nothing to me either), it is now being manufactured in Italy so there is more emphasis on tailored designs and smaller sizes. We Europeans are so chic. But sometimes euro trash. But usually chic. Even basics like the VD (oh how unfortunate) tee have been transformed with new design options. And now it's more accessible than ever with a flagship store opening in Covent Garden. Three times huzzah I say…
~ If you are looking for something more distinctly British than Von Dutch, the brand to rock right now is Daks. Its signature check is less exposed making it the more sophistimacated option. Last summer saw the launch of a new luxury line, which scaled new heights of refinement. And that has continued into winter where the selection is the kind of thing jazz icon Miles Davis would have worn had he had his clothes tailored at Saville Row. Black cashmere coat with contrast white panelling under the collar, ultra-fine grey herring bone cotton shirts and slim fit black wool suits are all lovely, as are the new line of stripy shirts and their decision to branch out into swanky shoes. Marv…
LINK: Visit the Von Dutch home page
LINK: Visit the Daks home page

Although the wait is absolutely killing moi, I am off to see The Holiday this very weekend. Hopefully it will be as magical as when I went to see It's A Wonderful Life with Kirsty on Christmas Eve about 11 years ago, and it was snowing when we left. Ok, it wasn't but the movie theatre had a snow machine in the parking lot, so it was nearly as magical. Except it stained my favourite jacket. Boo you Christmas! Still, cut to me in line at the cinema on Friday with DazPickthemovie, fingers crossed for The Holiday, only to get tickets to see Flushed Away. Which was surprisingly hilarious. I highly recommend, if only for the continued comedic stylings of the water slugs. Plus we got to see some great previews for Charlotte's Web (I nearly cry at the thought of it) and Arthur and The Invisibles (starring the voice of Madonna. Eek!) Despite the brilliance of FA (and combined with the worrying fact that Hugh Jackman was quite attractive as a cartoon rat) my heart longed for The Holiday so this weekend I sat down to watch Noel – a very festive tale starring Penelope "saved from a fate worse than Cruise" Cruz, Paul "rar" Walker and Susan "insert witty comment here" Sarandon. I think it may have been a high calibre made for tv movie in America, but I really enjoyed it. It's a lovely festive tale of love and hope and forgiveness and redemption, about letting go of the past in the holiday season and embracing all that's bright in the future. There were some lovely tender moments in it – Susan Sarandon and her mom at the end, Paul Walker and the old guy in hospital (plus some great is he gay/isn't he moments with Paul), Penelope Cruz and her hand on her stomach – all lovely and filled my bosom with the Christmassy cheer. A new addition to my annual Christmas movie list…
And just a quickie (oh how cheapening) on the book front – have just finished the festive offering from Cornelia Funke (surely a pseudonym?) called When Santa Fell From The Sky. I quite enjoyed it, which is a bit worrying because it's clearly aimed at 9 year old girls. And I found the picture of Santa quite foxy, which is quite worrying because he clearly looks like a hobbit. But if you are babysitting and want a fun, unique tale to tell the kids, then this is the book for you. Kind of a guilty pleasure if you aren't babysitting but worth it just the same :)
LINK: Purchase Noel on DVD
LINK: Purchase Cornelia Funke's When Santa Fell To Earth MP3: Adam Scanlon – Winter's Light (from Noel)
It's hard to judge who will go onto solo success outside of a successful pop group. For every Robbie there are at least ten Garys. Blue was expected to spawn huge stars in Duncan James (whose career might have gone better if he hadn't released sub-One True Voice standard song as his first solo outing) and Lee Ryan, but it was Simon Webbe who won over the masses. S Club made a somewhat star out of Rachel, but Jo O'Meara and Jon Lee were confined to popjustice history notes. Steps has still to launch a big star, though H&Claire and Leisl ScotthyphenLee both had one top five hit each. It's just so hard to predict. So let's look at the latest round of people, doing the "post pop" route…
Remember Jon Lee? From Sclub7/Sclub? He wasn't really noticed in the band (though clearly had a great voice) until Paul got fat and left, and he kind of became attractive by default. When Sclub split, I thought he could have gone the Gareth Gates route; only Gareth had that messed up by his record company so to theatre it was with roles in Les Miserable, Love Shack and BBC's Sound of Musicals. He still records music though and several tunes have popped up on the ubiquitous myspace. Most take him down the "I don't do pop anymore" acoustic route, and while they are perfectly pleasant, they don't really stand out and you can't help but wish that someone like Jon (who if not a friend of Dorothy is certainly a friend to the friends of Dorothy) would embrace his inner Adam Rickett and do the disco like you know they were meant to…
While we are in the Sclub camp, I'm sure most Popjustice readers were hoping that Calvin Spinks was going to go onto semi nude pop success. And well he might, but he's way too young for me to even consider in that light, so I will have a quick look-see as to what Rochelle is doing… I kinda feel Sclub8 had it blown for them. A much more mature pop-dance sophomore set was paving the way for great things to come, when I Dream came and buggered it all up. Rochelle is now in girl group Tigerlilys who are ready to wow the nation with their girl power and sass. If that sounds sarcastic, it originally was meant to be and then I listened to the music and got lost in the pulsating rhythms, catchy choruses and pure pop magic contained within it. Granted that was just in two songs, but by entering a new group, with a sound that is a natural extension of what she has done previously, Rochelle and pals may go on to see chart success yet again…
Finally, we have little Lee LatchfordhyphenEvans. They liked their hyphens in Steps didn't they?? Lee was of course the one who caused a multitude of sticky screens when he got all blue and greasy in the Deeper Shade of Blue video and became an Attitude fave right there and then. Of course, when Steps split, Lee did some theatre (Grease) and worked on his band The Latch. And of course, the now infamous Totally Boyband. Possibly the worst and best thing to happen to Lee since Steps. Worst because Dane Bowers and Danny Wood were complete and utter egotists who treated Lee like shit and best because when he was unceremoniously booted out of the band, he adroitly sidestepped the dismal 35 chart placing and gained some sympathy along the way. The Latch were back in business and providing a smart set of pop-rock tunes that with a little polish could certainly be popular and showcase a side of Lee that he probably wasn't allowed to show in Steps…
LINK: Jon Lee's myspace page / Jon Lee - From You To Me/ Jon Lee - Fly To The Sun
LINK: The Latch's myspace page
LINK: Vote for The Latch
LINK: Tigerlily's myspace page
Some of my favourite ever songs come from the writing pen and piano fingers of Deborah Gibson. Some others have spilled from the imagination of Cathy Dennis. One in particular came out of the mind of Martika. All of whom have featured on here fairly recently, and in the case of Deborah, fairly frequently. I came across or reminisced about songs from all 3 artists in the past week or so that I haven't heard before so I thought I would detail them here…
~ Deborah has written for other acts before (Jo Beth Taylor, Chris Cuevas, Ana, The Party) but none have ever gone onto great success. I think Deborah does it best when she writes for herself and not to prescription. However the two songs she wrote for pal Marissa Winokaur's Beautiful Girl movie (that aired on ABCFamily a couple of seasons ago) are up there with some of the top ballads she has recorded herself. If I were an X-Factor judge, I would be questioning Marissa's vocals in some parts of the song, but overall the tunes are lovely fare that once again shows that Deb deserves bigger acceptance from AC radio…
~ Cathy Dennis of course is the complete opposite having produced mammoth hits for S Club, Kylie, William Young and many others. However, it is an unreleased track she recorded with that showcases the complete ease she has in writing for different genres, while being able to embrace a style she loves (and currently being made famous by Emma Bunton). The track is a lovely laid back affair and Cathy gives it added sweetness with her summery vocals. Also check out the fun Rollercoaster…
~ Finally we return to Martika. I love her song Temptation. I suppose the closest musical cousin it had was something like Janet Jackson's Black Cat that mixed rock guitars with pop sensibilities and even added some faux-rapping. Incredibly catchy with shades of electro-clash, this is one from the vaults that could sound fresh and exciting today if covered by the likes of Girls Aloud or even break an act into the mainstream (are you listening Trinity??!)

MP3: Marissa Winokaur – Beautiful Girl/Fall Reaching
MP3: Cathy Dennis – Marian (ft Lance Ellington)
MP3: Cathy Dennis – Rollercoaster
MP3: Martika – Temptation
And so thezapping finally embraces what reality tv has contributed to Christmas. I am going to avoid the festive American Idol cd released sometime after season 2, and will certainly be ignoring the Clay Aiken one (the first cos I don't have enough space and the second because I once read in rare instances you can get gonnorea just from touch). Instead I will focus mainly on the British contingency… in fact in season two of our Idol we got a festive treat from the finalists, which resulted in a chirpy cover of Happy Xmas (War Is Over) and With A Little Love as two fairly fine group efforts. Plus it is the only place you can find an actual recording from should be a star but isn't, Andy Scott Lovely. And talking of Andys, last years X-Factor runner up has written a seasonal offering with Mark Read (from A1!!) that is actually quite nice – and I have never really been an advocate of Mr. Abraham… the best person to spin out of American Idol 2 was by far Kimberley Locke who has contributed a couple of more recent Christmas jingles, while if you want to make your head spin you could listen to the quite-good-when-innebriated Cheeky Christmas from the Cheeky Girls. And because it was for charity, lets go outside the music shows and cross over to Big Brother for the original winner – Craig's offering. Seasonal schmaltz at it's very worse. But I think you'll find I'm most forgiving at Christmas ;)
MP3: Pop Idol 2 finalists – Happy Xmas
MP3: Pop Idol 2 finalists – With A Little Bit of Love
MP3: Andy Scott Lee – Silent Night
MP3: Andy Abraham – December Brings Me Back To You
MP3: Kimberley Locke – Jingle Bells
MP3: Kimberley Locke – Upon The Housetop
MP3: Cheeky Girls – Cheeky Christmas
~ Are you a fan of Simon Curtis? If so, please get in touch as I need some assistance on a post I am doing in the future. Special little thank you for everyone who helps out…
~ You can now subscribe to my blog via my
myspace page. That way you will get a little message everytime I update the page. Which granted is pretty much daily, but it's always nice to log into myspace and get mail :) Basically, you will just get a link to this page, but I will be posting sneaky extras of things that I am too scared to post here ;)
~ thezapping is putting together a big virtual Christmas card to be put online sometime before Christmas day. If you would like to contribute to that, you can
email me a festive little message, picture or even an mp3 of yourself wishing people a very merry Christmas. Be as crazy and inventive as you like – you have til Dec 22nd to get stuff to me…
~ December is the time for lists and lists of lists :) Before I reveal my top 26 songs of 2006 and top 20 albums on this site, pop on over to the
spinoff blog every day this week for a step back in time to see what my fave songs and albums were from 2001 – 2005…

Coming soon: a 7 in 2007 update; news on changes to thezapping and forthcoming projects; a very ally Christmas; the Christmas SAW; the singles selected committee is back; x-factor retrospecticus; idols from around the world; should've beens; more greatest hits done right; the perfect bliss of pop; and of course a bit more that that!!


  1. Paul said...
    i'm in a mood ;) I just changed the duvet cover on the bed and when i had got it all nice i realised that i had put it on inside out :( Boo you whore. So i took it off moodily and put it on again, only to see i'm clearly derranged and put it on inside down again. I had a right paddy, threw it across the room and kicked it only to kick the bed post quite hard. Can someone email me the teddy geiger christmas ep on iTunes to cheer me up. I will swap it for anything on british iTunes :)
    Stephen said...
    Did anyone get you any of this yet? Hope yallz doin better today!
    Paul said...
    boooo no, i had a very weird electronic communication embargo day. Nothing nada zip! Wait til you all hear about my evening out in Thursday's blog! Worst evening ever!
    Stephen said...
    Okay that Stephen was me. I have no clue how it said Stephen though!
    Anonymous said...
    Wait it is still doing it! My God this is f*cked!

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