- Saturday, 21st November - Vaughan Williams / Delius concert, Symphony Hall, 7.30pm (plus rehearsal all afternoon).
- Sunday, 22nd November - possibly meeting up with Vicky in Birmingham around 11.00am ish so she can give me my present. Must therefore buy her present and get her card written before the end of this week - yay.
- Saturday, 28th November - meeting jackiesjottings in Birmingham after her trip to the German Market, afternoonish.
- Friday, 4th December - first Messiah concert, Town Hall, 7.30pm.
- Weekend of 5th December - PUT UP TREE, DAMMIT.
- Tuesday, 8th December - second Messiah concert, Town Hall, 7.30pm.
- Wednesday, 9th December - flex leave; Christmas shopping day. Remember to take shopping trolley this year and DO NOT STRESS. (Yeah, as if.)
- Saturday, 12th December - Christmas meal at Jen and Dave's.
- Wednesday, 16th December - Support Team Christmas lunch, Cafe Rouge.
- Sunday, 20th December - Christmas concert, 2.30pm, Town Hall.
Somewhere in all of that I need to fit in seeing my grandmother, wrapping gifts and getting stuff sent out (usually the last week before Christmas), writing cards for work/people, getting the Christmas food shop in, and also at some point we're meant to try and organise a South Team Christmas lunch/dinner/event. Phew!
We also wanted to see commoncomitatus at some point before Christmas / in December, but I don't think I have a free weekend... :( Mind you, there is that grace period after the day itself, and I managed to get my leave this year so I'm off from 25th December until the new year. Thank anything, I'm actually not working New Year's Eve this year and therefore stand a chance at not being completely frelling exhausted. I'll be SO GLAD to see the back of 2009.
In other news, despite our efforts to boycott X-Factor after last week's 'deadlock' debacle, we ended up watching the Sunday night results nonetheless. I've tried to avoid rambling about it (because I shouldn't even be watching it because GAH, the brain-melting horror) but I seem to keep getting sucked in. Quite frankly, it's been a total farce this year, and I'm not just talking about 'Jedward'.
For starters, Jedward should not have even gotten through their first audition, let alone Boot Camp. Louis Walsh is completely unbelievable. It's like he has Small Irish Boy blinkers. I have this plan to send Paul along next year, with his hair bleached and putting on a horrendous fake Irish accent, so he can sing really badly and be put through thanks to Louis going all googly-eyed and drooling. He will then go on to win and get himself the £1M record deal, thus becoming filthy rich, and all because Louis doesn't think with any part of his anatomy higher than his waist.
Jedward make me angry, and by extension so does the General Public. X-Factor in general makes me angry, in fact, and I really shouldn't watch it. Simon Cowell is a two-faced hypocrite. He will spend all his energy bemoaning a bad performance from one of the contestants, then go on to praise an equally bad performance from a fellow judge of her debut solo single. The fact of the matter is, it doesn't matter if they perform badly now; the pretty Welsh boy will keep surviving the public vote, as will the "hilarious" performing seals, and when they eventually do start doing 'real' concerts, they will more than likely be miming anyway.
X-Factor is no longer about talent - assuming it ever was to begin with. They can go on and on about how it's a "singing competition", but it's basically a televised beauty / popularity contest for shallow, small-minded idiots who don't give a damn about whether someone can sing or not, just how good they'll look plastered on their bedroom wall. It makes me sick for society, that we're reduced to this for entertainment. It makes me sick for myself that I keep watching it in the vain hope that common sense will eventually prevail, even though I know it won't.
Plus, if it IS a "singing competition", then Simon Cowell does a piss-poor job at selecting songs which compliment his acts. He's not the only offender in this regard, but he seems to fail at it more often than everyone else. Cowell simply does not understand about people's voices and how they work. By all means, give someone a 'challenging' song so they can show their potential. 'Challenging' means a song which is difficult to sing because of the arrangement, lyrics or tune; it does not mean a song that is completely unsuited to someone's range and style. Would they force Mariah Carey to sing a Bon Jovi hit? Of course not; so don't expect your pop tween to sing big band effectively without epic failure.
Another thing which is really bugging me this year is the comments that Joe McElderry keeps getting. I quite like his voice. He's a bit non-descript in terms of personality, and he's getting through on looks rather than talent, but they keep saying he has a "musical theatre" voice. What irritates me is that they're saying this like it's a BAD thing. To be quite honest, any given musical theatre star will work harder in a week than any of their potential pop stars, and telling someone they have a 'musical theatre' voice means they have the stamina to use it day after day, for eight performances a week. That's NOT a bad thing. I saw Brenda (a finalist from a few years ago) in We Will Rock You, and she's also had a stint playing Mama Morton in Chicago in the West End, and she was probably one of the best performers I've seen in a long time. So she didn't win X-Factor? Big fat hairy deal.
It's an unrelated rant, I know. This inherent assumption that musical theatre = bad, or unprofitable. Hello, Simon; meet Andrew Lloyd Webber. Now STFU and go back to preening your ego.
On a final note (honest - this has been brewing for a while!), I'm struggling to see the point of having the Judges decide between the two acts with the least votes. For the past three or four weeks it's gone to 'deadlock' every time, negating the process of attempting to reach a consensus in the first place. They might as well just go with the public vote and put the poor sods out of their misery without having to do the sing-off. The past two weeks have been a complete joke. For a month, Simon has been complaining about Jedward's place in the competition; last week he finally had a chance to get rid of them, but instead copped out and let the public decide, despite the fact they gave the worst performance. There's no way he didn't anticipate they'd get more votes than Lucie. They've survived this long without even being in the bottom two, FFS.
He chops and changes the so-called rules every week for his own ends. One week it's a singing competition, the next week he slightly enjoys Jedward's car-crash of a performance and it's about who he thinks will win. So on Sunday, Jedward don't even get to the bottom two; Simon's act, Jamie, does. Simon's face is a picture of affronted horror. Well, tough shit; he had a chance to get rid of Jedward and chickened out. Louis saves Pretty Welsh Boy, obviously; Dannii votes to save Jamie because he's a better singer; we go to deadlock again. And now Simon's threatening to axe a judge next year (LouisLouisLouisLouisLouis please for the love of GOD)because Dannii did the same thing he did last week, but for entirely different reasons.
Is it any wonder people think it's a fix? Simon's clearly spotted the money potential of Jedward, and copped out of booting them. This - coupled with the fact that it's basically The Simon and Louis Snarkathon every week - is why both Paul and I had planned to boycott it from now on; alas, it's all too addictive.
My theory on the final three: Jedward, Stacey and Lloyd. I'm hoping that Jedward will go the way of Same Difference (except they could actually sing and dance). Lloyd has this thing in the bag, unfortunately, and I suspect it will go the same way as the Same Difference/Rhydian/Leon final - Stacey will give a better performance; the stupid tweens will get mum and dad to vote for Lloyd. I'm getting my bazuka ready.
I'm very, very glad I won my bet last year. If it's this frustrating watching it, I don't want to be part of the process...
Bloody reality television. We caught the first episode of I'm A Celebrity... and thankfully, it's not as horrendously addictive. Kim Woodburne FTW! GTFO Jordan! And that's all I'm saying on that.
Anyway, that's more than enough. I shall post this and have some lunch. This ranting is hungry work. :P