The Snow In The Summer or So-So

11/27/2006 - 12/03/2006

Mon 27 Nov 2006

Two Songs a Week 47 - Have This!

A few anniversaries in the Take That calendar come up this week. It's fifteen years to the week since their first top 40 single, Promises, entered the charts at the giddy heights of Number 38. This wasn't the group's first release - Do what you like had narrowly failed to make the top 75 over the summer. After the next single just missed the top 40, the That came within an ace of being dropped. In desperation, their record label threw a cover of It only takes a minute into the ultra-weak May 1992 record market, and were rewarded with a top 10 hit. Two singles later came A million love songs, a thoroughly decent track in its own right, and Take That would never again miss the top five.

This week in 1992, Take That swept the board at the Smash Hits Poll, and they would continue to hoover up the prizes for the forseeable future. It wasn't all their own way - none of the nine singles from their first album, Take That and Party, quite achieved the coveted number one position, and they were denied the top spot over Christmas 1993 by that rok legend Mr. Blobby. From 1993 until 1995, the group released a single every three months, and all but one spent time as the best-selling single. With sell-out arena tours, the world was at their feet.

As with all manufactured bands, obsolescence was built-in. Looking back, it's amazing that they lasted four years without breaking up. Robbie Williams left the That in July 1995, citing that eternal complaint, «musical differences» - Gary Barlow knew music, and Williams didn't. The end was in sight for the That, who played one last tour in autumn 1995 before announcing in February 1996 that they were splitting. A nation wept, bought valedictory single How deep is your love?, and turned their attention to Boyzone.

Solo recording deals followed for 60% of the band; Howard Donald faded into obscurity, and Jason Orange opened up a beauty parlor for such celebrities as David Dickinson, Robert Kilroy-Silk, and Dale Winton. The group's songwriter Gary Barlow was first to launch a solo career, releasing the plaintive ballad Forever love in July 1996. He had the slight misfortune to begin in the same week as Simon Fuller's new project, the Spice Girls, and was the most high-profile casualty of their steamroller. By the time Barlow released a second single, the overlooked classic Love won't wait, the Spices had already spent four months on top of the charts.

Erstwhile Thatter Robbie Williams came out of the blocks a month later, with a banal cover of George Michael's Freedom 90. His second single, released the following May, two weeks after Barlow's second, was Old before I die, just about the only decent thing Williams recorded. Two more singles were released in summer 1997 to diminishing returns, before fifth single Walk this sleigh sold ten zillion copies. Mostly thanks to the flip side, a song Guy Chambers had bought down the pub in Dublin for a few quid.

As for the man who was voted Most Fanciable Male in the Smash Hits poll for the previous four years, Mark Owen launched his solo career this week in 1996. Child entered at number 3, followed a few weeks later by his album The Green Man. His solo career was already on the slide; the album entered at 33, then fell out of the top 75, never to return. Though second single Clementine also made the top three, Owen would be dropped before 1997 was out, and wouldn't return until he won Celebrity Big Brother in 2002.

Ten years on, Mark, Gary, Jason, and Howard are enjoying their ninth number one single from ten releases, a record stretching back to 1993. We're not entirely sure what happened to Robbie; he must be around somewhere...

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posted 27 Nov 2006, 19.02 +0000

Two Songs a Week
Reiding and writing

In to-day's Indytab, John "Oh, fuck health" Reid is answering questions sent in by readers. Below, full exchanges in which Mr. Reid reveals his deep hatred of democratic elections, details his unsavoury populist stance, and offers a tremendous hostage to fortune. All questions and answers are completed and unedited; all mistaikes are Mr. Reid's.

«I can conceive of circumstances in which I might like to shout "Boo" at a passing prime minister. Would you wish to retain this freedom?»

You can shout "Boo" to the Prime Minister if you want. It's not illegal. I support freedom of expression, within the constraints of our law designed to curb the extravagances of racism, hatred and violence.

«It seems biometric passports can be read from 30ft. The same technology is being used in ID cards. Why do you persist with this expensive folly?»

The question is factually wrong - international standards mean that e-passports are designed so that data exchange is possible only at a distance between the reader and the chip of a few centimetres, not 30 feet!

«Will the Government compensate people if their identity is stolen from the National Identity Register?»

The Register will be safe and secure. For example, staff operating it will be security vetted and it will be a criminal offence to tamper with the Register.

«Why do you continually pander to the right-wing press with populist policies on immigration?»

It's not pandering to populism to protect our country from illegal immigration or international crime. It's my duty as Home Secretary. I am committed to creating a fair and effective immigration service precisely so that unscrupulous people can not abuse the system.

«My partner is in one of your immigration removal centres, and at great risk if returned to Iraq, but you still seem determined to return him to his death. Do you not want British citizens to have foreign partners?»

I've always spoken positively about the cultural benefits migrants bring. However, we have to balance that with ensuring people are here legally; part of that is preventing people coming here for one reason and then applying for permission to stay as the spouse of an individual.

«I am a lifelong Labour supporter. If you bring in compulsory identity cards, I will have no option but to vote Tory. Do you really want to be back on the opposition benches?»

I strongly believe ID cards will bring huge benefits. No British citizen will be compelled to carry an ID card.

«Is President Bush as stupid as people say?»

If he's so stupid, how come he's been elected so often? I don't agree with many of his policies but in my dealings with him I have always found him to be an intelligent individual.

«How accurate was Henry McLeish when he called you a "patronising bastard"?»

I think that is something you should ask Henry.

«Blair, Brown and you (and the spooks) got it so wrong on the war in Iraq, why should we trust a word you say as you seek to restrict our liberties? You're all a bunch of liars.»

I am still of the view we took the right action in going into Iraq. I have no desire to restrict liberties, I wish to protect this country and its citizens from harm. Incidentally, it would serve you well in life - even on your terms - to distinguish between a mistake and a lie.

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posted 27 Nov 2006, 20.01 +0000

Politics

Tue 28 Nov 2006

Westlife In Record Of The Year Shock!!!

Michael Greed will be ITV's new chief executive, and his first task will be to axe the atrocious late-night call-and-lose programmes before OFCOM, the toothless regulator, does it for him.

He won't have to bother taking a swing to the ITV Westlife Record Of The Year contest, for that has already gone. Event organiser Jonathan King found that he couldn't squeeze in his celebration of nine fantastic records and whatever Westlife's current single is, not when ITV is committed to becoming The Simon Cowell Channel. Said King, «We found that the voting was being dominated by fan bases, which meant that popular artistes rather than records were winning, year after year.» You don't say. Instead, Record of the Year will go online. Regional voting will be completely removed, and we're left with a simple, global, poll. Here's the top ten:

Viewers are encouraged to make their own video clip for the tunes, and the result will be announced online on 16 December.

It's interesting to remember someone who, in 2000, banged on about how the internet was a good thing, but would never account for more than 5% of the entire music business. Whatever happened to that critic, a chap called J. King?

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posted 28 Nov 2006, 18.58 +0000

Entertainment

Wed 29 Nov 2006

Traveller's Tale

Phew. It's a long one, but it's finally done. The report on my recent trip to Brussels is finally up, and it's split over four (count 'em!) pages. The highlights:

Page 1 - From Brum to Brussels by Eurostar.

Page 2 - My hotel, and gandering around Brussels.

Page 3 - Going shopping, and going to Antwerp.

Page 4 - Off to Heysel, and coming home again.

Interleaved throughout the travelogue are little essays, on topics such as the local transport system, the television channels, and other ideas.

Those after some photographs will have a short wait. Pictures should be with you around next week-end.

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posted 29 Nov 2006, 19.39 +0000

Blogging
From fact to fiction

Those careful people at Het Grauniad have done some research and offered evidence against the oft-reported (yet never supported) claim that women talk three times as much as men. The research, albeit on a sample of precisely two people, showed that this simply wasn't the case; and that Louann Brizendine has withdrawn her specious claim. Well done, everyone, a good day's work, and a grand Monday article.

On Tuesday, those blunderbusses at the Daily Hell repeat Mrs. Brizendine's error, the one she withdrew the day before. But even worse, the Daily Hell has not seen fit to print any of the comments pointing out the truth. Clearly, the Daily Hell still does not like to be caught telling provable lies and factual fuckups. That organ is to honest reportage as John Prescott is to sensitive and lucid oratory.

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posted 29 Nov 2006, 19.53 +0000

Intellectual

Thu 30 Nov 2006

Been mugged lately?

Mystic Mug writes: A number of your predictions are set to expire to-day. Let me review them.

Mr. Pokery said, Either the Prime Minister of the UK on 30th November 2006 is Tony Blair or the UK has no Prime Minister on 30th November 2006. Though he has set a date to leave office, he remains prochain ancien British prime minister Mister Tony Blair. A correct prediction, but no-one negated it. One point to Mr. Pokery, one-third of a point to everyone else.

Mr. Pokery also said, Iain Weaver will publicly self-identify as having a Significant Other on 30th November 2006 who is at least as significant as any he has had in 2005. Mr. Weaver said, Give him the points, Mug, and I'll read that as another correct prediction. Four people said No to this, so six and two-thirds to Mr. P, and full points to Cheekbones and Chickenfeet.

Mr. O'Mel said, At least one country will begin formal proceedings to leave the European Union before 30 November 2006. Not that we've seen, so nul points there. Two-fifths of a point to the nay-sayers, everyone except Brig.

The album chart highest new entry aggregate will finish at or about 254. This is a very boring place for it to finish, as no-one scores any points at all.

For the peak Federal Funds rate, we must go over to the monkey in charge of the Federal Bank, Vernon Kaye. Vern, how interested have you been this year?

Not very, Mystic Mug. All we get over here is second-rate knock-offs of unfunny comedies. I did perk up when I saw Eamonn Holmes on the telly a few weeks ago, and it's always a pleasure to see Cat Deeley, especially without that Patrick Kielty.

But what was your most interesting moment, and how interesting was it?

The new Family Fortunes show, which raised interest all the way to 5¼

It sounds so gripping that my handle is about to drop off. Vernon Kaye, thank you, and give my regards to Tess, daily.

So, 5.25 the answer, and there are points to Chickenfeet and Mr. Pokery.

The scoreboard in full, then.

There's one event before we can declare our winner, the FA Cup Extensions. So far, there have been 34 replays, extra-times, and sequences of kicks from the penalty mark. How many more will there be in the second round? Find out over the coming week and a half, after which we shall confirm our winner.

Cheerio!

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posted 30 Nov 2006, 18.33 +0000

Intellectual
How far has Livejournal fallen? (November 2006)

Unless indicated otherwise, comparisons are against last month's figures.

The headlines

size	accounts	11717087 (+217648, 1.85%)
size	accounts_active_1	589457 (+49862)
size	accounts_active_30	1852281 (-22735, -1.21%)
size	accounts_active_7	1178102 (-21953, -1.83%)
statbox	postyester	187644 (n/c)
statbox	totusers	2901464 (n/c)
usercluster	active	483304 (n/c)
usercluster	total	10818562 (n/c)
userinfo	allow_getljnews	435119 (-4022, -0.92%)
userinfo	randomcount	5000 (n/c)
userinfo	total	11702739 (+217021, +1.89%)
userinfo	updated	7636741 (+99200, 1.32%)
userinfo	updated_last1	232884 (+19815)
userinfo	updated_last30	1104471 (-21532, -1.91%)
userinfo	updated_last7	644637 (-19508, -2.94%)

The 24th month of unconstrained growth sees raw account growth of slightly less than 1/50th. I don't attach a huge amount of importance in the last one day, and the last seven is affected by a public holiday in Japan and parts of Canada. The number of active accounts, though, continues to fall away at a rate of knots.

As mentioned last month, I propose the Userinfo: Updated figure as a lower bound for the number of accounts created by people.

The Statbox figures are completely unchanged after a full month; it is exceedingly improbable for this to happen by pure chance.

The News account reaches less than 5% of all personal accounts, and that its reach has actually fallen by 1% in the last month. Could this have anything to do with the woeful quality of advertorial in the official spokesblog, and the way that site news now creeps out across a dizzying array of journals?

Gender

F	3212264 (+60911, 1.93%)
M	1548087 (+33463, 2.21%)
U	1865248 (+55132, 3.05%)

Total gender declared: 6,625,599 (56% of Accounts, 86% of Updated - no significant change.)

The traditional assumption is that Livejournal skews female; this month has certainly moved more male.

Ages

Livejournal users by age

Modal age is still 18, with 516,771 users, though 19 is barely 1200 people behind. Quartiles come at 18.3 (+0.1), 20.8 (nc), 24.7 (+0.2); a slight skewing older, possibly significant, as I would only expect an increase of 1/12 of a year (~0.08) per month.

Total declaring an age: 5,128,434 (+197005, 4.00%) (77% of Gender, 67% of Updated). It's clear that some existing users have declared their age during the month, this figure is up by just 20,000 fewer than the total number of new accounts.

Top 20 Countries

US	3207059
RU	386877
CA	268846
UK	228577
AU	108307
UA	44529
PH	41557
DE	38516
SG	35438
FI	30881
JP	25897
NL	21911
IL	15926
NZ	15566
BR	14564
BY	14423
ES	14409
FR	13775
SE	10284
IE	9900

224 other countries: 235,811

Total countries declared: 4,783,053 (+82775, 1.76%) (93% of those declaring an Age, 72% of Gender, 63% of Active). In the top 20, Belarus (BY) moves past Spain (ES). Fastest growth amongst the 20 came from Singapore, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia - all managed 4% growth, no other nation grew by 3%. Only Canada (1.6%) and US (1.2%) were slower than the 1.8% global growth in accounts.

Signups

Livejournal signups in November, 2001-6

The November period actually runs from 29 October to 28 November.

Total signups:
2001 - 22,381
2002 - 37,330
2003 - 71,159
2004 - 321,102
2005 - 246,873
2006 - 223,664

Six days in 2006 were more popular than the exact corresponding date in 2005. The system outage on 4 November caused total signups to dip to 2542, fewer than the corresponding date in 2003 (2795).

Top 20 interests

music	1509982
movies	995567
reading	664496
writing	626881
friends	611323
art	483951
computers	463142
dancing	429673
photography	419095
books	403795
shopping	354195
singing	340951
love	339306
poetry	330157
drawing	313963
anime	311816
sleeping	299205
swimming	290462
sex	259002
food	251416

Drawing moves past Anime for 16th, Food displaces Boys from the top 20. Greatest gainer is Books (+19,946); Swimming is the slowest climber, +425.

Also targetted for advertisements:

boys, harry potter, video games, cats, tattoos, internet, guitar, laughing, chocolate, dvds
coffee, concerts, rain, animals, stars, guys, cooking, painting, cheese, soccer
acting, piercings, dogs, girls, family, talking, basketball, snowboarding, traveling, manga
taking back sunday, women, kissing, biking, philosophy, lord of the rings, rock, nirvana, summer, history
punk, fashion, running, tv, fantasy, pictures, football, shoes, green day, cars
dreams, johnny depp, the beatles, clothes, radiohead, psychology, hugs, driving, музыка, the used
eating, sleep, candles, family guy, literature, drinking, snow, the cure, brand new, camping
pink, vampires, emo, sports, dashboard confessional, parties, afi, aim, hiking, politics

Next 25:
linkin park, cuddling, incubus, mp3s, water, romance, ice cream, life, my chemical romance, travel
bright eyes, money, men, black, weezer, cartoons, thursday, piano, theatre, star wars
skateboarding, blink 182, pizza, skiing, yellowcard

Literature (111-85), sports (103-94), politics (105-100) enter the top 100. Out go linkin park, cuddling, incubus. A total of 454 interests are recorded in the stats.

Syndicated feeds

Top 10
Blogthings	33225 (+13)
PostSecret	23348 (+248)
Dictionary Word of the Day	16453 (+81)
Neil Gaiman	15225 (+217)
Astronomy Picture of the Day	10547 (+84)
Penny-Arcade	8785 (+108)
Sinfest	8476 (+52)
Dan Savage	7763 (+78)
Overheard in New York	7676 (+55)
New Urban Legends 6535 (NE)

Last month's number 8, VG Cats, has been deleted; the readership of vgcatscomic is just 85, compared with 8278 a month ago.

Readership of feed ranked:
50	1283 (+33)
100	658 (+31)
200	300 (+8)
500	120 (+3)
1000	54 (+1)

The Zipf distribution allows us to approximate n = (1/k^s)*a
where n = number of readers
k = rank
s = exponent (experimentally, 1.07)
a = scalar multiple (experimentally, 87,600 - last month 85,800)

We might extend the table:

2500	20
5000	10 (+1)
10000	5
25000	2
50000	1

Somewhere around 80,000 feeds have at least one reader.

These are the statistics. Conclusions may be yours.

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posted 30 Nov 2006, 19.11 +0000

Blogging| Six Apart Is Useless

Fri 01 Dec 2006

Two Songs a Week 48 - La-la-la-la-la-la

Something a bit different to-day, no fewer than three different versions of the one song.

Johnny One-note was written by Rodgers and Hart for their 1937 musical Babes in Arms. The show's plot revolves around a group of teenagers who are trying to dodge a work farm by putting on a show. One of their number, the eponymous Johnny, is able to sing precisely one note, and sings it with all his might, so loudly that he overpowers all the whistles and deafens the traffic. (lyrics)

The first version is by Anita O'Day, the vibrato-free jazz singer whose career took off in the early 40s, but who squandered much of her talent through legal problems resulting from drug use. O'Day cuts straight to the chase, using her voice to tell of the fog-horn. O'Day died on Thursday last week.

Version two comes from the Ted Heath Orchestra, and is an instrumental. The eponymous Ted Heath is not to be confused with the sailor-politician. This bandleader also started work during the early 40s, and regularly performed on the BBC, until the rise of rock 'n' roll music forced them to disband in 1964. It was for one of these BBC recordings that the Heath orchestra recorded their version of Johnny One Note, prefixing the original melody with a short staccatto introduction of their own improvisation.

And finally, the third version is New Worlds, a short piece of incidental music created by John Baker of the BBC Radiophonic workshop. Though never intended to be a partner to Johnny One-Note, a constant juxtaposition of the two tunes ensures that they're forever linked in the public mind.

Until Monday, goodbye!

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posted 01 Dec 2006, 18.50 +0000

Two Songs a Week
Who wants to be in Amorica?

The FARCE has unveiled its new citizenship test, which will ask questions about the structure and process of democracy, FARCE-style. Example questions and model answers follow:

In all seriousness, we wonder how many existing residents of the failed colonies could pass the test without further revision. Anyway, here's Het Grauniad on UK-FARCE ties.

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posted 01 Dec 2006, 19.28 +0000

Intellectual

Sat 02 Dec 2006

Like father, like son

British Sky Broadcasting's current chief executive has raised his objections to the concept of broadcasting regulation. James Murdoch, son of Rupert, launched a remarkable tirade against the concept of broadcasting regulation.

Mr. Murdoch said, From the very start UK broadcasting regulation was skewed. Not to protect people against real harm, but to ensure that broadcasting was a sort of moral and educative crusade... It was and is authoritarian.

Two points arise from this passage. First, Mr. Murdoch really is casting the net a very long way back. The view of broadcasting as, first and foremost, a moral and educative crusade went out with the advent of the second world war. During that conflict, the B.B.C. successfully unified the nation. Mr. Murdoch's operation will never, ever, manage such a feat, unless it's in revulsion at the vapidity of its output.

The second point relates to real harm, which Mr. Murdoch tosses about as though it were a concrete object. It's not, and he must define his terms before using them. It is generally accepted that sex, drugs, violence, and bad language should not be seen on screen. But is there not a case to take care against moral harm? It is far more difficult to define moral harm, as it is not the subject of a consensus. I would argue that the untrammelled pursuit of profit before any social objective is a direct cause of real harm.

This is, of course, part of the tension between capitalism and liberalism that Mr. Murdoch does his best to ignore. He goes on, The reality of the explosion of broadcasting choice... is that there is something for everyone.

Where, then, is the channel discussing difficult philosophical matters? Where is the primer on the works of Primo Levy or Bertrand Russell? Where is the discussion on the future of the English language? Indeed, where is the channel providing pawn-to-pawn coverage of the world chess championships, or a feature documentary on the sudoku masterclass?

Where is the channel broadcasting the best entertainment from across Europe? Where is the channel showing the best bits of Star Academy in France, Spain, Belgium, Sweden? Where is the channel flitting from German to Italian to Hungarian, showing us the best of Europe's broadcasters without regard to language?

Where is the channel broadcasting the Junior Eurovision Song Contest?

Mr. Murdoch is talking out of his hat again. His service offers something for everyone, so long as they want mindless entertainment and in the English language. It's worth noting that the only intelligent entertainment comes from the public service broadcasters, BBC, Channel 4, and the TV5 consortium.

Mr. Murdoch continued with the amazing claim, People are not forced to watch what the elite think is good for them. Yes they are. People are, if not forced, then nagged ceaselessly into watching what the elite thinks is good for them. The elite here is the advertising elite, and the constant drumming about the brilliance of shoddy programmes comes for shows that are good for the advertiser, and good for the broadcaster, not necessarily good for the viewer. Witness British Sky Broadcasting's remorseless over-hyping of the mediocre Lost! and 17.

He also attacked the BBC's fantasy of creating a British alternative to Google as this is not public service, it's megalomania.

Mr. Murdoch has started by being wrong, has continued by being wrong, so why stop being wrong now? Its internet presence continues the B.B.C.'s mission to push forward the best of British values, including honesty, fair play. Values of accessibility to all, not just those who will pay £500 per year. Not values that Mr. Murdoch or his family have ever encountered before.

Mr. Murdoch concluded his speech by saying, The best approach for a regulator is to watch the market carefully, deal with real harm when it occurs, and make sure that the public interest really means what it says.

Guess what. He's wrong. The best approach for a regulator is to ensure the optimal allocation of a finite broadcasting space. Twenty million channels selling shit that no-one wants to buy, or fleecing the public through call-and-lose scams, is a complete waste of space. This accounts for an awful lot of the drivel thrown into the ether by British Sky Broadcasting.

The company can churn out as much gubbins as it wants through the Astra satellite, for space on there is almost infinite; I am far from convinced that it should do so. Terrestrial space is severely limited, and for the British Sky Broadcasting to have 1/12 of the bandwidth is about right, particularly given their very questionable contribution to society, and laughably low-quality programmes.

Give me content, or give me hell. British Sky Broadcasting: one-third more hell for your money.

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posted 02 Dec 2006, 14.06 +0000

Annoyed| Shilling| Television

Sun 03 Dec 2006

Newsbang

Marcus Berkmann on the rise and rise of SMS answering services. (Tel)

The opening of an ice-skating rink in Warwick has been delayed by warm weather. The attraction, at Warwick Castle, has had to import some cold from Rimsby. (BBC)

One of the many tasks on the plate of the incoming Democratic administration in the FARCE is to do something about the traveller's records. Patrick Leahy, who will be chair of the judiciary committee, says, something must be done. (AJ)

Obituaries, ready! Augusto Pinochet is in a grave state, according to hospital reports. (F2)

Sport, and the biathlon season has begun in Sweden. Guess who won all three of the races on the men's tour. Ole Einar Byørndalen won the 65th individual title of his career in Thursday's 20km race, his 66th in yesterday's sprint, and his 67th in to-day's pursuit. Last week, Bjørndalen won a cross-country ski race in Gällivare, the first biathlete to win a competition without bothering to shoot anything. Russian Dmitri Iaroshenko took second place in the latter two races; he's an impressive talent for the future. The women's events had three different winners - Irina Malgina of Russia, Magdalena Gwizdon of Poland, and Linda Grubben of Norway. None was expected to win, though Gwizdon has performed usefully in the past. (Herc)

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posted 03 Dec 2006, 14.29 +0000

News
Charts in week 48

Fatal Bazooka moves to the top in France, where two versions of Petit papa noel (Little father with a horrible shirt) have made the top 20 from release last year. The Seizure Sisters take honours in Sweden, with Magnus Carlsson and the Rednex also in the top 20.

North Europe's Top Twenty

 20 15 Killers - When you were young
*19 NE Faudel - Mon pays
 18 13 Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous
*17 NE Feeling - Love it when you call
*16 re Faf Larange - Pas de temps
*15 NE Take That - Patience
*14 NE Fatal Bazooka - Fous ta cagoule
 13 10 Cascada - Everytime we touch
*12 16 Bert Bills - Lovelight
*11 14 Silbermond - Das beste
*10 11 Akon - Smack that
* 9 12 Snow Patrol - Chasing cars
  8  6 Muse - Starlight
  7  5 Pink - You and your hand
* 6  7 Justin Numberwang - My love
  5  3 Depeche Mode - Martyr
  4  4 Seizure Sisters - I don't feel like dancing
* 3  9 Clitring Aguilera - Hurt
  2  1 U2 / Green Dull - The saints are coming
* 1  2 Razorlight - America

What is it about the French and the letter F at the moment? This week's top three - Fatal Bazooka, Faudel, and Faf Larange - all share the initial letter. Spooky. Feeling and Fake Fat - er, Take That - are big in the UK, while many others advance as Bob Sinclar falls away. He's going because he's French but doesn't use the F-letter. Razorlight take the top position here after five weeks in the runner-up spot.

No change in the top two, with Take That holding off Akron for a second week. Bootie Love, a tedious dance track, moves up from 19 to 3, and Nelly Furtado from 13 to 4 with a song that looks like being a long seller to the Radio 2 audience. Three decent rocky songs land in the top 20 this week, led by the Fratellis soft guitar strum (9). Muse (10) are up to the third single from their current album, it's entertainingly earnest prog-lite. The Killers (15) we're a little less enamoured of, they only seem to have four songs, but this is the fourth.

Also new: Fish Go Deep (23), Damien Rice (29), Jamelia (34), Lostprophets (35**). Get Cape etc is not covering Jeff Wayne; High School Musical's second single is almost outsold by its first, which is just one place lower. Expect both to take off after the show goes out on BBC-1 later this month...

Missing the 40: Fourth single from the Zutons' album lands at 47, it's perhaps one song too far. Paolo Nutini's new single, Rewind, lands at 61, one behind his old song. Scissor Sisters and Jay Zee scrape the bottom of the 75 on downloads.

You can tell it's December, as the yuletide songs are charting again - Fairytale of New Amsterdam makes its fourth appearance in the top 75, will fall off the chart on 31 December a year after its original release, but can chart again the following week when the restriction to physical releases is removed. No such problems for Slade's Merry xmas everybody - originally a five-week chart-topper in 1973, it was first re-issued in 1980, making 70. The song made 32 in 1981, 67 the following year, 20 in 1983, 47 in 84, 48 in 85, then rather spoiled the run by going to 71 in 86. Two more placings just inside the top 100 in 89 and 90, and an un-necessary re-recording in 1998. There's a full physical re-release, plus some versions with annoying drum beats, to-morrow.

Missing in action: Nelly Furtado's Promiscuous, deleted from last week's number 41, and Mariah Cantsing's All I want for christmas is some vocal technique, which would be in the 40 if songs were allowed to chart purely on downloads, as they will in five weeks' time.

Take That and Ill Divo make it a good week for manufactured pop, taking the top two positions on the albums chart, and Oasis moves ahead of Pestside in second week sales. The Fron Male Voice Choir climb to 9, and there's an upwards move for the Killers (21-11). Jordan and Peter Andre have recorded an album, we're not entirely sure why; even less obvious is the reason why enough people have bought it to put it in at 20, one place ahead of another boy band, G4.

Lower down come Faithless (30), Ja (35), Snoop Doggy Dog (47), Boney M (48, singles), Incubus (52), Josh Groban (63, best of), and Barry Manilow (70). Good climbs for the Fratellis, Neil Diamond, and Lily Allen.

Here's the good stuff on the singles listing:

 4 13 Nelly Furtado - All good things ^^
 9 52 Fratellis - Whistle for the choir ^^
10 NE Muse - Knights of Cydonia
12 10 Razorlight - America
15 50 Killers - Bones ^^
18 14 My Chemical Romance
  - Welcome to the black parade
22 18 Feeling - Love it when you call
25 21 Lemar - Someone should tell you
28 28 Shakira - Hips don't lie
29 55 Damien Rice - 9 crimes ^^
35 NE Lostprophets - Can't catch tomorrow ^^
36 27 Pink - Nobody knows
39 NE Get Cape Wear Cape Fly
  - War of the worlds ^^
40 NE High School Musical OCR
  - We're all in this together ^^
41 34 High School Musical OCR - Breaking free
45 43 Panic At The Disco
  - I write sins not tragedies
46 re Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
  - Fairytale of New Amsterdam
47 NE Zutons - It's the little things we do
51 59 Pink - You and your hand
52 49 Fratellis - Chelsea dagger
54 re Slade - Merry xmas everybody
59 30 Sugababes - Easy
62 42 McFly - Stargirl
63 46 Kasabian - Shoot the runner
64 63 Little Chris - Checking it out
65 54 Kooks - Ooh la
69 65 Goo Goo Dolls - Iris / Stay with you
71 58 Meat Loaf and Marion Raven
  - It's all coming back to me now
73 68 Muse - Starlight
74 75 Lily Allen - LDN
75 72 Pink - Who knew

permanent link
posted 03 Dec 2006, 19.31 +0000

Entertainment
Weather in week 48

Southerly wind and cloud ensured that this was a remarkably warm week. Most of the threatened storms avoided this part of the world, though there were some strong winds in the early hours of Sunday.

27 Mo cloud, showers      11/13, 1.5
28 Tu cloud                8/12, 1.5
29 We cloud                4/11
30 Th cloud                8/10
01 Fr cloud                8/12, 3.0
02 Sa sun to cloud         8/10
03 Su storm o/n, wind      7/10, 6.5

November finished with 66mm of rain, slightly over the 62.5mm monthly average. December's typical score is 65.5mm. 6 degree heating days this week, the winter's total now 75, compared with 133½/808, and 106½/677½ in the past two winters.

Wet and windy for all parts; Wednesday may be quieter than most days, and Friday could well be under the influence of a strong northerly wind.

permanent link
posted 03 Dec 2006, 19.42 +0000

Weather

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