Monday, July 31, 2006

Insanity For Charity

Westlife Star Puts Best Foot Forward For Skydive

DAREDEVIL wannabe Kian Egan insisted that he would be first to jump from a plane three miles up in his debut freefall skydive at the Irish Parachute Club in Co Offaly this week.

The Westlife singer, who ignored a plea from girlfriend Jodi Albert not to go flying without wings, agreed to the charity jump with pals though it will be his first-ever attempt.

"I want Jodi to be there", said Kian. "And lots of fans too."

He said that by the time Jodi and his mum tried to talk him out of the dive it was too late to pull out even if he wanted to. He had already announced that he was doing the jump to raise funds for victims of two recent earthquakes and a tsunami on Indonesia's main island, Java.

"Whatever fears I may have about the jump it's nothing compared to the ribbing I would have to take if I didn't do it," he said.

Westlife colleagues Nicky Byrne, Mark Fehily and Shane Filan have agreed to sponsor the jump at Clonbulloge to the tune of €1,000 each. They were moved to help the people of Java after the islanders helped them last year when a friend of Kian's injured a leg while on holiday there.

The fund has a website,

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Guess What?

Okay, so I know this is a bit late and everyone probably already knows, but my computer has been stupid lately and I haven't been able to post it!

So anyway... Lance Bass is gay!

I mean, we already knew, but now he's officially gay. And he's dating some guy who was on the Amazing Race a while back.

For those who don't know, Lance is from Nsync. He's the one who trained as a cosmonaut after the band 'went on hiatus' but never actually made it into space.

And now he's out.

That is all.

EDIT: One of the guys from V has also come out. You remember V. The bloke who's shagging Mark might have sung for them a bit before they were sucked into the vacuum of mediocre pop history. Anyway, the one who's come out is the blonde one - Aaron something or other. He actually had an online column for Smash Hits or PopWorld or something which was very funny, but I can't remember where it is - quite a talented lad when it comes to the writing. And now he's out as well.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Westlife’s Kian Egan has blasted the pop industry’s top songwriters-and says a lack of good new material is why his boyband’s next album will be made up of other artists’ hits.

Revealing details of the group’s Love Songs exclusively to The Goss, Kian told us: “We decided to do an album of cover versions. When we sat down and listened to all the new songs available, we didn’t like any of them.” Hardest to find were “good uptempo tunes” for Westlife to sing. Kian said: ”They’re just not coming in anymore. Nobody is writing good uptempo songs these days, especially for pop bands like us. That’s why you don’t hear any in the charts.”

Faced with this musical black hole, the four-man group then decided the best thing to do would be to raid their record collections.

Kian said: “We each did a list of our favourite songs and then we put all our lists together. I can tell you we got a few surprises.”

Surprises which include Bonny Goldsboro’s 1968 classic Honey (I miss you), which westlife producer Steve Mac is currently re-recording with the group in a London studio.

Insiders claim if they pull it off, Honey could be Westlife’s biggest hit ever. Kian said: ”At one stage it was the biggest selling record of all time. So it’s definitely the kind of popular song we should be covering.”

We can reveal the tracks on the album, due out in November, are some smoochy classics.

They have done takes on Chicago’s ‘Hard To Say I’m Sorry’, Air Supply’s ‘All Out Of Love’ and Garth Brooks’ ‘The Dance’ aswell as tunes made famous by Celine Dion and Bryan Adams.

The lads got a boost this week when manager Louis Walsh revealed he had cancelled plans to launch a new Irish boyband.

Louis told The Goss: “It’s got nothing to do with Westlife. I just can’t be bothered. I’m enjoying life too much right now.” And asked for his take on why Westlife’s new album was all covers, he said: “To sell shaggin’ records. I am the manager you know?”


Fucking Louis Fucking Walsh! I'm absolutely seething!

Hey, here's an idea. Why don't they, i dunno, wait another year, write some decent fucking songs themselves, and release an all new album. Better late than bloody awful!

And Kian, love, stop putting the blame on everyone else. It's not becoming.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Baby, You're A Double Standard

As posted earlier, it was Nicole Filan's birthday yesterday. So, in honour of the occasion, Shane decided it would be a fantastic idea to bring his little one-year-old baby onto the stage at Althorp and have the lads and the crowd sing happy birthday to her.

Gorgeous, right? A very cute moment from a doting dad who was obviously very excited about having a one-year-old baby girl. The apple of his eye. His darling progeny.

It's a wonder then, that the official website has issued an instruction to fans that they may not post any photos they took of Nicole on the boards.

This is hardly unexpected. Shane and Gillian have been guarding their daughter relentlessly, allowing no photos to be taken of her by anyone: the press or the fans. And that's fair enough, if they don't want to take out an ad in Hello! that's their prerogative. In fact, if it wasn't for the occasional foot peeking out of that blanket, we'd be questioning that she even exists and is just a way to cover up a fat phase that Gillian went through.

But if he's going to take her on stage, at a concert, in front of 10,000 odd people, how can he seriously expect some of those fans not to share their photos? Putting us on our honour isn't a bad way to go, and seems to have worked, as no photos have popped up, but it's a completely unrealistic expectation to force onto fans. He either wants to flaunt his daughter, or he doesn't; there's no in-between.

Rant over.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Another Birthday!

Happy birthday to little Nicole Filan, who turns one year old today! And congratulations to her daddy Shane and mummy Gillian for taking care of the youngest member of the Westlife family, and not accidentally leaving her on the bus.

Here's one of the most comprehensive photos we have of little Nicole, taken just after her birth. Doesn't she have a nice... blanket?

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Happy Birthday to Jodi Albert, who turns 23 today!

And again, we have to ask ourselves, how the hell did Kian manage to bag a chick that looks like THAT?!

Friday, July 21, 2006

This Week's Charts

Amazing is FINALLY being released tomorrow, and you ALL know what's expected of you... *glares*

As predicted, there's been bugger all extra promotion.

You Raise Me Up appears on Rage just before 9am tomorrow morning. It's still at number 16! Hooray!

Amazing is on Video Hits tomorrow, but it's not the Westlife one. It's the George Michael one. Neither You Raise Me Up or Amazing is on Video Hits at all this weekend - nice job for a channel and show that's supposed to be sponsoring the concert.


Australian film has experienced an uprising recently. It seems that, finally, the cheap ocker comedy has fallen by the wayside, making room for genuine, introspective drama that resonates with critics and the select few that shell out their hard earned money to see something that doesn't involve someone with the surname Wayans or Sandler.

Jindabyne is one such film.

Adapting from Raymond Carver's short story, director Ray Lawrence (Lantana) constructs a delicately introspective, brooding tale of ethnic and moral ambiguity that subverts the standard thriller structure. The basic plot of the story (men find dead aboriginal girl in lake, but keep fishing for two days before telling anyone) suggests elements of thriller, but it is mostly a dramatic piece, with beautifully constructed and believable characters (Laura Linney's dissatisfied wife is superb) coping with the situations presented to them and trying to regain a semblance of normalcy.

While it answers few questions, and contains no finite ending, the film is ultimately satisfying and provides the basis for further thought and speculation about the actions of people and their responsibilities to each other.


AOL have posted a 111 wussiest songs of all time and, while no Westlife songs made the list (cos Americans don't know who Westlife are), a bunch of songs that Westlife have either covered or performed have made the list.

Thanks to Yaara, who posted the list over on The Committed. Here's the full list, for anyone who's interested. Or if Westlife need some more ideas for crappy covers (because of course Westlife are readin my blog).

110. 'Seasons in the Sun' Terry Jacks (1974) Originally intended for the Beach Boys, Terry Jacks' maudlin adaptation of Jacques Brel's 'Le Moribund' ('The Dying Man') was impossibly cloying and irony free. Ironically, it was also one of Kurt Cobain's favorite songs.

98. 'Against All Odds' Phil Collins (1984) Apparently, there were a lot of breakups in 1984, as this despondent ode to lost love topped the chart. The song completed one of music's weirder transitions -- Collins, who began as the behind-the-scenes drummer for the once-bizarro prog rock group Genesis, had become a power balladeer, setting the stage for Michael Bolton.

92. 'Mandy' Barry Manilow (1974) This first chart hit from the man who would continually reset the bar for pop wussiness was a No. 1 smash. Astonishing stat: 10 of Bar's first 11 hits topped the Adult Contemporary chart. But for God's sake, somebody kiss the guy already and stop him from shakin'.

76. 'To Be With You' Mr. Big (1991) The sole No. 1 hit for hard-rock shredders Mr. Big was more likely to be heard around a campfire than in a rock club. The follow-up single was 'Just Take My Heart,' further proof that sappy sells. Especially in Japan.

49. 'Hero' Mariah Carey (1993) Even the recording academy thought this hit was too sugary for its own good. Despite the song's presence at telethons, tributes and kiddie concerts, the '95 Grammy for Pop Female Vocalist went to Sheryl Crow's 'All I Wanna Do.' Proof that fun in the sun trumps multi-octive soul-searching.

28. 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' Wham (1984) Maybe it was the way George Michael rhymed "go-go" with "yo-yo." Perhaps it's because he compared the sun to Doris Day -- back when he wasn't openly gay. Whatever the reason, listen between the lines and you'll hear why the Whammer was left sleeping while his partner went out to boogie.

27. 'More Than Words' Extreme (1991) After this long-haired Boston foursome failed to hit big with heavy metal, they went straight for the sell-out ballad, complete with the requisite acoustic-guitars-on-stools video. More common at '90s high school dances than spiked punch.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Welcome Back Westlife

Girlfriend magazine (New Zealand)
August 2006

Westlife is back on the pop scene with a hot new album and is ready to dominate the world stage again.

Westlife has been one of the world’s biggest selling bands for the past eight years, shifting millions of records with numerous number one hits. The Irish superstars recently released its seventh album Face to Face. Shane Filan took time out of the group’s sell out European tour schedule to have an exclusive chat with Girlfriend about all things Westlife – including the departure of Brian McFadden.

For those who might have been living under a rock over the past few years, how did Westlife get started?
Westlife started out nearly eight years ago. We started off in the north west of Ireland – where we are from – and we started doing gigs and different musicals. We met through school and got the record deal and started making our first album seven years ago. Our first album did really well in New Zealand, and seven years later we are back with our seventh album, Face to Face.

What is the biggest obstacle Westlife has encountered since you started?
When Brian McFadden left the band a couple of years ago. That was really the only major hurdle we had to cross – it was a very weird time for us. We were about to start a tour and we left three weeks after Brian departed. That was the only thing that helped us get through because we didn’t really have time to think about it too much. We had to get on with the show, we had routines to learn and places to go. Other than that, we have been really lucky and it’s been plain sailing for us.

When Brian left the band, was there ever any thoughts of quitting?
No, not at all. At the time, the four of us were very excited about being in the band. Brian obviously wasn’t happy in the band and he had problems in his personal life as well. But the four of us were very happy so that was one thing that never really entered our minds. Looking back, I thank God we stayed together because this year has been the best year for Westlife so far success wise and happiness wise.

What has contributed to the staying power of Westlife?
As people, the four of us are really good friends. We have dealt with the fame and success and we have been true to ourselves. It is a job at the end of the day, so we don’t take too much notice of the hype. It’s great that we have it but we want to keep it rather than throw it away. We plan to go on for a long time yet and we have no plans to call it quits.

What advice do you have for up and coming musicians?
You have to work hard and take everything you can get. A lot of great bands have fallen out because of arguments within the band or someone wanting to go solo, so that can really kill off a band very quickly. Be true to each other and have a laugh while you’re doing it – every year is a bonus for every band, so just enjoy it.

Westlife has done songs with some pretty big artists such as Mariah Carey and Diana Ross – what was this like?
Diana Ross was great because she is such a legend! We spent the day with her making the video and that’s really the only time we saw her because we recorded the song separately. Mariah was very nice too. We got to do a few different performances with Mariah.

What do you have to say to your New Zealand fans?
Well, we haven’t been back to New Zealand in a long time. We hope you like the new album! It’s a pure pop album for all our fans. New Zealand is actually the first place we had an international number one with “Swear it Again.” We also did the launch of our first album there, so it’s hard to forget New Zealand when it comes to the history of Westlife. We are looking forward to getting back down there – we are heading to Australia in September and there’s talk of us doing a concert in Auckland, so if we could do that it would be great! If not, we will definitely have a new album out before Christmas and our plan is to come to your part of the world for promotion around November. We have a lot of fans there and would love to get back and say hello to everybody!

What goals do you guys have left as a band?
I think just being successful and sustaining our success is what we want to do. Getting back to Australia and New Zealand this year is great. They are two big countries and there are a lot of sales there for Westlife and it will be great to go back and tour. We are looking forward to it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Raised Up

This is possibly my favourite interview of all time. It's quite a few months old now, but it's probably the most genuine, thoughtful and candid interview I've ever read. It asks all the questions the fans want answered, but isn't intrusive, and the lads seem comfortable and, most importantly, honest.

Anyway, on with the article. Just a warning, it's very long.

PS. Click on the links to see the photos from the shoot.

Raised Up

They’re the biggest phenomenon in pop, but when Sarah Camden spent a couple of days face to face with Westlife, she met the four men in the boyband: one cripplingly shy, one fiercely organised, one a born performer, and one an obsessive perfectionist.

A couple of hours before transmission time, a Late Late Show producer comes into Westlife’s large shared dressing room. Jackie Collins wants to meet them. Nicky Byrne turns to Shane Filan and checks that this is the one with the books, right? Shane confirms this and the producer adds that Emma Thompson would also like to say hello. Nicky, Shane and Kian Egan look a little more impressed. The producer goes off to arrange for this to happen and the waiting goes on in the dressing room.

Shane shuffles through a handful of DVDs someone handed to him earlier and delivers Emma Thompson’s courtroom speech from In The Name Of The Father in a cut-glass English accent. Kian laughs at a newly-arrived text: “Yes”, his father has replied to Kian’s enquiry as to whether the family knows Westlife are on the Late Late. Nicky phones his wife, Georgina, to check if a car has arrived yet to bring her to the studio. Mark Feehily is not present, having left the RTE campus a short while earlier to get something to ear. Nicky’s decided against eating, while Shane and Kian are still trying to decide on whether to risk the RTE canteen. They make a half-hearted attempt to blame their indecision on Shane’s wife Gillian (who is also Kian’s first cousin); she is feeding three-month-old daughter Nicole in a separate dressing room.

We are in the limbo hours that characterise one half of Westlife’s work, the down hours in between switched-on performances and interviews. Periods of intense activity, where the four are completely switched on, are followed by hours of waiting, during which time they disengage. They’re like a TV in standby mode, the little red light on, ready to jump into action in a split second, but conserving energy until that moment. They chat and banter and keep themselves ticking over, but it’s an unreal time by anyone’s standards – even, it seems, when you’ve been doing it for seven years.

The first time we meet, it is early October. It’s two weeks until the release date of Westlife’s new single, You Raise Me Up, and three weeks before it becomes their 13th number one. This is one of their promotional days and, according to Nicky, an easy one. The day’s schedule sees them conduct interviews in the morning, do a magazine photo shoot, grab lunch and the arrive at RTE in the afternoon to rehearse for the Late Late. They are in civvies, slightly weary-looking, storing up their star quality for later, when it matters to be sharp, suited, and in good singing voice. The elaborate You Raise Me Up they will mime, but World Of Our Own will be live and acoustic. And after talking to Pat, the four will part company, with Mark heading to London, Kian, Shane, Gillian and Nicole returning to Sligo and Nicky going straight to Limerick, where Georgina has her college graduation the following day.

In reality, Westlife put up no public front behind which their true personalities hide. Their personalities are not subsumed into stardom. For sanity’s sake, if nothing else, they are themselves most of the time, chatting about regular things, concerned with the usual twentysomething-male preoccupations. There’s more talk about the Discovery Channel and plastic surgery gone bad than you might expect. Their dissection of Charlotte Church’s reinvention is less music-biz insider than you might hope and only once do they venture into millionaire-bling territory, with a discussion of how much it might cost to run a yacht. At moments, you’d nearly think it all quite normal, until someone comes up behind them and starts running fingers through their hair and tweaking their clothes, and the boys don’t even blink. Then you remember, yes, these are ordinary guys, but this is also Westlife, the biggest thing in pop. Nothing, but nothing, ordinary about that.

There is the sense of a comeback about Westlife’s new album, Face To Face. It is their second album without Brian McFadden and they seem to consider it their first genuine effort as a foursome, all laughing a little at last year’s Rat Pack album Allow Us To Be Frank. “I felt like a 50-year-old man at the end of last year,” Nicky Byrne chuckles throatily. “I wouldn’t say that album was cringeworthy, but it was like acting, being those characters for so long, and, really, no acting job would even go on that long. It was fun, but it was an experiment for us.”

“It was like taking a year out, without taking a year out,” Kian Egan says. “It let people know we weren’t breaking up, but we got a break all the same.” The promotional and concert tours were shorter than usual, and afterwards, the boys got four months off, an unprecedented break for them. The four barely phoned one another, took holidays, and took stock. Kian surfed, Shane became a father, Mark toyed with coming out (more of which later). Nicky, characteristically, grew bored of idleness and took an acting course during a holiday in New York. Nobody knew him there, he says, adding, with an honest, hearty laugh, that the novelty wore off pretty quickly.

So, several months ago, Westlife returned to the studio refreshed and keen to re-establish themselves as the kings of pop. All four, along with manager Louis Walsh, are confident – weeks before You Raise Me Up becomes the biggest-selling single of the year – that this will bring their star to new heights. Shane, for one, is talking seven more years, which will bring all four into their early 30s and force us to find a new word for ‘boyband’.

You Raise Me Up is Westlife’s first single without Brian McFadden, who remains present in his absence, and may do so for some time yet. While rehearsing in the TV studio, the boys jokingly invite floor manager Don Irwin to join hem on the stools. “Well, you were once five,” Irwin quips, while Nicky replies, “Yeah, and you’re better looking.”

“Sometimes,” Mark says later, sipping a Red Bull in the hour before going on with Pat, “I try to remember what it was like when Brian was in the band, and I can’t. It’s like something you know happened, but you can’t remember what it felt like. Like, you can remember enjoying food in a great restaurant, but you can’t remember what it smelled like or tasted or anything. He’s still a very close friend, but it’s never going to be the same again, because the band is a unit, a very closed unit, and once you leave that, it’s over. It sounds a bit sad, but we are a bit bonded, a bit of a brotherhood, and Brian stepped out of that.

“We do talk and we text,” Mark continues, “but we don’t see each other a lot, and if Brian came in now and sat down in the dressing room with us, it would be really weird.”

Separately, Nicky and Kian comment on Brian’s choice of words when he told them he was quitting Westlife. On Thursday, March 4, 2004, Brian (then still Bryan) told them “I’m hanging up my boots.”

Both Nicky and Kian quote this, and seem irritated by it, though they can’t quite convey why, in the manner of people trying to find something on which to focus anger they’d rather not direct at their mate. Kian sys it’s because Brian’s not a footballer, because it seems so inappropriate. Or maybe so glib. Of the press conference, held the following Tuesday, Kian recalls that he cried “like an eejit.”

“And I don’t think Brian batted an eyelid,” he says. “It seemed like he was kind of smirking, but Brian always does that when he’s nervous.” Kian also cried when Brian broke the news to his bandmates. “Not in front of him,” Kian laughs, “but when he walked out the door. I couldn’t believe he was doing this to us, breaking our dream, walking out three weeks before a tour. But I don’t think Brian realised how much all this means to me, because when he was in the band, he always saw me as the one fighting with him – fighting with him as in trying to get him to do things, do the right thing. To Brian, it was just me annoying him.”

In between rehearsal time and the Late Late proper, the lads leave their dressing room to record some radio soundbites. While they are away, Gillian Filan, Shane’s wife, arrives with three-month-old Nicole. If anything proves these boys have become men, it’s the poppet in the pram. She is very cute, with her daddy’s dimpled chin and, Gillian jokes, his love of the mirror. When the four lads return, every one of them rushes over and gushes about the baby, with Mark the first to remember to say hello to Gillian. They laugh, and then he says hello to me, having averted his eyes from mine up to now.

Later, Mark talks about his habit of averting his eyes in discomfort. In rehearsals, earlier, it happened every time the camera zoomed in on his singing solo. Shane insisted Mark get more individual camera time, but Mark appeared as if he’d rather do without, thanks. “I could be sitting, relaxed, for two hours, and then, as soon as a camera comes on, it’s – ping! I completely change,” he says. “It’s something I’ve worked on, and I hope I’ll eventually master. It’s like I can’t stop thinking, ‘Oh God, there’s a big fat camera there and it’s beaming me into sitting rooms all over the country.’ I suppose you could call it a mini-complex. I prefer being in the studio than anywhere else, with no-one watching, and just singing.”

Mark talks about how the other lads can walk into a room and “be themselves”, and how he wishes he could. Instead, Mark explains, he retreats into himself with strangers and gives a false representation of himself. Mark’s friends will tell you he’s great fun, but he feels his shyness acutely. Several years older than him, I feel compelled to reassure him that being yourself is something often only achieved in your 30s, but there’s more to it with Mark. He has, after all, been concealing part of himself for years before recently coming out. You feel with him that there’s a blossoming only beginning, and want to assure him it’s going to be great.

For tonight, however, Mark’s a little apprehensive about Pat’s inevitable questions on the Late Late. “You know,” he laughs, “I’d be nervous going on talking about my favourite colour, ever mind this.” He talks to me about accusations that he lied for years about his sexuality, and explains that he was straight out of school and into Westlife, not sure himself for years about what he wanted. He’s happy now, though, in a relationship with Kevin McDaid from boyband V, but they’re not engaged, as has been reported.

Nor, for that matter, is Kian, who remains “totally in love” with his girlfriend, English actress Jodi Albert, but has no plans to marry. The others joke that Kian has a five-year plan, but it’s probably more like 25 years. “Thirty, 31 – that’s a good time to get married,” he tells me, firmly, “And you should know each other at least six years before that.” Kian is a planner, an organised, the day-to-day manager of the band. He lies awake at night sorting things to perfection in his head, determined that Westlife give everything their best effort. Throughout the day, he takes calls from the record company and talks sales figures and “where the market’s at.” He is the only one who gets phone calls from Louis Walsh, who earmarked Kian for this role from day one.

And Kian likes the role, jokes about it, and acknowledges that he’s more likely to have a career in management than music if and when Westlife is over. Which, they all insist, won’t be for a long time yet.

“We all have our own little roles in Westlife,” says Shane. “I’m probably more a perfectionist when it comes to the music, and Nicky loves the performing and the interviews, but if Kian wasn’t in the band, I don’t know if Westlife would still be together. He’s held it all together so many times. When some people would be thinking it was all too much, Kian would tell us not to be so stupid – look at how lucky we are.”

Luck comes up a lot with Westlife. Shane talks, almost moist-eyed, about the day they got the call from Walsh to support Backstreet Boys in 1998. Six months earlier, he had queued up for tickets for the same concert. He was in a pub in Sligo when the call came through – Gillian was working there as a waitress - and he cried like a baby. “I can remember, clear as day, what it felt like to want to be where we are now,” he says.

In person, it’s difficult not to be moved by their sincere gratitude for the success so far. Some of it is stock phrases we still associate with Ronan Keating, but a lot of it is raw from-the-heart appreciation. “You know,” says Nicky, “you can complain about what you sacrifice with celebrity, but really, you get this amazing life that maybe even your parents strived for.

My dad’s a cabaret singer with a band since he was 18 years old,” he goes on, “and he never got the breaks. And now he looks at me on stage in the Point and – now, he’s very proud of me – but he must think he would have loved that. Last year, we did a TV show and they had our dads perform a Rat Pack song. The dads all loved it, but it was my dad’s dream and, yeah, sometimes I do feel a bit guilty. I even feel guilty sometimes to live in my house. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all very proud, but sometimes I feel guilty and think, “Oh, Jesus, I’m one of the luckiest bastards alive.”

While Mark slips away from RTE for something to eat, Shane, Gillian, Nicole, Kian and I brave the canteen. Nicky doesn’t want to be bloated on camera, and decides to wait until later for something to eat. As it happens, the canteen closed the kitchen three minutes before our arrival, and so dinner is a hotchpotch of smoothies, banana, sandwiches and cereal. Shane decides they’ll have to stop at Super Sam’s on the way back to Sligo. It’s a chipper in Edgesworthstown, he explains, with the best chips in Ireland. “The frozen kind, sort of hard, but lovely with loads of salt. And their chicken burger with cheese, oh…” he trails off, in fast-food ecstasy.

“You’d know his family had a chipper,” Kian laughs. Kian buys two sandwiches, bringing one back to the dressing room in case anyone else is hungry. Then, they go off to prepare for Pat.

Westlife’s status has shifted by the time we meet again, a few weeks late, for their LIFE photoshoot. By this stage, You Raise Me Up is a sure-fire number one, with sales that have surpassed all expectations. The album Face To Face is tipped to topple Robbie Williams from his one week at number one – which it achieves a matter of days later – and they are about to fly off to South Africa to film the video for their Christmas single, When You Tell Me That You Love Me, with Diana Ross. Nicky admits he’s not sure if they’re ever going to meet Diana and then jokingly worries about stiff chart competition from Dustin and Chris De Burgh’s Patricia the Stripper.

The mood is different during the photo shoot. There’s a slight uncertainty about the “morning-after-the-night-before” theme and, as they’re all hanging around, some wrangling about who’s wearing what. Shane, for the most part, is more than happy in suit trousers and an unbuttoned shirt. Kian loves his towelling boxer’s robe, but won’t wear eyeliner, and Nicky isn’t sure about the pyjamas. Mark loves botht he eyeliner and the dressing gown he is given, and seems aware of the slightly dissolute figure he cuts, wandering around sipping Diet Coke from a huge brandy glass.

Because the camera catches the lads at only specific moments, and never unawares, they seem more relaxed at the shoot. And they also seem to be in standby mode. There’s more to do today, after all. There’s a TV spot and a radio interview, both scheduled for the same time, and a personal appearance in town. Kian snuggles into the sofa for a lengthy phone call with Jodi, slightly sleepy after a feed of porridge and a boiled egg. When the time comes for his close-up, he says goodbye to her in front of everyone – stylists, bandmates, photographer, all sorts of assistants and me, ssuring Jodi, “No, I love you more,” without a shred of self-consciousness. Then he immediately begins talking surfing and split-screen VW camper vans with Niall, the photographer, and telling us how he got the scar on his cheek.

Meanwhile, Nicky lies on the big Four Seasons bed in the hotel suite and cajoles the lads into poses they worry might seem ridiculous. Shane doesn’t want to hug the pillow, but Nicky tells him it looks okay, so he does it. Shane then gives us the low-down on high-quality bed linen, and insists that the price at which the hotel sells mattresses to customers is quite reasonable. Everyone tries the mattress and aggress it’s very, very nice. And all the time, Mark’s singing the poo song from South Park and pulling moves with stylist to the Beckhams Ben Cooke that turn out to be lifted from Madonna’s new video.

This is their world – not the real world, not real life, but definitely Westlife. To step into their world is to step into it completely. Time both stops and hurries by. You’re not sure if it’s night or morning, but there’s always the panicking sense of not enough hours to fit in everything. As an outsider, it’s a roller coaster that goes fast, then slow, rather than up or down, and it’s disconcerting. Shane, Nicky, Mark and Kian are used to it – seven years used to it, and hungry for more.

An hour after the shoot, I watch from the foyer as Westlife pile into people-carriers to head into town. They look exactly as Westlife should: sleek, hair in place, inoffensively trendy in baggy jeans and a variety of combat-style jackets. Their expressions are businesslike as they inwardly rev up for the fanfest ahead. Mark trails behind and says goodbye as he passes. Only a trace of eyeliner remains as he joins his mates for the next gig, the next chance to sell planet Westlife.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Lowie's Hot 30

Shane did an interview last night on Lowie's Hot 30, which I didn't know was on (mostly because Lowie shits me and I don't listen to his show) , but my good pal Nic has uploaded the podcast to YouSendIt, so I'll post the links for anyone who's interested (Megan? Jenny?).

Among other things, Shane talks about the next album, the tour, Brian, psycho fans, pop music, and breaking into the industry.

The files will be good for a week, so get in and download now if you want them. Try and ignore the irritating Sustagen ads at the beginning of each section. It's worth it for Shane sounding all sleepy because he's obviously only just woken up. Awww...

Part 1 (1MB)
Part 2 (2.2MB)
Part 3 (1.2MB)
Part 4 (0.8MB)
Part 5 (0.7MB)


Chart Positions For This Week

You Raise Me Up is at number 15, and will be played just before 9am on Rage tomorrow, right after For You I Will (Confidence) by Teddy Geiger.

And if anyone is interested, David Hasselhoff's new single Jump In My Car is at number 50 this week, and will be played sometime between 6:30 and 7:00am.

You know you want to. Do it for the Hoff.

Or he'll keep doing seriously wrong things to these wrinkly puppies.

Pressure On For Boys To Keep On Looking Good

by Jonathon Moran

(this article appeared in today's Courier Mail. Thanks to Megan for letting me know it was there!)

PRESSURE to look good is part of the job for Westlife member Kian Egan.

The 26-year-old Irish singer says keeping fit and dressing well is part of the business.

But it doesn't rule his life.

"We are in the public eye and we are scrutinised quite a bit by people," said Egan, ahead of the boy band's September Australian tour.

"People automatically have an image of this guy from Westlife and to an extent it is nice to be able to live up to that image"

Westlife has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in Australia since visiting the coun try in March to promote their latest album, Face to Face.

Their single, You Raise Me Up rocketed into the charts at the time of the trip and remains there four months later.

Delta Godrem's boyfriend Brian McFadden was originally with the group but left in 2004 to go solo.

"We all have settled down a bit, we all have partners, some people have babies, some are married, some are gay," said Egan when asked how the group had changed.

(never fear, readers, I will be coming back with photos, I just have to find the same ones that are in the article online... or very similar ones.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mark on the Aussie Tour! YAY!

Westlife's Mark Feehily Talks Monkeys, Malibu + Their 'Amazing' Upcoming Oz Tour

Monkeys, nights on the town, getting star-struck and writing songs on the fly... We got to know about a whole other side of Westlife when we chatted to Mark Feehily. Check out our interview with the Irish pop superstar right here and start getting pumped for when the lads hit our shores in September for their first ever Oz tour.
Q: Congratulations on your success Downunder. 'You Raise Me Up' has gone Platinum and your album 'Face To Face' has gone double Platinum! How have you guys been enjoying the success?

MF: Well amazingly, the whole thing's been like a new lease of life in a way. We've been banging-on to our record companies for years to let us go and give Australia a shot. Around this time last year we started talking to the record companies down there and talking to our home record company and we were like 'why aren't we getting it a shot', you know?' and eventually we finally said let's go for it. 'You Raise Me Up' seemed to be getting some interest and we went down there this year in February and it kicked off from there. We got an amazing reception and more importantly we really enjoyed ourselves and everybody - the fans - really enjoyed us being there. So we're coming back in September to do some gigs and concerts. We're really looking forward to that to show them a side of us that we feel is our best side - which is our live show.

Q: Is there anything that you missed seeing or doing in February that you're really looking forward to doing when you come back in September?

MF: We were only there for two and a half in February and we squeezed a lot of stuff in. But obviously there's a lot places we want to see - like Perth! I remember when I was six years old, seeing my cousin get in this big, fat aeroplane to flying to the other side of the world - to Perth! So I never thought I'd say that I was going to go to Perth! I'm looking forward to that. We really genuinely enjoyed ourselves when we were over there, especially the bits and pieces when we weren't working... I made really good friends with this monkey in Melbourne Zoo...

Q: That's pretty memorable! Why didn't you see a koala bear or a kangaroo?

MF: I don't know! (ha ha) But I love going to zoos cos I love animals! The zoo in Melbourne was amazing - it had so many cool things...big silverback gorillas and stuff. It was really fun!

Q: So what's it like on the road with Westlife - any crazy habits?

MF: Nothing too outrageous, really. If we've done a good long day's work, we like going to eat some great food and then going to a club. It can get pretty mad sometimes when we stay out late...but nothing outrageous. We're just the same as any guys our age - we love going out and having a few drinks and having a laugh...

Q: And I'm sure you'll find some fans to party with! Were you quite surprised at how many fans you had when you got down here in February?

MF: Yeah we were shocked with the reaction that we got actually. We weren't expecting quite a big rush of a reaction. All of a sudden it went from people knowing a few of our songs on the radio to having that kind of success! It's shocking and very, very exciting because it's been so long since we've broken a new territory and it just reminds me of the feeling that at the very start of the band when we were setting off. As I said, it's about bloody time we were getting down to Australia and getting to meet all our fans out there and hopefully make some new fans as well.

Q: It must be quite a relief to get out of the studio and perform live to the fans...

MF: Yeah our live tour is really like the end aim for us. We record the album and then we try and promote it so that everyone's getting ready for the thing at the end of the day - which is the live concert. We sing the songs and the fans can listen to us and enjoy the songs there and then with a live band, and the lights... that's what we always enjoy the most... the live element. So we're delighted to be coming to hopefully give the fans a good time!

Q: Can your Aussie fans expect anything special - any surprises? Anything you can give u a sneak-peek into?

MF: Well, we sing a lot of Westlife hits. If anyone does have any of the older albums then get them out and refresh your memories with the songs from the early days. Without giving it away, we do a couple of songs from other acts that they might like. And we always try and put a couple of saucy numbers in the show too! You know, we're known for our ballads, but we have just as many up-tempo and mid-tempo songs in our show because obviously when you're in the life arena, you can't just sing ballads all night or people will just sit down. We don't feel like we've succeeded unless people are standing up jumping with their hands in the air and just losing it basically. So it's a very high-energy show and this particular show is very modern and slick and it all moves very fast. Our aim from the moment the concert starts to the moment the concert finishes is to have people on the edge of their seats never sitting down bored.

Q: Your supporting act is going to be perfect for that - the Aussie foursome The Young Divas - are you familiar with them?

MF: Yeah I've heard a lot about them - especially more so now they're supporting us! I'm really looking forward to meeting them. They sound really cool.

Q: Your single 'Amazing' is about to be released here in Australia - what's the song about?

MF: Well the songwriter will take a personal experience in life and incorporate it into a pop melody. So I don't know exactly what experience it comes from but it's just a general song about relationships. But to be honest with you, it's not so much about the deep and meaningful of the song. It's more about the harmonies, melodies and production of the song that we would like people to listen to. We did it with some Swedish guys from a company called The Location who have done a lot of songs with a lot of people. It's a nice light and airy, mid-tempo fresh kind of pop song.

Q: When a song is written by someone else but performed by you, it must creates its own meaning for you...

MF:When you perform it, that's when you go to your experience of emotions to find a way of singing the song with passion. Another thing that a lot of people say to us is that when they listen to our songs, because there's no direct story that we're pushing in the face of the fans lyrically, they kind of take their own meaning out of it. It's kind of like an open for them to think about their own situation because the lyrics are quite general.

Q: You recorded 'Amazing' with Steve Mac - what's it like working with him?

MF: Steve is great, he's someone we've worked very closely with ever since the band started off. He's a very talented songwriter and a great producer as well. He's somebody that is passionate about Westlife and passionate about his songs, and he's somebody that has given us a lot of our great songs, so we're very grateful to him and we're working again with him on our album as well...

Q: Aha! A new album! Talk to us about that!

MF:Well it must be weird for Aussie fans to hear there's a new album already! But we're recording a new album due out over here at the end of October. It's gonna be another pop album - hopefully another good pop album - that fans will like as much as 'Face To Face'!

Q: On the Aussie release of 'Amazing', there's second track 'Miss You When I'm Dreaming'- was there any special reason you chose that track to go on the single?

MF:It's kind of a weird story... we were recording 'Amazing' in Sweden, and Shane and I were messing around in the studio and had just ordered food. So we said 'While we're waiting of the food, let's just write a song!' We literally wrote the song in half an hour - it all happened quite fast! So we decide to put it on with 'Amazing' because we recorded it at the same time. It's just a little ditty - no big production but just a nice little song.

Q: The Amazing video is included on the single... what's your favourite Westlife video?

MF: There's a few... but the video for 'Unbreakable' was cool. You know when you grow up and you hear about Hollywood and the movie sets, and we actually got to make the video in Universal Studios - so we felt like actors in Hollywood! We made the other half of it we made on Malibu Beach and the American crew were pointing to the houses going 'There's Cher's!' 'That's Britney's!'... and were just looking around us trying to see Courtenay Cox or Pheobe from 'Friends' walking her dogs. I know it's quite naïve but it was so exciting to be there and to know anyone could walk past with their kids and their dogs!

Q: Kian has said that his favourite Westlife moment was making the 'If I Let You Go' video in Tenerife... what's your favourite Westlife moment?

MF: As an experience, but not necessarily the final product, making the video for the Mariah Carey duet was really cool cos we got to hang out with her for 3 days and they filmed it all on an Capri where she has a big house and a studio. So we got to go on her big massive yacht and go to dinner with her, and it was just a really crazy experience to be hanging out with Mariah Carey in a big mansion in Italy, you know?! That's the great thing about what I've done in these past 8 years in Westflife is these little things we get to do which are so cool.

Q: And the best thing about being Westlife right now?

MF:It's the experience, you know, and what you learn. After being in LA I couldn't wait to get home with for a nice home-cooked meal from my mum. You know, you learn to appreciate all these little things. You learn so much about the world and the different cultures, so it's a pretty amazing lifestyle. We just jump a train to Sweden, and the next week to china and the next week to South Africa. And if we're not on planes we're in the studio, or doing a duet with somebody, or writing a song... It's a crazy life but it's really good that at the end of the day you've done something interesting and it's not the same thing all the time. There are days you miss your family and friends but we're a lot more used to dealing with everything now, like getting recognised on the street and just dealing with everything - it just hardens you up. I was a quite naïve young kid from Northern Ireland countryside but I've really lived a lot in the last eight years and it's just been an amazing experience.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Just so everyone knows, the Aussie release date for the Amazing single has been put back from the 15th of July to the 22nd. So that's NEXT Saturday instead of THIS Saturday. Why they've done this, I'm not sure. Maybe so they can do an extra week's promotion. They'll need it, considering the pitiful amount the Aussie promotion team has already done. I'm expecting an ad on Briz 31 at about 4am.

Just so everyone knows, this is what the cover looks like:

Except for with the gold strip at the bottom, because Still Here doesn't feature on the Aussie edition. The actual tracklist is as follows:

1. Amazing (single mix)
2. Miss You When I'm Dreaming
3. Amazing (video)

Check out my review of the UK version of the single here, but be aware that 'Still Here' and the 'Exclusive Chat' don't appear on the Aussie version. Still, it's absolutely worth buying just for Miss You When I'm Dreaming, which is an utterly gorgeous track, and for the video.

Because as we all know, the best videos have a photocopier in them.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Shane's Summer Profile

Nicky and Shane... sitting in a tree... K.I.S.S.I.N.G... He even keeps the same things in his suitcase as Nicky does. I wonder if they sit down together before the trip and plan everything so they can match? Also, apart from mentioning his honeymoon, neither Gillian nor Nicole appear in any of his answers. Maybe he intends to take them to Moscow, and accidentally lose them in the snow?

And again, Westlife like the Four Seasons. Plug, plug.

My favourite holiday: It was probably my honeymoon actually, out in the Maldives in the middle of nowhere. It was just unbelievable; very relaxing, very hot. Paradise.

My favourite getaway: Probably just going home to be honest. I love spending time at home and just chilling out.

My favourite hotel: Four Seasons.

If I’ve got time off I…Play golf

My funniest holiday story: Mine’s probably the same as Nicky’s. He literally couldn’t look at me all day without breaking into fits of laughter. He had to leave the swimming pool at one point because he couldn’t stop laughing.

My suitcase essentials: Again, same as Nicky’s.

My favourite summer tunes: Mine was actually’ ‘Boom Boom Boom’ by the Outhere Brothers.

The place I’d most like to visit: Moscow. I’d absolutely love to go to Moscow.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Nicky's Summer Profile

Ah, Nicky. Dear, Nicky. BELOVED Nicky. Yes, he actually calls his wife his BELOVED Georgina. Weird, and slightly over the top, but there you go. Apart from that, Nicky's a city boy who likes the finer things in life. He likes a bit of overseas travelling instead of just a wander down to the ol' fishing hole. And he loves spending his holidays with Shane. Ooooooh... *wink wink, nudge nudge*

My favourite holiday: When I was about eight my parents and I went to Canada for two weeks. I’d never been to the States and it was just the best thing ever. We went to see the Falls, which was just incredible. I still love travelling to these big cities, but when you first see it at that age it’s just amazing.

My favourite getaway: Travelling through the South of France.

My favourite hotel: I like the chain of W hotels in the States. But Four Seasons as a whole, definitely.

If I’ve got time off I…love to spend it with my beloved wife Georgina and my dog Keano.

My funniest holiday story: I travelled to Miami with Georgina and Shane and Gillian. We took some photographs and I have this habit of playing paparazzi where I just grab the camera and take a picture. When we got them back there was one where Shane just looked like his face was inside out. He looked about 45 stone.

My suitcase essentials: Wallet, phone, passport. With that I can get anywhere.

My favourite summer tunes: This summer I’ve been listening to James Blunt, but if you want to talk about summer in general I remember when ‘Mr Vain’ and ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’ came out. I also remember a song that Georgina bought me called ‘You Sure Do’ by Strike. I used to like that.

The place I’d most like to visit: The south of Italy, right in the boot. I absolutely love it.

In other news... bugger all's happened this week. Someone jumped in ahead of me and started a rumour. Apparently Mark and Kevin have broken up. It's bullshit. In case anyone was worried.

Oh, and the 'Nicky's smoking!' whinge has resurfaced again as well. Get over it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Chart Positions For This Week

Just leaping in to say that Westlife have leapt up the charts again to number 11 from last week's number 17! Hooray!

In other news, Axel is a tool, but at least we didn't have to see much of him on that Video Hits special this morning. They played 5 clips (Swear It Again, Uptown Girl, If I Let You Go, You Raise Me Up, and Amazing), and Axel just did a little introduction thingy for some of them, and gave the tour dates. So all went well.

Except for when he pronounced Kian's name wrong. Seriously... Kee-arn?! It's Kian, you fuckwit! Ki-en.


And now I'm going to see Pirates Of The Caribbean! Hooray!

Mark's Summer Profile

As promised, here's Mark's summer profile. From Mark's profile we can surmise that he's a bit of a laid-back country bloke, as he enjoys fishing, driving, camping, smoking (with the balcony door open, obviously)... all that anti-nature crap. He also likes 'doing a little hobo', which is nice for him, because it's good to have a bit of variety on your relationship. Obviously he and Kevin are into role playing. You know, one's the hobo, one's the kindly passer-by who gives spare change while the hobo gives...

Ahem. And he wants to come back to Australia! YAY!



My favourite holiday: I enjoy going fishing. Even if you don’t catch fish, it’s very relaxing, you know, camping out in a caravan or a camper van, or renting a little cottage somewhere. We’ve done all the big cities and casinos and fun parks but by far the most relaxing thing is driving around at your own pace, doing a little hobo.

My favourite getaway: I love driving into the middle of nowhere.

My favourite hotel: I don’t have a favourite. I just want a balcony and a window that opens.

If I’ve got time off I… Play dead

My funniest holiday story: Getting stopped for about an hour and a half in customs in Miami because I had Israel and all the Middle Eastern countries stamped on my passport.

My suitcase essentials: Toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash. Loads of clean jocks and socks. Loads of clean T-shirts, some jeans and a tracksuit, like a big baggy top to relax in.

My favourite summer tunes: Last year I really liked Kanye West’s album, that was my summer album. This year I don’t really have one. There’s one I got free off the record label though by Ziggy Marley called Dragonfly.

The place I’d most like to visit: I’m looking forward to going to Sydney again because it was so much fun when we went there on tour.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Some Scary Shit (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Today, I saw Friday the 13th for the first time ever.

Yes, I did. I’d never seen it before, as my local video shop doesn’t stock it. This week, my family decided to be adventurous and go to a different video shop. And… there it was. Needless to say, I grabbed it and clutched it to my chest like a good little movie geek. I ran straight home, and watched it.

I was disappointed.

It was okay, it had some really good kills, and I could understand why it was so huge ‘back in the day’, but really, there was nothing particularly special about it. “Your jaded noughties brain can’t understand the classics”, you may say. Not true. Bride Of Frankenstein is on my high rotation list, and I would never turn down a screening of The Omen (the original, of course). But when it came to Friday the 13th… I was indifferent to its charms. It didn’t keep me interested and, most importantly, it didn’t scare me.

Until the last five minutes.

There’s something about little Jason Vorhees leaping out of a lake, and dragging a girl out of her canoe in his wet, rotting arms. It wasn’t exactly a new concept (they used the same ‘JUMP! Oh, it was all a dream’ method in Carrie, four years previous), but bloody hell, it scared the shit out of me.

So it got me thinking, what movies have scared me the most? And, more specifically, what moments made me jump out of my skin? What haunted me for weeks? What made me sleep with the lights on?

So here they are… my top ten movie moments that scared the living shit out of me.*

*I understand that these may not be the same as yours, oh reader. So don’t come to me and say ‘oh, but where’s that bit from Halloween?’, because I don’t care about the public’s favourite scary moments. I care about mine. (And I thought Halloween was a bit boring, to be honest. Shoot me if you must)


10. Giggling Zombies
Film: The Evil Dead
Lowdown: Ash goes into the woods with his mates, reads from a spellbook, and suddenly everyone starts going zombie.
Moment: Being raped by a tree should get some kind of award for being disturbing, but in fact it’s crazy girl zombie Linda sitting cross-legged on the floor with her head lolling about that gave me the nightmares. It’s the giggle that does it, that haunting, crazy laughter that sounds like a cross between little-girl-lost and psychotic flesh-eater while she crawls after him along the floor.

9. Stabby Stab Stab!
Film: Don’t Look Now
Lowdown: After his daughter dies, John buggers off to Venice with his wife, where he starts to see his dead daughter everywhere…
Moment: …or so he thinks. It’s the moment that little red raincoat turns around to reveal a psychotic dwarf with a knife that makes me think ‘fuck, this shit is fucked!’ and then STAB STAB! And, before you say anything, I’m not discriminating against dwarves. I’m discriminating against crazy dwarves in red raincoats that stab Donald Sutherland. Honourable mention to the extended sex scene – that was pretty traumatising too. I never want to see Donald Sutherland naked again.

8. Screaming Heads
Film: Return To Oz
Lowdown: After some electroshock therapy goes wrong, Dorothy returns to Oz (go figure) which has become a wasteland ruled by the evil Nome King and headless Princess Mombi.
Moment: While trying to escape from Mombi’s palace, Dorothy wakes Mombi’s replacement heads, which reside in the glass cases lining the castle halls. The heads immediately begin to wail in a fashion that is so haunting it puts teeth on edge. The headless Mombi then chases Dorothy through the castle, egged on by the screeching heads.

7. Where’s The Gun?
The Sixth Sense
Lowdown: A little kid can see dead people. All the time. They’re everywhere.
Moment: While hiding from the ghosts in his tent, little Haley Joel Osment sees a teenage boy wandering his halls. This guy doesn’t look too bad, we think. At least not until the boy asks if little Haley Joel wants to know where his dad keeps the guns, then turns around to reveal a bloody cavity that takes up half his head. Well, at least we know where the bullets went.

6. Camera Goes Dead.
Film: The Blair Witch Project
Lowdown: In October of 1994, three student film makers disappeared in the woods near Burkittesville, Maryland. One year later, their footage was found.
Moment: This film got a lot of stick, mostly because people felt a bit ripped off by the ‘this is legitimate footage’ lie. And fair enough. But it doesn’t prevent the fact that the film’s premise is innovative (if you forget Cannibal Holocaust), and that it has some shit scary moments, mostly involving teeth. And then there’s the final moment. There’s some screaming, some forced re-enactment of the myth of the witch… and then the camera dies. And that’s it. It gave me nightmares for a week.

5. Playtime Turns Nasty
Film: Frankenstein (1931)
Lowdown: A scientist creates a man out of the remains of corpses and animates it with lightning and a murderer’s brain. The monster escapes.
Moment: Stumbling upon a little girl playing near a lake, the confused monster joins her in the delightful 30s German game of tossing flowers into the water and pretending they are boats (hey, they didn’t have television!). Having a grand old time, the monster doesn’t let the game stop when he runs out of flowers. Oh no. He picks up the little girl instead, tosses her in, and drowns her, a stupidly gleeful grin on his face.

4. A Very Dynamic Manuscript
Film: The Shining (1980)
Lowdown: An author and his family become the caretakers of an isolated hotel for the winter… but it seems they are not alone.
Moment: The wife, Wendy, her curiosity getting the better of her, takes a peek at her husband’s work, the great novel he claims he has been writing for months. But instead of grand literature, all that greets her eyes is pages and pages of the same words over and over again. Say it with me now: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

3. Is He, Or Isn’t He?
Film: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
Lowdown: The earth is slowly being repopulated by alien clones, which replace humans while they sleep.
Moment: Donald Sutherland (he’s doing well in this list) wanders around, after managing to evade the aliens for the whole movie. His face is blank, his eyes dull, and he walks like a zombie. But is he pretending, or is he really one of them? His fellow escapee, Nancy, doesn’t know, so she takes the chance and runs up to him, babbling about escaping. Finger pointing, he turns, his voice an undeniably alien screech.

2. Some Scary Sheet!
Film: It.
Lowdown: An evil clown murders the children of a small town by taking the form of their worst nightmares.
Moment: Okay, everybody knows that clowns are pretty fucking scary anyway. There’s no denying that fact. But when an unseen clown is stalking a little kid through that kid’s own backyard, and then appears suddenly between the sheets of the clothesline, sharp teeth dripping with drool and eyes burning with evil, it’s something that’s bound to give any kid nightmares. Or any adult.

1. Better Than 3D
Film: The Ring
Lowdown: You watch an unmarked tape. Afterwards, the phone rings, and a voice tells you you’re going to die in seven days. It’s not joking.
Moment: After being seriously unsettling for the first nine tenths of the film, Samara finally makes her appearance on the television screen, crawling out of the well in the background, staggering, dripping wet and rotting, toward the foreground (I’m pretty much inconsolable by this point), and then… crawls out of the television! I didn’t sleep for a week, I jumped every time the phone rang, and I refused to turn out the lights. I will never ever see this film again. Ever.

But finally, I must provide a dishonourable mention. This award goes to the film with a disturbing scene that doesn’t inspire terror or trauma. This award is for a horror film that goes so far into the realm of stupidity that it’s utterly disturbing, if only that they could get it made. The award, especially, goes to one certain scene.

And so, the award goes to the ghastly Troll 2. While watching television in his caravan, a teenage boy spots a show with a girl in lacy black underwear walking through the woods to 80s techno music. Suddenly, the techno seems a lot closer than he first thought, and steps outside, coming face-to-face with black lingerie woman. She chats him up, takes an ear of corn out of her garter belt, shares it with him while they shag, and the sex is so hot the corn pops. The popcorn fills up the caravan, and he drowns in it.

And that, ladies and gents, is the scariest film moment of all time.

Kian's Summer Profile

Here's the brand new set of 'profile' thingies that Westlife do for their official website every couple of months. This time, it's their 'Summer Profiles'.

First of all, we have Kian's profile. From his profile, we can tell that Kian is a pretty cool, laidback dude. He likes his surfing and his camping, and his favoured 'summer music' reflects his laid-back surfy attitude. There's also a nice little hint there that we should all stop making fun of his hair, because he doesn't care anymore. Yeah right, lad. Oh, and he's cute because he can't put up a tent. Hear that, girls? CUTE. And he's a simple lad, because he likes the Four Seasons.

My favourite holiday:
I went on a camping trip in Spain earlier this year and I have to say it was probably one of the best holidays I’ve ever had. You know, hiring a car, not knowing where you’re going, not having a hotel booked, just arriving at a campsite, putting up a tent, which is always a great laugh, cooking a meal on your little gas stove, it’s really, really good fun.

My favourite getaway: The sea. Surfing is just the best thing that’s ever been invented for me. I just love surfing.

My favourite hotel: Four Seasons in Dublin. I think that’s a really classy hotel, but generally Four Seasons are pretty much the same.

If I’ve got time off I...Go surfing

My funniest holiday story: Me trying to put the tent up. If you get a new tent and you try to put it up for the first time I think it’s probably one of the funniest things you’ll ever do. You end up putting it up ten different ways before you actually realise how to do it. It took me about three hours.

My suitcase essentials: They’ve changed a lot. I used to be one of those people who needed their hair products and now it’s just a pair of shorts, clean underwear, clean socks, a few T-shirts and a pair of jeans. That’ll do me.

My favourite summer tunes: I listen to a lot of different music every summer. This summer I’ll be listening to a lot of Ben Harper, surfer-y chill-out stuff.

The place I’d most like to visit: I’d like to do a surf trip in Indonesia because I’ve been reading an awful lot about it recently. The waves out there are very good.

Tune in tomorrow for Mark's summer profile!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Divas try Westlife

(Sydney Confidential; July 5, 2006)

THE stage is set for a showdown of the sexes when girl group the Young Divas hit the road with UK boy band Westlife on their Australian tour in September.

Although they burst on to the charts just three months ago, it's a case of power in numbers for the quartet of former Australian idol-ettes, who are notching up gigs quicker than Mark Holden could score them a touchdown.

With their first single already reaching gold sales, and their inaugural tour set to shimmy into the national spotlight from July 14 at Star City, it was their upcoming shows with the boys from Westlife which the girls described as "a dream come true" yesterday.

"It's just amazing to have the opportunity to perform with international artists of that standard," original Idol graduate Paulini said.

"The shows will hopefully also give us exposure overseas."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Shoot The Ref!

And then break out the bubbly because WE BLOODY WON IT!

Even after an absolutely bollocking turn from the ref (you can't tell me someone wasn't paid off somewhere), the maroons leapt ahead in a heart-thumping last 15 minutes that had us dash ahead from 4-14 to 16-14! Screw you, ref!

Rock on the maroons! The first time we've beaten the blues in four years!

Bloody hell, yeah!

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

It's Shane's Birthday today! He's 27 now. That's OLD!

Happy birthday to Shane!
Happy birthday to Shane!
Happy birthday dear Shaney!
Happy birthday to Shane!

In other, exciting news, I got a SEVEN for this course! YAY!

For those of you who are not Australian, we get graded with a number from 7 to 1. Seven is the best you can get, and a 3 s a fail. And I got a 7! (I got 5s for my other two courses)

EDIT: I've just found out that it's also Kian's mum's birthday today... so happy birthday to Patricia Egan!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Video Hits Meets Westlife

There will be a Westlife special on Video Hits on Saturday the 8th of July (this Saturday) at 11:30am. Now let's just hope Axel doesn't make a dick of himself and the good people of Australia. Not like Daryl Somers, who couldn't have been more embarrassing.