My Random Thoughts

Location: United Kingdom

A Naija Guy living (and loving) in the UK.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Irreplaceable Henry and my American Idol top 10

Ok I will just go ahead and admit it. My heart wants me to blog about the irreplaceable Henry but its still too painful. Perhaps in the days to come I will be able to put the hurt aside and try to analyze the last 8 years that Thierry has been with us. He has left in search of Champions League success and I wish him well. Henry you were supposed to be our Captain, Player Manager then Director of Football. Even though you haven't left yet we miss you like crazy already. I'm sure we will see you again soon, so for now I say "a bientôt".

To take my mind off Henry's exit, I've decided to blog about my favourite show of all time (behind West Wing of course) American Idol. When AI is on top form it really delivers but admittedly it disappoints regularly (I'm still trying to get over the disaster that was Mr Soul Patrol). Season six just finished recently and now we have to wait seven months till our next dose (how will I survive?).
I've compiled below some of my most memorable performances. Here's the small print - just cause these are my favourite performances from the show doesn't mean they are the best. Oh and you will probably notice there isn't anything from seasons one and two as I never watched it those years.

Number 10 - Melinda Doolittle sings Home - American Idol 6

This one had it all, the Simon and Ryan banter (Simon tells Ryan to come out of the closet) the incoherent babbling of Paula and the typical AI glitz. Not to mention that this song was a childhood favourite of mine from the Motown production of the Wizard of Oz (called Wiz) which featured Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. Enjoy!

Number 9 - Constantine Maroulis sings Bohemian Rhapsody - American Idol 4
Not my favourite artiste or genre but homeboy worked it out on the night (with the help of the lighting guys )

Number 8 - Lisa Tucker sings I am Changing - American Idol 5

The song has since been made popular for our generation by Jennifer Hudson on the soundtrack of the Dreamgirls. Originally sung by Jennifer Holiday in the sixties, I heard this song for the first time on AI. Admittedly Lisa's performance was initially 'pitchy' but by the end it blew me away.

Number 7 - Elliot Yamin sings Moodys Mood for Love - American Idol 5
Now this is what the show is about, geeky looking white boy comes out with this amazing soulful voice, damn! One of my favourite songs (I really love the Brian Mcknight version on the Quincy Jones album) this song is a classic . "Am I insane or do I really see Heaven in your eyes.." Now that reminds me I've got to get his album...

Number 6 - Paris Bennett sings Work it Out American Idol 5
Musically "Princess P" had much better nights during that season but this performance I liked cause it reminds me of my little cousins and all those high school talent competitions. Precocious Paris Bennett, though young has much talent.

Number 5 - Scott Savol sings Against all odds - American Idol 4
Another big suprise. If I saw this dude on an album cover I'd drop the CD in an instant. But I love his voice and he made American Idol 4 a bit more fun.

Number 4 - Fantasia sings "I Believe" American Idol 3

In the final of AI3 Fantasia eliminates the opposition with what Simon called her "acceptance speech" with the song composed by Tamyra Grey (a contestant in Season 1). Call her Ghetto cause she didn't have much of an education, call her a bad role model cause she had a child out of wedlock, say she sounds like Donald Duck on Helium (Simon's words not mine), whatever you want to call her just remember she is a trouper and a winner! And maybe she shouldn't have shared that kiss with Jamie Foxx but who cares? This performance gave me goosebumps.

Number 3 - Lakisha Jones sings "And I am telling you" from the Dreamgirls Soundtrack, American Idol 6

This girl never lived up to her potential on the show. She threw down the gaunlet became the front runner and then just let it go. What happened Kiki? This should have been your year!

Number 2 - Jennifer Hudson sings "Weekend in New England" American Idol 3

Almost a different song to the Barry Manilow original I wish I could lay my hands on her singing the whole song not just this 90 second version for AI. Does the Oscar prove that America was wrong for kicking JHud out of the contest before the 'one genre' John Stevens?

Number 1 - Fantasia Barrino sings "Summertime" American Idol 3

The evergreen song from the Gershwin musical Porgy and Bess, "Summertime". Like Randy said the single best performance from any Idol season. And Simon at his most suggestive best "Fantasia I don't think you have ever put those lips to better use...".

Other notable performances include Anwar Robinson's Moon River and What a Wonderful World, Chris Daughtry's Hemorrage, Bo Bice's I don't wanna be, Camile Velasco's "Yellow Brick Road"and One last cry, Elliot Yamin's "A Song for you" and anything by Jennifer Hudson. In fact if I had to do this over it would probably be all different apart from the top three...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I got a Crush on Obama

I'm sure you guys knew this already, but before you start to think I've crossed over to the other side "I've got a crush on Obama" is the title of the pop video below.

Apparently the Video was shot by Democratic supporters of Obama and has no connection to his official campaign office (who apart from denying responsibility have chosen not to comment on the Video).

Like the 1984 Video critics have started to debate whether it could help or hinder the Obama Campaign and whether the candidate should distance himself further from it. I personally liked it and thought its a bit of fun and may potentially help increase his profile amongst young female voters (I know that very few of this set are as shallow as Jenna from 30 Rock), but he certainly needs to do something to cut the lead Hilary has that critics have claimed to be predominantly due to her support from women.

Anyway apart from attempting to support the Obama campaign, the Wharton school of business graduate who produced the video has started selling "I got a crush on Obama" T-Shirts. Talk about enterprenurial spirit!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Letter of Protest to Spanish Authorities

I received this in my email box this evening...

Dear Friends,

Please find below, the link to a letter of protest to Spanish Authorities by concerned Nigerians living in Diaspora on the needless, brutal and dehumanisig death visited on Mr. Osamuyia Aikpitanhi, a Nigerian Citizen in Spain.

In a bid to deport Mr. Aikpitanhi from Spain to Nigeria , We understand that Spanish law enforcement agents employed measures that were unreasonable, inhumane, illegal, and, ultimately, fatal. According to reports, Spanish law enforcement agents arrested Mr. Aikpitanhi, beat him, bound his hands and legs firmly with ropes, and put a gag over his mouth. The Spanish Officials then loaded him like an animal onto an Iberia aircraft bound for Lagos , Nigeria . Finally, the law enforcement agents covered him with a sack in order to prevent other passengers traveling on the aircraft from observing the undignified and inhumane manner in which Mr. Aikpitanhi was restrained. Mr. Aikpitanhi, a human being, was treated worse than an animal. Shortly after the aircraft became air borne, Mr. Aikpitanhi died. He died an inhuman death, bound, gagged and soiled in his own waste.

The time has come for us as Nigerians to say out loud to the whole world that we would no longer accept these types of treatments that has now become commonplace against our fellow citizens.

Please click on the following link to append your signature.

Nigeria Village Square

Furthermore, kindly help give this issue the publicity it deserves by forwarding this email to all your friends.

We look forward to your kind cooperation on this matter.
Read more.

Posted By Concerned Nigerians Worldwide

I've tried doing an independent search on google to verify this and the articles that come up are in Spanish, but the Nigerian Village Square site is very credible so please give this article the attention it deserves...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Vanity Fair - the Africa Edition

Vanity Fair has chosen for its July 07 magazine to feature 20 celebrities on 20 different covers having a 'conversation' about Africa. I must admit that Vanity Fair is hardly my regular reading material but a combination of Africa and Annie Leibovitz made it catch my attention in Smithies today.

Annie Leibovitz first caught my attention many years ago when she took the portrait of Whoopi in a bathtub filled with milk below (I used to love Whoopi Goldberg!). Since she joined the staff team of Vanity Fair, Leibovitz has made many memorable covers, including two of Demi Moore naked and her various portraits of celebrity holders of American Express cards. Leibovitz also took a famous portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the morning of the day on which he was shot and murdered.

Back to Africa and the VF magazine features world leaders and politicians including George Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Barack Obama and Queen Rania of Jordan, musicians Jay-Z and Bono, entertainers and artists Chris Rock, Madonna, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle and Maya Angelou, philanthropists Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates and the boxing icon that is Muhammad Ali.

All the celebrities are featured due to their 'passion' about Africa(the inclusion of George Bush did actually leave a slightly bitter taste in my mouth). The premise of the photographs is a visual chain-letter, a photographic discussion between these people about Africa.

Each person is featured on one cover but appears in a supporting role on the next in the series, the message being passed from one personality to the next. Obama listens to Cheadle, Ali to Obama, Queen Rania to Ali and so on.

"It's a visual chain letter," says Leibovitz, "spreading the message from person to person to person." Of the participants each has a personal connection with the continent, Iman: the supermodel who fled Somalia with her family 37 years ago, Senator Barack Obama whose grandfather and father are buried in Africa, Djimon Hounsou an actor who makes an annual return to a tiny village in Benin to see his family, Madonna the music superstar who adopted a child from Malawi, Ali who visited Ghana when no American sports figure had gone there before (I wonder what Dubya's personal link is).

Leibovitz put together the subjects in what was, she says, "a little like having a dinner party and trying to seat people next to certain people." She adds, "These are incredible people of our time, involved in this effort to make Africa better, to get Africa self-sufficient, and to try to get rid of aids on the continent."

What I found intriguing about the pictures was that the majority of the subjects seen together never actually posed together. For example Bush was photographed April 13 in Washington while Tutu was photographed April 28 in Kobe, Japan. But their photgraph features them in dialogue. The power of Photoshop aye!

Anyway, long may the conversation about Africa continue...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Congratulations Lewis Hamilton...

22 year old Lewis Hamilton won his first F1 Grand Prix race today - the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreaul. Hamilton is like the Tiger Woods of F1, being the first black driver to compete in the sport. For those of us who have been watching his races since the beginning of the season with bated breath, its no big suprise he has finally won a Grand Prix race (he lead in Canada from start to finish).

At the 2007 Bahrain Grand Prix, he became the first F1 driver to finish in the top three in his first three races. After he finished second at the 2007 Spanish Grand Prix, he became the youngest driver ever to lead the drivers' championship (he jointly led with Fernando Alonso his team mate). That was the race that we thought he would win and indeed some comments he made after the race suggested he was asked by his team to remain in second place behind his team-mate who is their 'lead' driver.

Anyway today he has 48 points on the board compared to the 40 of second placed Fernando Alonso. Hopefully in two weeks time when Wimbledon starts England we will be focusing their support on a homegrown talent that can win something...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Christ of Coldharbour Lane

I took advantage if the Metro readers offer of tickets for ten quid to watch "The Christ of Coldharbour Lane" earlier this week. Continuing a tradition of Nigerian Writers who choose to use the vibrant and colourful happenings of Brixton as a backdrop to their plays, Oladipo Agboluaje's play is a comedy that follows a former mental patient who declares himself the Messiah to a Brixton audience that are more interested in KFC and recharging their 'Pay as you Go' mobile phones.

As with Biyi Bandele's "Brixton Stories", there was almost too much going on and the multitude of characters who walked on and off stage all seemed to have their own story to tell. Also one of the things that slightly irked me was the verbosity of the main character, the Black Jesus 'Omotunde' (played by Jimmy Akingbola of Holby Blue). By mid point in the play everytime he opened his mouth to preach I was tempted to switch off. However the play was saved by the many random moments of comedy created by its multitude ensemble of characters.

One of the highlights for me was the performance of Dona Croll (Eastenders, Casualty) as the tragic Maria Maudlin a stripper/prostitute who Omotunde sees as his Mary Magdalene. Her pole dancing routine was almost worth the 10 quid entry by itself (lech that I am!). Its really difficult to believe that the woman is almost 50!

By the end of the play it appears that some of the biblical rhetoric was an attempt to wake the poor brixton from their oppression and seek an armed revolution against the state (I think...).

Anyway the all black cast, an intimate west end venue and the classic moments of comedy ('never trust a man who is still on Pay as you Go!'), make The Christ of Coldharbour Lane a worthwhile way to spend an evening.

Tickets can be purchased through the box office - Soho Theatre 0870 429 6883

Friday, June 08, 2007

Season Finale - The Sopranos

Sunday brings an end to the Soprano's Saga. It will not only be the seasons finale it will also be the last episode of the series. So now no "The West Wing" and no "Sopranos"? My two favourite shows now off the air? And some clowns want CBS to bring back Jericho? Who really cares? I never really understand why the cool American Shows go on hiatus during the summer anyway. With no Footie this summer and no reasonable shows I might actually have to get myself a life!

With Bobby reaching an untimely end in the penultimate episode and Tony Soprano going into hiding it is rumoured that another character will be 'whacked' in the Finale on Sunday. Not too many guys left with Silvio in hospital it probably leaves just Tony and Paulie (and Tony's family of course).

Here are some of my favourites who got 'whacked' in dramatic episodes during the six seasons of the show (pictures are courtesy of yahoo).

Big Pussy

Sal "Big Pussy" Bonponsiero was executed for being an FBI informant. Silvio, Tony and Paulie gunned him down then dropped him to the bottom of the ocean.

Adriana (Christopher's ex fiancee)

Adriana La Cerva was whacked after it was found out she was an informant for the FBI. Silvio gunned her down in the woods as she tried to crawl away to safety. Christopher suffered from a case divided loyalties and almost got shot himself too, in one of my best episodes of the show.

Christopher (Tony's Nephew)Christopher Moltisanti was done in by Tony after a car accident left him with massive internal injuries. Tony suffocated him instead of calling for help. I think Tony was always strangely jealous of Chris.


Vito Spatafore was brutally murdered by Phil Leotardo and his men after it was revealed that Vito was gay. Vito had run off but resurfaced to meet an untimely demise after he couldn't stay away from his family.

Tony Blundetto

Tony Blundetto (played by Steve Buscemi who has a reputation for being one of the ugliest guys in Hollywood) got shot in the face as retaliation for taking out Billy Leotardo, Phil's younger brother. Tony Soprano was forced into killing his cousin to spare him being tortured by Phil.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

She won!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 29, wins the Orange prize for fiction for her novel about the Nigerian Biafra war, Half of a Yellow Sun.

The Orange Prize for Fiction was set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote fiction written by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible. The prize is awarded to the best novel of the year written in English by a woman. Previous winners of this prize are Zadie Smith for On Beauty (2006), Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005), Andrea Levy for Small Island (2004), Valerie Martin for Property (2003), Ann Patchett for Bel Canto (2002), Kate Grenville for The Idea of Perfection (2001), Linda Grant for When I Lived in Modern Times (2000), Suzanne Berne for A Crime in the Neighbourhood (1999), Carol Shields for Larry's Party (1998), Anne Michaels for Fugitive Pieces (1997), and Helen Dunmore for A Spell of Winter (1996).