Damp squids and veekend viewing

We ventured into the heart of London on Saturday to witness the Lord Mayor’s Fireworks display. Public transport woes and an unsatisfactory ten-minute display left us feeling a little disappointed. A damp squid indeed.

(Before any of you boffins jump to tell me that saying is incorrect – I know. It’s intentional. Keep reading.)

Rugged up good and proper (as my Aussie friends say), we headed off with some friends into central London, to watch the fireworks display. I asked one of our friends what the Lord Mayor’s Show was all about (it took place all day on Saturday) and he said it was to mark the inauguration of the new Lord Mayor of London.  The show has been taking place at the same time each year for 785 years! Read more about it here – such a heritage astonishes me!

First up, our local tube was not operating at all over the weekend. Ideally, we could have jumped in a tube, travelled for about ten minutes and then walked up the road from the tube station to have a good view of the fireworks. Instead, we caught a bus and, as we approached London Bridge, discovered that the bus wasn’t going any further. Because of the Lord Mayor’s Show. This meant a repeat of our walk of last weekend, but in reverse. Not actually walking backwards (although that would have been fun!), but walking from London Bridge to Blackfriars Bridge.

It took us about 45 minutes, with the added challenge of three gorgeous, energetic, small boys running this way and that, fascinated by everything that caught their eye, not least of which were the mounds of autumn leaves which got kicked and thrown and tucked into other people’s jackets!

We got to Blackfriars Bridge, along with the rest of the world and his wife, and found a good spot in the middle of the bridge. The fireworks were due to start at 5pm (at which time it’s been dark for about half an hour). The fireworks are set off from a boat on the Thames, somewhere between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriar’s Bridge, so you can view from either.

The display began at 4.55pm (just as well we had got there a little early) and were over by about 5.05pm. What we saw was spectacular, but it certainly left us expecting more. Apparently the show is usually much longer and more spectacular, but I guess no-one has escaped the austerity of the budget cuts that the bosom buddies have introduced since taking office.

As teenagers, my siblings and I used to talk about things being “too much effort and not much fun”, and I think that described our venture to Blackfriars Bridge on Saturday. As a teenager I met someone who described a disappointing event as “a damp squid” … I rest my case.

And on to the veekend viewing. I have mentioned before that we are enjoying the current series of X Factor, the reality TV show for aspiring singers. Saturday’s show began with the final nine, which includes fabulous young soloists, a gorgeous and infectiously enthusiastic boy band, a delightful 50-year old Irish woman who describes herself as a belter and who left her day job as a cashier at Tesco to enter the show. And then there’s Wagner.

Hmm, how to describe Wagner? He’s Brazilian. He’s 54. He has long hair, which he usually wears in a half-moon. He can’t sing. And he can’t dance. Apparently he’s in the show for the sheer entertainment of having a former lion tamer in the line-up. (He was actually a PE teacher, but they keep showing a photo of him in his bare-chested youth, holding the tail of a lion.)

His mentor, Louis Walsh, can’t pronounce his name. No matter how much he’s reminded that Wagner is pronounced Vagner, Louise continues to correct everyone by air writing “W” and saying, “No, it’s spelt with a W. So it’s Wagner.”

However, things seem to have backfired for the show. Last year, a bunch of people started a Facebook group to try and stop the X Factor’s winning single from becoming the Christmas number one (which it usually does). They pushed for support to buy Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name and they succeeded; it outsold the X Factor single. X Factor Haters 1. Simon Cowell 0.

This year, the same group – I understand – have mobilised to vote to keep Wagner in the show. And so he survives week after week. His rendition – or shall I say rending – of Elton John’s I’m Still Standing rang false but true, if you know what I mean, on Saturday night. He dances like he’s running downhill in heels. And he sings like he just stepped down a steep staircase and can’t stop himself. Like he’s trying to keep up with the music. The music always wins. He smiles. And his numbers (and outfits) are always over-stuffed into productions reminiscent of Gary Glitter at his tottery-heeled peak.

Each week when Dermot announces that Wagner is safe (he hasn’t yet been in the bottom two), the X Factor-watching public sighs. No doubt the X Factor haters punch the air. And Louis grimaces – like he doesn’t know what to do next. And week after week talented youngsters slink off the stage, into a future that I hope will bring them more meaning and success than the X Factor drama. And Wagner prevails.

And ve continue to vatch. Vy, I ask you, vy?

Sunshine signing off for today!


26 thoughts on “Damp squids and veekend viewing

  1. Why do you keep watching the X Factor? So you can entertain us with your stories about it! I don’t watch it, but I love your descriptions.

    About the damp squid: You did get something out of it – good exercise.

    1. Ok, cool! I’m glad you’re enjoying the descriptions. And, between you and me, I really do enjoy the show!
      You’re right – we did get good exercise. We walk SO much in London, it’s unbelievable!

  2. Oh, my…I Googled Wagner (really wanted to see him…didn’t quite get the “half-moon” reference to his hairstyle!)…let’s just say that his performance of “Love Shack” made me vant to vomit! AARRGHH!


    1. Oh, Vendy! Something else, hey? Bongo drums and everything!
      My favourite is Matt Cardle – google him too; his version of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” got all four judges on their feet. 🙂

  3. I saw the title of the post, and after that it was tough to stay focused. My dad was born in Eastern Europe. Valentines Day was Walentines Day and what was vat. I could never figure out why, if he could pronounce v and w incorrectly, he couldn’t just switch them around. I tried mightily. It didn’t verk.

  4. OK, I Googled him. Now, I’m going to have to Google something else to cleanse the pallet. Somewhere in the UK, a really talented singer is screaming at his TV.

    1. So you get what I’m talking about? Matt Cardle would be a good one to Google, at least then you’ll know why I enjoy watching the show! And you’re absolutely right – talented singers leave/didn’t make it into the competition and Wagner is there…

      1. You should Google an American Idol contestant named William Hung. He did an atonal cover of “She Bang.” I don’t think he got past the auditions, but I think he got a record contract and a cameo on “Arrested Development.”

  5. Your tube episodes remind me so much of the many occasions we landed up taking the bus and walking forever ourselves. Great infrastucture but it often fails one especially on weekends.
    The X Factor reminds me of what we are going through here with a certain individual who’s mother is in politics on “Dancing With The Stars” say no more…
    On a lighter note, there is a NEW “Dancing on Ice” show starting in 2 weeks which should be groovy pop!
    Thanks once again for your great bloggery x

    1. This was not a great weekend for London transport. Remembrance Day celebrations on Sunday were made difficult by one of the main tube lines (our local one) being closed in its entirety for the whole weekend – it’s too annoying!
      There always seems to be an irritating factor in these shows – entertainment factor, I suppose.
      Thanks, lots of love to you both xx

  6. I just can’t get over how cool it must be to live where you are, right now.
    I love journeying with you.

  7. Heh heh. You know, I quite like Rage Against the Machine. They were a good, angry little band in their day.

    The same thing happened here in the States with American Idol. There was some poor, awful teen named Sanjaya Malakar. He was just dreadful, like your Wagner, but a group of anti-Idols rallied around him to keep him on and make the show almost unwatchable.

    Simon. I kind of miss that guy.

    1. I don’t really know Rage, I must say. I’m sure they’re good. I remember Sanjaya, but, watching from SA, I didn’t realise there was a campaign to keep him on – how funny!
      You’ll have Simon back on your shores with the US version of X Factor this time next year! 🙂

  8. Hahahaha – that’s fantastic. Your realistic descriptions are so accurate.
    I think that the backing dancers get him the votes they seem so athletic and in-time unlike the rotund 54 y.o. Brazilian. But ve have vays to keep Vagner singing.

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