Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy 2013

Well dear readers, another year draws to a close. It's been a ball reminiscing with you all. I am closing the year with a viewing of Top Gun with my husband and sister after I've taken money off them in poker. If you have better plans, I can't imagine what they are.

I look forward to another year debating top songs by bands and who annoys me most on television. I just don't think we can discuss this enough. Please do comment, I love reading what you have to say. Have a very happy new year and thanks for reading. I leave you with Maverick and Goose (RIP). From the sublime Mr Scott (RIP).

Monday, 24 December 2012

I raise a glass to... now updated as I forgot a few

2012 has been quite a year and in many ways, it's been fabulous. After all, we had an extra bank holiday (thanks Queenie) and the Olympics came to town (well it did if you live in London, sorry if you don't and I mean that on so many levels). However, it's been a year of some very sad celebrity deaths. Since losing my mother a few years ago and my father in law in January, I feel somehow much sadder when I hear about deaths. So I apologise for being maudlin on Christmas Eve but I like to think this is a post to celebrate some people I really will miss. And yes, I think it's possible to miss people you don't know. I am not a nutter but these people are part of my childhood or have contributed to our cultural fabric or both. So yes, I will miss them.

First up, Etta James. Queen of the wedding song, At Last. It could be cheesy but it's such a beautiful song and she surely does belt it out. Also, I can't not comment on her eyebrows. Check them out!

Whitney Houston. I still feel sad when I think about Whitney. It's just such a waste. Nobody sang like Whitney.

Donna Summer. She was the queen of disco and changed the face of the dance floor.

Adam Yauch. Him from the Beastie Boys. He was only 47. I still love (You Gotta) Fight For Your Rights (To Party)!

Robin Gibb. I know I've posted twice about Robin but really, it's not fair.

Hal David. Here is what he looked like, one of the greatest lyricists who ever lived. Why do birds suddenly appear, every time, you are near?

Nora Ephron. A woman of enormous talent who was rocking it in the 70s. She's an inspiration.

Helen Gurley Brown. Every girl goes through their Cosmopolitan phase. Read more about Helen, she was awesome.

Andy Williams. The king of smooth. Music To Watch Girls By is a party classic.

Larry Hagman. Larry knew how to live life, bless him. The world is somehow a smaller place.

Neil Armstrong. He went to the moon. Have you gone to the moon? What a guy.

In my original post I forgot two important people. First up Davy Jones. The Monkees gave us some of the best pop songs.

And Tony Scott. I am so sad about Tony. His passing inspired ScottFest chez TeenTowers - we watched all his best films and it took quite some time let me tell you. We've still not finished ScottFest with the ultimate film, Top Gun.

Take a moment to remember the ones who've passed. And live every moment my friends. Merry Christmas.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas songs: Stay Another Day, East 17

Last night I went to Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler's Christmas gig. It was epic, they sang Last Christmas, Marshmallow World and Zombie Christmas. They also sang Stay Another Day and it's made me look at this song in a whole new light.

I've always had a soft spot for it but it's just moved up in my estimation. I'd never listened to the lyrics properly before and they are so sad. This is an unusual Christmas song in that there is no reference to Christmas at all yet it's very much a song for the festive season. It's the bells. And the snowflakes and parkas in the video! I really advise listening rather than watching this. None of these boys were at the front of the queue when looks were handed out.

Of course we live in a world where everything is up online as it happens so here are Emmy and Tim:

Festive fun.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Bee Gees - desert island songs

It's the year we lost Robin Gibb and I am still sad about it. What better way to pay tribute to him than my desert island Bee Gees songs? This is very tough. So much to choose from, however, I don't choose the easy path so here goes. Before I start, these are songs sung by the band, not songs they wrote for others. It makes it slightly easier.

Massachusetts. I don't know why but this song makes me feel very emotional.

Tragedy. One of the most overblown songs ever recorded so of course, I love it. It's hard to write a song with lyrics based round the word tragedy but our boys make it seem easy.

Stayin' Alive. This is one of the best songs ever recorded. There will never be a better introduction to a song. It makes you want to get up and dance. I adore it. Also, top video.

You Should Be Dancing. Honestly, did any band define an era like Bee Gees? Another work of pure genius. The combination of this with Travolta's dancing makes me happy on the inside.


Nights on Broadway. I include this for a few reasons. Obviously it's a great song. It has a fabulous title. And check out Robin's outfit here.

You Win Again. Oh I adore this. It makes me feel very nostalgic for simpler times. Bless them and the ponytails. They really did know how to write a hit song.


Night Fever. It would be rude not to include it. It's not as amazing as Stayin' Alive but it's still wonderful in all respects.

Already I am at number eight and I have to include How Deep Is Your Love. This is my all-time favourite love song. I just think it is gorgeous and it's my favourite Bee Gees number. It's so romantic and soft and lovely.


Oh god, no More Than A Woman, no Jive Talking, no If I Can't Have You, no Spirits Have Flown, No Words,  no New York Mining Disaster. 

I can only apologise and say, see if you can do it. Go on. RIP Robin. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Top Ten male film characters

I've done the women, it's time to look at the men. This list was a bit harder to make.  However, after much deep reflection, here we go.

We start where all good lists should start, with Rhett Butler. Of all the male characters written, none are sexier, cooler or downright dashing as Mr Butler from Charleston. He is swoonsome in the book with his clean hankerchief, his hidden devotion to Scarlett and his ability to find all the latest French fashion. Clark Gable does a fine job of bringing him to the screen and from the moment you see him gazing up the stairs at Scarlett at Twelve Oaks to his final devastating walk down the drive at the end, we are enthralled.

Billy Crystal has never been better than when he played Harry Burns. He starts the film as an obnoxious, sexist oaf and ends up running the streets of Manhattan so he can declare his love for Sally. Billy is no sex symbol but somehow, as Harry, he plays the romantic lead beautifully giving hope to all short, bearded men.

Does one go for Dexter or Mike in High Society? I've gone for Mike because he is played by Frank Sinatra and you would never turn down Frank. He is divine in this, making all the right decisions, serenading Samantha/Tracy, dancing with her, diving in the pool after her and carrying her home but taking it no further "as there are rules about such things". Oh, what a gentlemanly time it was back in the 50s!

Johnny Castle. It's hard to believe an explanation is required but here goes. It's Patrick Swayze, dancing. He wears a leather jacket. He gets into fights. He's a teenage dream.

Ferris Bueller may have been the cocksure lead but my heart will always lie with Cameron. The unsure best friend who lounges around in bed waiting for his friend to make the fun happen. The guy who frets about his father's car and then pushes it spectacularly into the trees. Cameron is wonderful.

Danny or Kenickie? It has to be Kenickie because Jeff made him sexy. Paired with Rizzo, they are one of the finest couples preserved on film.

Buddy Elf! He smiles because smiling is his favourite thing! He knows Santa! I can watch Elf again and again based on Will Ferrell's delivery of some of the funniest lines. 

Bill and Ted who I am counting as one, after all what is Bill without Ted? And vice versa. They play Battleships with Death, they sing Poison to God. Bill and Ted are my heroes.

Life of Brian is hilarious and much of this is due to all the Pythons but can you imagine anyone playing Brian as well as Chapman? He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

Billy in St Elmo's Fire. No contest, Rob Lowe as Billy is the best thing in St Elmo's Fire, and yes, I include Demi Moore's wardrobe and all the dancing. The one and only Billy the Kid is my desert island choice of male film characters.

Tell me yours.

Monday, 10 December 2012


Gremlins has been rereleased! Much jubilation at Teen Towers. This is a great film and one that I feel never gets quite enough attention. It's delightfully dark and really quite nasty but done with humour. The story of how Kate learns there is no Father Christmas is horrifying yet funny.

In 1984, this was the film to go and see. Everyone knew the three rules to gremlins: no sunlight, no food after midnight and no water! Of course, our hero manages to screw this up and unleashes gremlin hell on the little town. The scene I always remember is the mother liquidising a gremlin in the kitchen. Like I say, it's a gruesome film but so much fun. My favourite scene is when they are watching Snow White and The Seven Dwarves. Here it is:

If you've never seen Gremlins, then get yourself to the cinema soon before it leaves town. You won't regret it.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Christmas songs - Marshmallow World

I am ashamed to say I wasn't aware of this song until Emmy and Tim covered it. It's so nice when you discover something late in life, it gives me hope that somewhere out there is another St Elmo's Fire and I just don't know about it yet.

Anyway, there are many versions of this. It's hard to pick a best one so I present a few for you. First up, Darlene Love.

This is very nice, Phil Spector produced and most enjoyable.

However, check out Frank and Dean. I adore this. The way they run down the stairs hand in hand and how perfectly they sing it. The dancing. It's perfection.

Emmy and Tim give it a great intro.

Johnny Mathis did it! And look at this cute video.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas is coming with Olivia and John!

I thought I'd pretty much exhausted Christmas songs last December however nothing could have prepared me for the joy that is this:

It's like they knew I needed a little reward and got together to make this fluff-fest. I like to buy a new Christmas album every year and this year I have struck gold. I snapped it up immediately. Not only do we have Olivia and John, we also have Barbra on one song! And Tony Bennett! And ummm, Cliff Richard*. Oh well. Seriously, I don't think I've actually ever been this excited.

Now, there is no way on earth I could ever not like this album. It's so made for me. I have to tell you though that it is pretty good in an exceptionally cheesy way. Olivia could always sing and well, I have such an affection for John. I don't care about rumours, the scientology, the weird lego hair. I don't care about any of it because he is Danny Zuko and he is lovely.

I wonder when they did this:

If they ever thought they'd end up like this:

* I can't stand Cliff Richard. I would tell you why but if you need an explanation then we can never be friends.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Madonna - Desert island songs

I had the rarest of things this week, a request. I was asked to list my top eight Madonna songs. I thought I had done this but instead I had discussed Madonna more broadly by decade. Delighted to know I have at least one reader, I present to you my list.

Borderline. I love this song, it's Madonna at her purest. The video is sweet and I love the dancing. It also has a great introduction.

Into the Groove. This barely requires a discussion. One of my favourite ever films, perfect pop and Madonna when I really achingly wanted to be her. This is from the film.

La Isla Bonita. Madonna did the perfect holiday song before most people and she did it masterfully.

Express Yourself. I prefer this to Like A Prayer. Much as I love LAP, I feel it's overplayed and this is much more joyful.

Vogue. This is Madonna's legacy. If she'd done nothing else, it wouldn't have mattered. It's sublime and contender for best music video ever made. I could watch her dance in this all day long.

Deeper and Deeper. This is also wonderful. I love the Erotica album, it was fab.

Ray of Light. Another great album. This is so joyful.

Already I am at number eight. It has to be Hung Up from yet another great album. I also never tire of this and she looks amazing. The dancing in this is so inspiring and the Abba sample is genius.

I do think Madonna is a genius although she's best to leave the ballads alone. Tell me yours.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

RIP Larry Hagman

The sad day has come, Larry Hagman has left us. As I said when I talked about Dallas, it's amazing he was still alive. The man drank five bottles of champagne a day. Nonetheless, I am sad to read that he has died and have just spent a few moments revisiting some of JR Ewing's finest moments.

As soap baddies go, nobody was badder than JR Ewing. And Hagman played him with such relish. This page is wonderful, full of the best quotes. My favourite is this one "I'm JR Ewing, I don't get ulcers, I give 'em!"

TV shows now are so well-made and high in quality. The scripting is realistic (well, I am overlooking Homeland), the production values are high, the acting is world-class but I know, as long as I live, there will never, ever be a show as entertaining as Dallas again. It was pure entertainment and 95% of that was down to Larry Hagman. I did watch a little of the new Dallas and even in that Larry stole the show. RIP Larry, may you wear your stetson in heaven. You will be missed.

I leave you with nine minutes of joy.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Aerosmith is the perfect rock band. Look at them! Steve Tyler is exactly how you want a lead singer to be: flamboyant, charismatic and blessed with the ability to belt out the songs. They've had their ups and downs and fallen out and, of course, immersed themselves in drugs and been in and out of rehab. Well, I don't know about you but that's what I look for in my rock and roll bands.

I present to you some of my favourite Aerosmith songs. First up Love in an Elevator. The video is icky but the introduction to this song is one of the best introductions in rock ever. When I saw Aerosmith live (which I recommend, they were awesome), they opened with this and the crowd went wild. A wind machine was involved too. Perfection.

Sweet Emotion. One of the best riffs in any song. Again, the video is hideous.

(Dude) Looks Like A Lady. From the school of literal videos. This is so catchy. Aerosmith music is made for road trips across America I think.

Walk This Way. I love everything about this song and always have. Also, Steve Tyler's trademark dancing has never been better.

I've discussed Dream On before but I wouldn't want you to think I'd forgotten about it. It's simply perfect in every way.

My all-time favourite Aerosmith song is Livin' On The Edge. Again, I can't explain the video which has Edward Furlong in it - how bizarre! The way this song builds up is fantastic. By the time we get to 3:26 I am bopping up and down. I can listen to this song (although not watch the video) over and over again and never tire of it.


Am not including I Don't Want To Miss A Thing because it annoys me that people don't realise that Aerosmith has done so much better than this. Also, the songs in which Tyler included his daughter pole dancing just creep me out.

I think Aerosmith should do the next Bond theme.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Bond themes: Skyfall

It would be remiss of me to not offer an opinion on this latest Bond theme. On the plus side, it's properly Bondy and nice and cinematic and I like the little riff of the Bond theme in the background. Having watched the film, it suits it very well.

However, her voice annoys me. You can hear her breathing after each line. Maybe this is intentional and she clearly has got a good voice but it's so distracting. Also, stupid lyrics, I expect my Bond lyrics to be a bit smarter. When you are in the company of Carly Simon and Paul McCartney, you have to raise your game. Nonetheless, it's a good theme and it's far better than Sheryl Crow.


While I am here, a quick review of Skyfall. I liked it very much but all this talk of it being the best Bond ever is nonsense. It has a great opener, I loved the locations, Javier is a proper actor which made him a good baddie. But I found the showdown at the end in Scotland to be utterly tedious. 20 minutes of squinting at the screen since it had to be grey as we were in Scotland. All for a basic siege. Yawnsome. Not enough Bond love action either, I don't pay to see Daniel Craig for one snog in a shower.

Judi rocks though and I adore Daniel. It's very entertaining but not a patch on Casino Royale.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Bond themes: A View To A Kill

Googling for this image gave me this joyous visual of the picture disc. I had completely forgotten about picture discs and awwww, I got such a wave of nostalgia.

This was such a huge deal when it came out. I remember my best friend buying it in Boots. Yes, Boots used to sell music. The 80s really were fabulous. You could get your Constance Carroll lip gloss and the latest Duran Duran single in one shop.

This isn't a great song but then, this isn't a great film. In fact, it's a fairly dire film with an interesting cast: Christopher Walken and Grace Jones in one film? That's not to be sniffed at. I couldn't even tell you what happens, I remember Grace skydiving off the Eiffel Tower and something to do with the Golden Gate bridge. It's all very forgettable and not an edifying end for Moore as Bond.

However, the video for this is top fun. Simon Le Bon wearing a beret and pretending to be a spy!

The opening credits are hilarious, check out the neon nail varnish.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Bond themes: Goldeneye

I love Tina Turner very much. I think she's great in her mini skirts with her big hair. Rock on Tina. Bond themes should be cinematic and Goldeneye has a perfect introduction, just listening to it you imagine being in a cinema watching it all unfold. It's mysterious and sexy.

Goldeneye was a good film. I've not seen it for years but since I am having such a Bond revival, I might have to watch it again. I wish Tina hadn't retired, I miss her.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Bond... James Bond

All this Bond talk, anyone would think a film was about to be released. It's time to consider the various Bonds.

Sean Connery

Connery is the discerning viewer's favourite. It's easy to see why. He is delicious. My mother had a huge crush on Sean Connery and used to say, "ooooh those curly lips, divine". I know just what she means. I also think he had the great advantage of being the first Bond so he could make the part his own. Plus he did those wonderful early Bond films: From Russia With Love, You Only Live Twice and Goldfinger. He made Bond iconic.

He was tough and it's easy to believe women would fall into bed with him and that he'd know his way round a poker table. On the negative side, I'd point to Never Say Never Again. Why did he have to do this? I don't care how poor he was, BAD idea.  Nonetheless, if one forgets that (and it's relatively easy to) then he gives great Bond. 9/10

George Lazenby.

Let me be clear. I have nothing against Lazenby and he made a perfectly good Bond film. However, he is Australian. That is wrong that I simply can't get past it. At all. 5/10

Roger Moore

Roger Moore is the Bond I grew up with. It's easy to knock Roger but he's pretty good in the earlier films. Live and Let Die is a great film. And I have a soft spot for The Spy Who Loved Me. He certainly looked the part but he wasn't tough enough. I find it hard to believe Roger could really fight anyone. Of course, he suffered from the 1970s and the need to fill every film with stupid gadgets as well.

I look at that picture above and forgive him quite a bit. Roger was fun! 8/10

Timothy Dalton

Timothy was a perfectly respectable Bond but he never made a good Bond film. He was a little dour and lacked the humour of Bond. Plus he's called Timothy. 7/10

Pierce Brosnan

Ah Pierce. I do like Pierce. Not just for Remington Steele but for the slight cheesiness he gave Bond. Pierce looked the part, no doubt, and delivered the lines very well. I think he was the best Bond since Connery. And Goldeneye is a really good film. He was a little too suave though. Like Roger, it was hard to believe him in a fight. 8.5/10

Daniel Craig

Last night I watched Casino Royale again. Let me just say Daniel Craig rocks that film. He's tough, he's enigmatic, he's got the twinkle in his eye and he wears the clothes so well. And he's easy on the eye.

Yes, you're welcome. When Daniel fights, you feel like he actually could hold his own. Controversially I am going to say he is a better Bond than Sean Connery. Argue with me if you like but there you have it. 9.5/10

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Bond themes: For Your Eyes Only

Sheena Easton, how have we not mentioned her yet? I have such a soft spot for Sheena. She contributed to the soundtrack of About Last Night (one of my all-time favourite soundtracks) and she got sexed up by Prince and she's fabulously 80s. Also, she was in Miami Vice!

I like this song very much. I think it's suitably Bondish and she sings it very well. The entire song is clearly trying to replicate the success of Nobody Does It Better. The film even opens with another ski chase but of course, nothing can top that magnificence. Nonetheless, a solid effort.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Bond themes: Goldfinger

Shirley Bassey was born to sing Bond themes. The drama! This is really an unbeatable theme, the lyrics are clever and it has the 007 theme woven in so it feels iconic. The way she sings "he loves goooollllllddddddd!" at the end is marvellous.

Of course this is one of the best Bond films too so it's apt it has such a classic theme to go with it. I love how the opening credits show some scenes from the film. All in all, it's magnificent and the perfect way to start a dull Wednesday. Sing it Shirley!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Bond themes: We Have All The Time In The World

This is a beautiful song, yes it's sentimental but Louis sings it so sweetly, I can't imagine anyone not being moved by it. This is from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, a much under-rated film due to George Lazenby only lasting for one Bond outing. I think it would be good to remake this one as it's a great story and is, of course, the film where Bond gets married.

This song suits the film very well, it's has a lovely feel to it and doesn't have the drama of some of the other Bond songs which is just right. 10/10 Mr Armstrong.

In other news, not long now until Skyfall, y'all seen the trailer? I am so excited, it looks excellent. I don't often get excited by trailers but I always look forward to new Bond. I've already booked my ticket.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Bond themes: Live and Let Die

Paul McCartney has been trying my patience lately with his appalling rendition of Hey Jude at the Olympics and generally just irritating me. Let's rewind the clock to one of his finest moments in a career of mighty fine moments.

This song is a great combination of soul with sing-along rock. It perfectly suits the film and is pretty close to a work of genius. I am not a huge fan of the actual film due to Jane Seymour who should not be allowed near any film or television drama ever. The woman cannot act. Seriously, I could do a better job. And I have a fondness for Roger Moore but he's no Connery. Nonetheless, it has its moments and I can't imagine a better song for it. I love "you've got to give the other fella hell!" Bond themes used to be so exciting. Let's take a look at scary eyes lady...

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