Never rely on predictive text!
What do Leona Lewis and my lovely Dad have in common? Well up until this week I would have said “absolutely nothing apart from a surname!”. That was before I heard the story about a tweet sent by the ubiquitous Simon Cowell last week.
Telling his 8.5 million Twitter followers about X Factor alumni Leona Lewis’ new Christmas album, he fell foul of dreaded predictive text and the message went out as Leonard Lewis instead – I’d like to think that Dad would have found that quite amusing, particularly since the Cowell and my Dad actually attended the same school in North London (albeit quite a few years apart!).
The story was also covered on the ITV2 show, Celebrity Juice, on Thursday night and was met with much hilarity from the studio guests and provided a laugh out loud moment for me in my living room too!!!
The Why Factor?
And so we find ourselves at that time of year when our weekend TV entertainment is taken over once again by reality shows!
Now I must admit that I am a bit of a fan of Strictly Come Dancing [if I can ignore the bits where the geriatric Bruce Forsyth mumbles his way painfully through the bad script on his autocue while Tess Daly smiles through gritted teeth every time he touches her, or the fact that the new judge, Darcey Bussell, is possibly the most irritating woman in the history of television!]. What I like most about this show is the opportunity to see the professional dancers show us that Latin and Ballroom dancing is still an art form to be enjoyed.
On the other side we are then subjected to the X Factor which, for me, has surely passed its sell-by date? Last night saw the return of the live shows in the studio and once again I was underwhelmed by the so-called talent up on stage. I’m not sure precisely where any of these people come from but I am pretty confident that there are much better performers in the local pubs and clubs than the sorry few that make it to this stage of the competition. Perhaps it sounds different to the people in the studio but to us at home it can be rather embarrassingly awful to sit through.
I also wonder what the contestants themselves think will happen after their 15 minutes of fame? Previous winners have all but disappeared from the face of this earth with some maybe achieving a few column inches in various tabloid newspapers for wearing something awful or falling out of a nightclub – a lasting career in the music business? I seriously doubt it! We listen to Louis, Tulisa, Nicole and Gary banging on about finding someone “current” and “exciting” and we are then subjected to distinctly average covers of songs by the likes of Queen, Spandau Ballet and John Lennon? What’s that all about?
There is a glimmer of hope this evening however. Season 2 of Homeland starts on Channel4 at 9.00pm. If it is as gripping as Season 1 then we’re in for a treat!
Sir Gary of the Barlow
It’s been a good few weeks for Gary Barlow. After the success(?) of the concert he masterminded at Buck House, comes a week when he continues to dominate the tabloid headlines!
At the beginning of the week, his Jubilee single “Sing” reached No. 1 in the charts and he was awarded Premier Inn’s “Celebrity Dad of the Year 2012”
It is the first time Gary has won the accolade and he was chosen in a public vote. The X Factor Judge said winning the award felt “amazing”.
And then, today, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List it was announced that he has been awarded the OBE in recognition of his services to the entertainment industry and to charity.
I can’t help but think this last one must have come as something of a disappointment. There have been many calls for him to be knighted and Sir Gary does have something of a ring about it. But, more importantly, when us commoners regard the OBE as something being awarded for “Other Buggers Efforts” it’s just a wee bit of a smack in the face perhaps? – discuss!
Does Britain really want talent?
While searching for content for the Party Lights Blog, I came across this video of Shayne Ward performing on the X Factor in 2005 and, who you may remember, went on to win the show. Despite winning a recording contract he has subsequently been dropped by the record company SyCo and the last we heard of him was performing in Rock of Ages at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
I had forgotten just what a great voice he has and it is such a shame he was another victim of the reality television genre that invades our television channels on a Saturday night and when talentless individuals (yes, I do mean Jedward!) are raking in a fortune. Where’s the sense in that?
October 4th was the day when Apple were expected to announce the launch of the iPhone 5 but what they actually announced was the release of the The iPhone 4S, (as the model will be known), which boasts an improved camera and significantly extended battery life.
Yawn, yawn. Please wake me up when something new and exciting actually happens. Give me something that makes me go “WOW!” and not simply repackage something that was already there.
For me, October 4th was the day when I experienced a new dining experience at Underwood Lockhouse in Bonnybridge.
The very first thing that caught my eye was the TV screens attached to the beer pumps – what a marvellous idea and why haven’t I seen this before in pubs or restaurants? Watching a football match in the pub will never be the same again – you can still watch all the action while you’re waiting to be served – how marvellous?!? Forget the X Factor – so last year – give me the WOW factor any day!
So, what else does the Underwood Lockhouse have to encourage patrons to visit. Well, almost certainly its location on the Forth & Clyde Canal couldn’t be more idyllic, from the gushing waters at the lock gates to the family of swans that are a permanent fixture. But, more importantly, the food was quite simply stunning! I was greeted by the owner, Bunty, who asked me what I liked and 10 minutes later the most mouthwatering dish of chicken was placed in front of me to try. Yes, it was spicy and laced with green chillis as I had requested, but the other ingredients of black pepper, lemon and coriander were all present in an explosion of tastes on my palate. Later I had the pleasure of trying a variety of further dishes such as the haggis and back pudding pakora, a gorgeous delicately spiced salmon and chicken tikka, followed by the delightfully indulgent gulab jamun and ice cream. However, if Indian food is not to your taste, there is a wide range of European dishes available to ensure everyone in your party is catered for.
But Underwood Lockhouse is so much more than a restaurant. Upstairs is Bar 17 which is an ideal venue for the amazing events that are staged weekly. Live entertainment is on every Friday and Saturday night and throughout the week there are various promotions such as last night’s Quiz and Curry night which cost a mere £5 per head and the delicious dishes that were served were impeccable as always, despite the low cost.
Bunty has thought of everything. He even has a courtesy bus service which, if booked in advance, can pick you up in Falkirk town centre and drop you back again after your meal. He also does take aways and home delivery. His attention to detail and high standards are a credit to him an I would urge you to pay a visit as soon as possible to sample a very special dining experience.