Saturday, May 23, 2009

Visit Britain: Lastly, London

From Birmingham, it took a couple of hours to reach the capital on the M1. Or was it the M6? Anyway, we got in during rush hour, but still managed to do drive by some of the touristy spots. You know, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, London Eye etc…

The hotel was close to the Liverpool St. station, so the next day, armed with one-day passes for the tube, it was time to shop and soak in London thoroughly.
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First stop was my personal favourite spot, Covent Garden. But it was way too early, so not much was going on. Even the clowns hadn't come out. Bummer.


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Then of course it was off to Harrods for some (chocolate & tea) shopping. Had to save money for the cheaper stuff elsewhere lah.
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Next stop was Hyde Park for a few snaps.

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Then it was time to hit all the obligatory shopping and photo op spots…

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Best part? I got my hands on the latest Green Day album with T-shirt to boot. Woohoo!
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The next day was more of the same as well…


And that was it. A direct train from Liverpool St. station took us straight to Stansted, and eventually back home to Malaysia.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

So, What Happened America(n Idol)?

Adam didn’t win and I know a few people who meracau-ed rather hard. As for me, I have to be honest and say that I didn’t have a good feeling after last night’s performance show, and the name Kris kept popping up every time I dug deep inside myself looking for that final prediction.

To make it clear, I actually hated last night’s performance show. First off, I think repeat performances totally suck. I mean, the finale is supposed to be the contestants’ night, just give them the freedom to pick at least two songs on their own lah!

Why make them repeat, even though the songs represented their best moments on the show so far? And for the audience, the element of surprise was already gone. I thought Adam’s “Mad World” was again magical last night, but it could have been magical-er with a different tune.

When I said these two would make a good final, it was on the basis that Kris and Adam have been the most creative and audacious in crafting their performances. Why then for round two, you decide to get the creator of the show to pick their songs? Who freakin’ cares about the creator of the show???

And of course, as predicted, the obligatory finale song again sucked big time, this time with mountains and hurricanes to boot…

So although I had Adam beating Kris on my twitter scorecard, I had this feeling that anything could happen. Adam simply wasn’t given the chance to completely let loose and to me, he needed that to put a big gap between himself and Kris. If it’s a case of too close to call, (clean-cut Christian) Kris would win, I thought. And so he did.
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The result show though was a great spectacle and thoroughly entertaining. And it’s amazing how they managed to book so many great artistes and got them to collaborate with America’s Top Amateurs. And it would have been a perfect night if only Lambert didn’t end up losing.

Ah well… at least we got the see TWO Bikini Girls this time around…

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My American Idol Prediction

Oh yes, I’m a huge AI fan and I make no apologies for it. And I must say that this current season has been the best ever yet.

I mean, while past contests have produced successful artistes, you always had lame Top 12s and even the Top 2s. This year, after the first 3,4 eliminations were over and done with, the competition has been extremely stiff. Which has resulted in thoroughly entertaining performance shows.

As for the judges, well, they’ve been bringing it on, dudes! But the over-praising by both Paula and newbie Kara, has been somewhat annoying. And who thinks Simon should be revamping his wardrobe by now? Imagine the Brit cranking out a Hawaiian shirt for example; I tell ya, that’s a ratings winner right there. Plus, we could sure use with a little less man-boobs on the show, no?
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Back to the contestants, this season has been blessed with truckloads of quality, and more importantly, variety. Rock chick, Asian R&Ber, theatrical chameleon, piano man, smooth crooner, slightly-smoother crooner – semua pun ada!

And I guess with Adam v Kris, we’ve got the best possible final.

What I like about these two is the fact that they’re the most unpredictable contestants this season. And while this is not “Song Arrangement Idol”, as some might say, the duo has definitely benefited from this added dimension in their talent.

To be honest, I never liked Kris in the beginning. So OK, he’s got that honest-to-goodness schoolboy charm, but I thought he was just too plain in his vocals. In other words, dude is BORING!
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But his multi-instrument flexibility and musical intelligence have translated into fine performances that the voting public in the US obviously appreciate. And for the final, I’m expecting Kris to deliver cleverly-crafted performances that will surprise and leave the women swooning (although he might hope the camera doesn’t focus on the missus too much). He won’t be hitting those big notes, but the key for Kris is connectivity with the audience.

Then there is Adam Lambert. Oh man, where do I start? Well, yes I’ve seen the pictures, but it’s totally none of my business (although I did go, euwwww). What I care about is those mega vocal chords. Jeez, can this guy sing or what? And he makes things look so damn easy. Staying humble in the whole process just makes him the perfect champion-to-be.
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So for the final, I’m expecting Adam to shine by going the rock/tender way yet again. One song to bring the house down, and another to bring out the tears. And of course, one mushy “this is my dream” obligatory new ballad lah.

But who will ultimately be crowned the champ? I’m guessing it will be close. But in a one-on-one showdown, IMHO Adam’s awesomeness will overshadow Kris’s silky smooth style. The judges will also play a big role, but I don’t think Glambert will be denied his glory at the end of the day…


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Visit Britain: Coventry

Why the hell was I in Coventry City? Well, I had some free time on my hands, and standing there at the Birmingham International train terminal, I thought, “Hmm… let’s take the first train out, no matter where it’ll take me”. As it turned out, Coventry was cool. And thank God I didn’t end up somewhere like Scunthorpe!

Following my excellent traveler instinct, I ended up at the main market/shopping centre which is about a 5-min walk from the train station.
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Some decent shops they have and it took me a couple of hours to go in and out of most of them.

Weather’s not unlike Birmingham (11-15c), but it did drizzle a bit now and then, which made things interesting for me. I’ve always loved playing run-like-hell-for-shelter.
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I imagine the city’s economy is partly boosted by the large student community as the Coventry University lies smack in the middle of town.

Towering cathedrals make the city even more interesting especially for the snap-happy visitors.
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Saw the pride of Malaysia parked along the road as well and of course I had to snap a pic lah.
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What else do they have in Coventry? Well, a big fat Ikea!
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Overall, a good 5-6 hours spent. But er, no adult stores lah...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Visit Britain: Birmingham

So my first stop was Birmingham, a two and half hour car ride from London’s Stansted Airport. Went straight to the hotel at NEC, so didn’t get to really explore the city until the next day.

When I finally got to see Birmingham, I was wowed by this particular building – the Bullring…
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It’s the main shopping mall of the city and it’s pretty impressive, inside out. I felt quite like home as well due to the large Asian population (good or bad, you decide). Which also means that halal fare is easy to find, although it may be limited to Tandoori and Kebab.

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Anyway, the Bullring has all the shops to make shopping a satisfying chore. Of course, I was delighted to see… Krispy Kreme Donuts!
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And yes, you read that right: a dozen donuts would set you back GBP8.95 = RM47!

The area around Victoria square meanwhile has plenty of photo-op sights and structures…



Got to see the market as well, and this is the place for bargain hunters. So if you’re looking for produce, arty stuff and um, unflattering underwear, this is the place to go…
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But here’s a tip. Take the train to town instead of a taxi. It will save you at least 30 pounds!

Elsewhere, the area around the NEC, the city’s main convention centre is just gorgeous with a lovely lake, quaking ducks and extra-fresh, fresh air.
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I did a Mr. Bean, and er… popped up for lunch. Ha ha.
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And just check out the awesome sunrise seen from the hotel room...
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Ah Birmingham… I will definitely be back.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Britain In Black & White

Loads of stories to tell and loads more pics to share, but allow me to start with these black & white snaps. Complete updates to follow...











Thursday, May 14, 2009

Visit Britain

Yup, I've been out of the country since Saturday visiting the good 'ol U to the K.

Main city has been Birmingham and I also took a train to Coventry today just for the heck of it. Tomorrow though I'll be off to London.

So expect a full jalan-jalan report soon, including how I survived the Air Asia X flight. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hujah 5/5/2009 (Nilai Anugerah Seni)

So last night I had my second stint as moderator on Hujah @ TV9. The topic of discussion was really interesting and I had actor/director Hans Isaac and Utusan Malaysia entertainment editor Saharudin Musthapa as guests. Happy watching!





Monday, May 04, 2009

OIAM3 Finalists In Da House!

So it was a rather noisy Monday at the office today when we had the three OIAM3 finalists, Tomok, Aweera and Esther, chatting away with fans via the Guamuzik Starchat.

Thousands logged on to interact with these superstars who sportingly sang a few songs together that could be seen thru the webcam.

Of course I took up the photo op as well. Got them to sign the guamuzik bunting and then time for a couple of snaps.
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And don’t forget, to download their original singles that were performed during the final, simply log on to http://www.guamuzik.com.my/ . And to watch the finale again, just go to www.8tv.com.my/oiam

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