Running through London

Firstly guys, I would like to say “Hello, I’m back”. I haven’t blogged for over a month. Work has been manic and so I haven’t had a moment to think.

At the end of September I flew over to London to take part in the first ever ‘Big Gay 10k’ run. I was very excited about doing the run. It was my first ever run. I was going to crawl and possibly die in a gutter do my best and try to get a good time.

For those who had read more on my Just Giving charity site would have known that I had been training to run since the beginning of July. Fun, fun, fun…

Well – 400 people took part in the 10km run in London. Some were runners, some were walkers and the rest were mincers!

The route was fantastic! Here are some photos from the fantastic day. (I’m in the blue vest, my fiancé is in bright yellow). Our super friends Sue and Caroline came to support us.

The fantastic route with London’s finest landmarks all the way around.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The race was started by Cheryl Baker, in pink in the photos (from Bucks Fizz, the 1980s pop group who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981). I even met her and had a post-run-sweaty photo together. Once the race was started, Bas and I were off like a shot. My music was playing and I was high on adrenaline. I wanted to get a good time. So far my best time had been 10km in 52 minutes (I was averaging 55 mins).

We kept up with the front group and split from the main ‘pack’. The streets of London were packed. As we all reached the Embankment, where the London Eye stands we had to wriggle and jump in and out of the tourists. As it was the first Big Gay 10k in London the organisers had been unable to clear roads or pavements, meaning for us that we had to contend with human-obstacles. They must have wondered what was happening…

Halfway through the race I realised that I was well over my usual pace. I got ahead of Bas who probably got caught in the crowds. Bas caught up with me at about 7 or 8km into the run. That was when we came face-to-face with the photographers. (Time to look as though I was loving it…).

At 8km I hit the wall. Not literally – a wall of pain. I really didn’t know if my body would get to the 10km finish line. Bas was brilliant and ran along side me the rest of the way. The last bridge was the last hurdle. I said to Bas “I don’t want to go uphill anymore”. He replied that we were there.

We had made it.

We came 28th and 29th (seconds divided us). 29th!!!! From 400!!!!!

Stunned. You can see my time below. Just under 51 minutes. It probably took me those 41 seconds to stop my timer.

You can see how much money I was lucky enough to raise for a great charity in London! Brilliant supporters – thank you!

Proof on my time! I am still in shock that I managed it.

The breakdown of the route.

The amount I raised for ‘London Friend’.

Advertisements

When Eurovision Went So Very Wrong

Creating a TV show which goes out LIVE to hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide is quite a challenge – It’s not surprising then that there are times when it can all go – very wrong.

Here’s a little video showing some of Eurovision’s more embarrassing moments…

Minipop Invasion

What are Minipops?

Well, they’re tiny cartoon versions of people and characters.

The minipops have taken the internet by storm and are becoming increasingly popular. The fantastic images showing the cartoon version of last year’s Eurovision acts were created by Ben Morris in 2011.

Clearly being incredibly popular, Ben decided to create new ones for the entrants in this year’s Eurovision. If you know what the people look like then you will agree that they truly are amazing!!!! So true to life.

Ben got the idea to create the icons after attending the 2010 contest in Olso. He said “While admiring one of the official merchandise stalls outside the Oslo Telenor Arena, I had the notion of creating a range of Eurovision mini pop icons”. Ben had already created icons for the cult TV show Doctor Who. You can the whole story behind Ben Morris and his ideas here on the ESCInsight site.

Ben now has quite a followingThe minipop icons have their own Facebook page. It’s worth a look, for sure.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last year, Blue represented the United Kingdom in Eurovision. Following their photoshoot for Attitude magazine, Ben Morris decided to undress Blue for their own ‘stripped’ Minipop picture. Take a look at the video showing how they were made below. Amazing stuff!

Eurovision Semi Final 2

Less than a week to go! Eurovision Season is starting…

The second semi final for the Eurovision will be on Thursday 24th May.

Here are the entries (in order) for the second semi final.  I have said a little about each one. In bold are the ones I hope to qualify.

Serbia: 7/10 – This man knows how to do well in Eurovision. He represented Serbia-Montenegro in 2004, coming 2nd and then wrote the Serbian entry in 2008, coming 6th – as well as hosting it in Belgrade. Watch out…

Macedonia (FYROM): 8/10 – This lady has a voice. What a belter! Effortlessly sung. I think it will get a LOT of Balkan votes.

The Netherlands: 8/10 – The Dutch have a terrible record in qualifying – 2004 was the last time they made the final. I hope this gentle song about childhood memories takes them through. You’ll remember the Indian headdress – that’s for sure.

Malta: 6/10 – 1980s throw back. This is performed by a guy who needs to wear looser clothing.

Belarus: 6/10 –  Their 9th entry and one which won’t do particularly well. I liked it to start with, but have gone off it.

Portugal: 8/10 – Typical Portugal – anthemic and possibly not gonna make it through the semi.

Ukraine: 8/10 – This has grown on me. It’s very West End ‘Lion King’…

Bulgaria: Zzzzzzz. Possibly the second worst entry.

Slovenia: 10/10 – My personal favourite! This gentle ballad builds to a fantastic finish. The 16-year-old has a great voice. I LOVE it!

Croatia: 4/10 – A dull Balkan ballad. Zzzzzzz.

Sweden: 10/10 – Whoah! Time to wake up. Something different in Eurovision. Loreen does some contemporary dance with martial arts moves in this attention grabbing number. Brilliant. I won’t be surprised if we’re in Stockholm next year.

Georgia: 5/10 –  They qualify every year – I don’t know how. This probably will – but it’s not great.

Turkey: 8/10 – Another grower. After seeing this guy in Amsterdam, I love it. Ahoy there Turkey. See you in the final…

Estonia: 10/10 – A gentle ballad, sung by a handsome chappy. Estonia deserve to do well with this. But, there are a LOT of ballads in this semi.

Slovakia: 5/10 –  It’s a bit Bon Jovi – which is a little odd.

Norway: 9/10 –  Sung in English; written by a Swede and sung by an Iranian/Norwegian. Recipe for Top 5. They are recreating Sweden’s 2011 entry though…. blatantly.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: 6/10 –  And again – another Balkan ballad. Zzzzzz.

Lithuania: 5/10 – A dull end to the night.  Not great. This won’t be bringing the prize back to Lithuania. Sounds like Wham!

Which 10 do you think will make the final?

Watch the songs from Semi Final 1 and read my comments here.

Those Russian Grannies

Russia could be on the brink of winning the Eurovision Song Contest.

This year it was not a 20-something girl in a short, sparkly skirt who won over the Russian voters – but a group of six gorgeous little grannies, Buranovskiye Babushki – and I love them!

This is my favourite one! She is the star of the show… (Just so cute).

To make them even more amazing, they beat off fierce competition from the Russian superstars, Dima Bilan and Yulia Volkova . Dima had previously achieved 2nd in the Eurovision in 2006 and then went on to win it in 2008. Yulia was no stranger to Eurovision either, having competed as half of t.A.T.u in 2003, coming 3rd. They were the act to beat…

And boy those Russian grans beat them to a pulp.

I don’t know what I enjoyed more – Watching the grannies sing and dance on stage or seeing the facial expressions of Dima and Yulia as the cameras swung past them as the winning song was performed. TV classic!

So, now Russia are second favourites to win the whole contest in just over two weeks in Baku.

Do they have what it takes?

Take a look at their performance in the Russian National Final.

Eurovision Semi Final 1

Prepares yourselves people.

The first semi final for the Eurovision will be on Tuesday 22nd May.

Here are the entries (in order) for the first semi final. Underneath the video I have said a little about each one. In bold are the ones I hope to qualify.

Montengro: 3/10 – Very Balkan. A little too odd for my liking.

Iceland: 9/10 – Great duet. Jonsi is back after performing for Iceland a couple of years ago.

Greece: 6/10 – Back with more of the same. It’s like Eurovision-colour-by-numbers.

Latvia: 7/10 – Awful song, but it’s catchy and she has something very endearing about her. It sticks in your head FORVER!

Albania: 1/10 – I HATE this. Ouch! But it seems to be popular with lots of fans and might do well in Baku.

Romania: 8/10 – Great party song. Romania will do well with this.

Switzerland: 7/10 – Rocky number from the Swiss. Shame that the vocals are a bit odd (strong accent).

Belgium: 2/10 – DULL as dishwater!

Finland: 6.5./10 – Singing in Swedish…. Topical. This number bounces along, but doesn’t take me anywhere.

Israel: 6/10 – Odd doesn’t start to explain this. It sounds like it comes straight from Eurovision 1975.

San Marino: 5/10 – This deranged singer ruins every concept of Facebook. She turns it into some stalking seedy site. So wrong.

Cyprus: 9/10 – I L-L-Love it……

Denmark: 8/10 – Again, Denmark hit it big. They’ll do well with this, although I have preferred their previous two entries much more.

Russia: 10/10 – THE ONE TO BEAT! I think these grannies are gonna win it BIG!

Hungary: 4/10 – 80s retro. Not my cup of my tea.

Austria: 5/10 – Woki mit deim popo ‘Wiggle those bums” – no words to explain it.

Moldova: 6.5/10 – Hot guy sings a swinging song.

Ireland: 10/10 – JEDWARD! I hated their song last year but LOVE them this time around.

Watch the songs and read my comments for Semi Final 2 here.

REVIEW: Eurovision in Concert 2012

This year, for the fourth time, Amsterdam was the host city for the biggest pre-Eurovision concert. It has become quite an extraordinary event  with more than half of the contestants coming to showcase their entries. There are only a few weeks before the contest goes to Baku in Azerbaijan. The countdown is on…

This year the event was held on Saturday 21st April 2012 in the Melkweg, a popular venue for bands when playing in Amsterdam. The organisation was much better than last year, which had a series of sound problems which created endless issues for the evening. The Melkweg was fantastic and the evening went without a hitch! Perfect!

The hosts for the evening were Cornald Maas and Ruth Jacott, the Dutch performer in the 1993 Eurovision. She strutted her stuff in Millstreet and belted out Vrede coming a very respectable 6th for The Netherlands.

BEST PERFORMANCE: Spain. Pastora blew away the crowd with her live performance of Quédate Conmigo. What a pair of lungs she has on her! I expect (and hope) Spain to do very well this year in Baku.

MOST ENTERTAINING: Ireland. Jedward really know how to entertain a crowd. I really didn’t like them last year in Düsseldorf, but with Waterline as their comeback I love them.

MOST EMBARASSING WARDROBE MALFUNCTION: France. Poor, poor Anggun wore a lovely red dress, which for those on the first 6 rows of audience (me included), got a perfect view up… I rather feel that someone should have advised her against white pants with a red dress… oh la la…

HOTTEST PERFORMER: Moldova. Hello, Pasha! That’s all I have to say on the matter.

MOST CRINGEWORTHY: San Marino. Deranged doesn’t even begin to describe this. San Marino decided to ‘test’ the rules of Eurovision. A song all about ‘Facebook’ although it’s not allowed to be called that now. I think Facebook should sue!

MY FAVOURITE: Slovenia. Eva’s song is my far my favourite for Baku, although on the night it didn’t come across well. Unfortunately, her backing singers weren’t there and they play a vital role in the performance as one sings the gentle aaaah bits.

THE ONES I MISSED: Sweden and Russia. Oh how I would have loved them to be there. Sweden has the song of the year and a great performance (but will it win?) and Russia have the grannies who I adore.

I predict a close one between Sweden and Russia.

Enjoy my photos from the night.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.