Friday, October 27, 2006
When listing off the greatest 70s horror films, you get the old faithfuls: The Exorcist, Dawn Of The Dead, The Amityville Horror, Jaws.
What you don’t hear about is a film called Suspiria.
Made in 1977 by bonkers Italian director Dario Argento, it’s a twisted little story about an American dancer (Jessica Harper, Shock Treatment) who transplants herself into a German dance academy, where the teachers may or may not be involved in something a lot darker than ballet.
Though it may not be the most famous of 70s horror, it is certainly the scariest. Argento’s tense plot is enhanced by a vivid and inspired use of colour, stunningly arranged shots, and a few of the best and most inventive deaths in screen history. It’s so nail-biting, in fact, that it’s almost hard to watch, the tension strung taut as a wire.
The dubbing is slightly disastrous however, yet it’s not impossible to ignore and is complemented by a childlike, memorable score that sets the teeth on edge. The performances are as good as your usual 70s horror. Harper gets along fine, but her supporting cast are shaky at best.
But it’s the direction, cinematography and editing that drive this along, and if that’s what you like, you’ll be jumping at the tiniest noises for the next week.
So you take a really dodgy, boring, cliche video. It's by Westlife. And you think 'hey, at least it's in colour this time. I really couldn't have coped with another b&w clip as well'. Well, they either can't read minds (or messageboards), or they can, and have gone against a riot of very outspoken commentary. Because yes, the video's in black and white, and rather than be classy, it's even more boring and drab than it was to begin with.
And not just black and white, oh no. It's the darkest black, the greyest white - in fact, you've got to wonder if they're trying to hide on that chequered floor so nobody knows who's actually made this bore of a video.
But they couldn't just change that, could they? Because not only is the second best part of the video gone, the best part has also been replaced and glossed over.
So where have the two hugging blokes gone?
Were they were beamed up by an alien spacecraft? Were they were sucked into hell? Were people other than me spotting the homoerotic subtext?
If so, I want to know what Mark has to say about this.
Don't check out the newest version of the The Rose on the Official Site at www.westlife.com
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
THAT'S NOT PAD SHANE
Westlife Exclusive: Westlife singer buys Eur3Million English Mansion
WESTLIFE star Shane Filan has splashed out EUR3million on an English mansion.
The singer bought the seven-bedroom home last month and will begin moving in next week, though he will keep his Irish home.
The impressive property, situated just outside South London, boasts a swimming pool, snooker room, private home cinema and a e50,000 security system.
But pals of the 27-year-old star say it was the huge gardens that really attracted Shane as they'd be perfect for his 16-month-old daughter Nicole. A pal revealed last night: "Shane and his wife Gillian are moving into the house next week. They are keeping their mansion in their home town of Sligo but this will be a base for them when they are in England working. Shane fell in love with the house as soon as he had a look round.
"There are also championship golf courses close by and he admits that was a big incentive too.
"And it has huge grounds. He and Gillian can even take Nicole for a swim during the summer in the pool. They will spend around six to eight months of the year there."
The singer is estimated to have earned around EUR15million since hitting the big time with Westlife.
But he is also a keen businessman, owning a share of a property development company with his brother Finbar. He also has a major share in the Irish franchises of the Morgan clothes stores.
Shane's new pad boasts a security system with 20 close circuit cameras linked up to a security office.
Each home in the private development is protected by 24-hour security guards and a sophisticated monitoring system. Entry can only be gained with a code.
Shane sold his apartment in Chelsea earlier this year because it was not suitable for family life.
And last night he confirmed the new purchase to the Irish Daily Mirror, saying: "Yes, it's true that I have bought a new house.
"I wanted somewhere with nice big private grounds for Nicole to play in and we have found somewhere ideal. Sligo is still my real home though."
Monday, October 23, 2006
With Westlife due to release their new studio album on November 20th First thought it would be an opportune time to catch up with the guys and find out whats been happening recently, how they felt when Brian McFadden left, and a look back on eight years of musical success.
Shane, Mark, Nicky and Kian look set to romance us into Christmas this year with the release of The Love Album on 20th November 2006. The album is a collection of old favourites picked out by the boys and Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh. For one of the tracks, the boys team up with Delta Goodrum for a version of All out of Love. The album also includes hits like Total Eclipse of the Heart, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling, Easy and many more. Their first single, The Rose, is set for release on 6th November. Liz Frost catches up with them on their way to approve their latest video.
What have you been up to today?
Nicky: Got out of bed about 11 o’clock and came into Sony to do some Interviews and we’ve got some meetings with our marketing department. We’ve just approved the final edit of the video for our brand new single. It’s in colour currently, but we’ve changed it to be black and white.
How was your recent Face to Face tour?
Shane: Great! It was very long! We did a lot of dates, at the end it was quite tiring because we went to Asia and places like that. We were touring for about 6 months more or less, we did 3 months straight then we had a few weeks off then we were doing every weekend in the summer, we did 3 outdoor shows across the UK. Scotland Wales and England then we went to Asia for a 3 week tour over there. The crowd seemed to like it. We check our website and people seemed to think it was the best so far. That’s a good sign, but we have to beat that next year now.
Do you prefer touring or recording?
Mark: When you’ve performed the same show so many times it becomes monotonous, but then you go into promotion and recording a new albumn then back to touring. It’s sort of half the time touring half recording.
What was the highlight?
Nicky: This year we changed it up a bit. We usually do a medley. And I think on this show, we decided to do something different. We usually do one of the Jackson five, Queen, we’ve done Wham, all sorts of things. This year for a laugh we decided to try and cover a modern song, so we did a version of Don’t Cha by the Pussycat Dolls, obviously changing it to boyfriend. It really went down a storm. A little sexy routine to it. You go on the sites and the comments were that they kind of liked to see us doing Don’t Cha. It was tongue in cheek, not like we’ve done before. Also the new single You Raise me Up went down a storm aswell. I think that song came at just the right time for us. I mean, every band starts to go a bit, then Bryan left and everyone started to write us off. Then we did the Rat Pack albumn and Face to Face with You Raise Me Up, which really took off.
What made you choose the songs for the Love Album?
Shane: The whole idea of the albumn was to do a tribute Love Albumn. When you’re going do an original album you have to get new material in. We had 4 or 5 songs that were decent, but they weren’t in any ways near songs like You Raise Me Up. So we said to ourselves we’ve got a standard. If we want to make an original album it has to be at a certain standard. Simon Cowell came up with the idea ‘Why don’t you do a Love Album? You’re famous for singing love songs so it’s going to suit you’ Simon had his favourites, Louis had his favourites. There are some great songs on there. The rose is a famous song, but it’s not that famous a song. It was actually Louis who chose it but Simon thought it was a great song, the perfect song to launch the album.
Nicky: There’s an interesting song on there too. There’s a song called ‘All Or Nothing’ That song was written for us 7 years ago, but Simon Cowell turned it down. That song was passed to OTown in the states and they had huge success in the States with it. We were quite gutted because we knew it was sounding very much like us. We have a bit of a laugh about it now. So we covered it on this Love Songs album. We do an acoustic version of it, it’s a lovely song.
You’ve been together 8 years, have you had any major squabbles?
Kian:We bicker over stupid things, but we’ve never had a major bust up ever. We’ve got too much respect for the band to do that.
Nicky: All we’d have to do is look on Youtube at footage of us all having a laugh and it makes you forget about it.
Mark: A couple of times we were close to headbutts and kicks.
Kian: We tend to get worked up over travel, when we travel for a long time. We’ve been working very very hard for a few weeks, somebody would say something and it would be taken the wrong way. It would always be in a scenario when we haven’t been home for a while, we’ve been in eachothers faces for like 6 months really really working hard. It happened more in the earlier years than the later years, because we were younger and more feisty. Now we’re more grown up, it’s easier to say things to each other, There’s no winners when this sort of thing happens. What’s the point in rowing when we should be enjoying it?
When Bryan left, did you think it was all over?
Shane: To be honest, no. For about 10 minutes we were like ‘Oh no, what’s going to happen?’ We were only like 20 days away from the first show of a 4 month tour. We started rehearsals the next day and Bryan said ‘I’m hanging up my boots lads’. We thought we were being Punk’d because MTV Punk’d had just started. Then we had a 3 hour chat about it and we were like ‘Right, what are we going to do?’ Everybody wanted to carry on so we were just like ‘Let’s do it then!’ We had a big heart to heart. Louis drove over to chat to us at 3 in the morning for 3 hours.
Nicky: Louis was worth his weight in gold. He was like ‘It doesn’t matter. There are so many more years left’. If ever there was any doubt he convinced us. Especially in the aftermath because all the press were on Bryan’s side, everyone was like It’s Robbie again, when Take That were over. They went into our financial details. Bryan was worth more because of clever investments. But they were building him up in any way they could. It really got to us. It made us even more determined to succeed.
What do you think of Take That reforming
Mark:There’s not enough Pop music around at the moment, So I think it’s great that old bands like Take That are coming back.
Kian:Most of the bands that are coming back now were around when we started off, and we’re like ‘ah now you see why we stayed together?
Will you ever break up ?
Kian: I don’t think we’d ever break up. We might take a break for a year or something like that but for the 4 of us to sit down in front of room full of people or on TV and say we’re finished for good. I don’t think we’d ever do that. I think we feel like we could go away for a few years and come back after that, but we’ve just had a renegotiation with the record label for another 4 albums and that’s after the next album, so there’s 5 more albums in our record contract. It depends really on how we’re seen as people. I can’t imagine us breaking up and never coming back.
Nicky: Obviously if we don’t want to do it anymore, we won’t, but the fact that we’ve signed this renegotiation; we can keep coming back and doing another album when we feel like it. I think we are at a level now, we’ve got through and survived it.
Shane: A lot of our original fans don’t like Westlife anymore, because they’ve got older and cooler and they’re going out with guys and that. If you came to one of our shows you’d be shocked, there’s Mums, Grans everything. Our average age of the show is probably 35 now. That’s the future, you know. Hopefully it will keep going.
Monday, October 16, 2006
We haven't seen a patented Westlife 'video with story' since... oh... Tonight. Nope, since then they've been too preoccupied with photocopiers, exploding televisions and corpses... oops, I mean Diana Ross.
The Rose is the return to the good old 'video with story', but it's a shame that this is the return. There's not nearly enough Westlife, and the Westlife that's there look incredibly bored and boring on their black and white chequered floor. It's like they've been shrunk down to the size of mice in the middle of someone's daggy 70s-style kitchen.
Unfortunately, the story did have a lot of potential, which makes it all the more disappointing. It's right out of the worst sort of Richard Curtis rip off and is about... a wedding. That's it. Bride hugs maid of honour, groom hugs best man, cute little girl holds up a flower, they get married, they dance at the reception. It's cliche to the point of being sickening.
The potential comes in when all the hugging's going on. There's a split moment where you think 'ooh! groom's gonna run off with his mate!' and while that may seem the ranting of a faghag dyke, the way the bride was hugging her friend was just as suggestive and would have made for a brilliant video - The Rose after all, is about the kind of love that brings you alive - and wouldn't it have been perfect if they'd discovered that the ones they'd really loved had been there all along? Not to mention being much more interesting and inclusive.
I'd rather watch the Seasons In The Sun clip again.
But you may watch this video if you feel up to it:
The Rose official video Westlife
Monday, October 09, 2006
Today Nicky is a ripe old 28 years old!
He'll have dentures next year, and no hair. Yep, old age sets in that quickly. He'll look like that rhino by next year.
So all the best to Nicky on his birthday and hope the lads don't give you too much of a ribbing (even though they will). Just thank god you're not 30, lad.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Now, if you all remember, I did a little pre-review of the album, and it's fairly apparent that the lads are getting more and more predictable. Because yes, I did get it completely right.
This is one that I've actually got high hopes for. While the original is a bit... eh... boring, with a bit of fancy production it's got the potential to be another Westlife mega-ballad, in the same vein as Mandy or You Raise Me Up. There'll be no Nicky or Kian, then.
Fancy production? Check.
Shane/Mark duet? Check.
However, aside from all that, it is very obviously a cover, and very obviously business as usual for Westlife. As many fans have pointed out, "it sounds like You Raise Me Up"; "it sounds like Fragile Heart"; it sounds like... it sounds like... it sounds like...
The good old fancy production has come into play, meaning that this not only is in the vein of, but follows the exact same formula as all the other songs lately, most notably YRMU. You can predict everything: where the key change will be, when there will be a pause, who will sing what part.
That said, they do the song well. There's nothing wrong with their vocals - Mark is stunning, while Shane gets through with only a few minor trembles (remember we've only seen the live version, so that'll probably all be sorted out on the album). But it's the same thing, and not exactly a life-changing song - it just sits there, doing what it should but not much else. A bit like Nicky and Kian - are they even IN the band?
It'll probably be successful too. But there's a part of me that hopes it isn't, just to provide a kick up the arse for whoever's responsible for all this boredom lately.
Audibly pleasing boredom, but boredom nonetheless.
Here's the video.
Please note that I do not condone Mark's tissue-box hair.
Westlife The Rose