Steve Mannion

Apr 10

Pop World Cup Update & Ro16 Preview

FT6 comments • 378 views

So after nearly three months of managerial mind games and exciting encounters the group stage is finally complete. Sixteen sides have been eliminated and sixteen sides remain. To confirm, the draw for the second round is as follows:

1. South Africa vs Korea Republic
2. Nigeria vs France
3. USA vs Germany
4. Ghana vs Slovenia
5. Netherlands vs Paraguay
6. New Zealand vs Cameroon
7. Portugal vs Honduras
8. Spain vs Cote d’Ivoire

Ecstasy: Honduran pop fans party on the streets, Ghana's glee at winning streak

We’ve had a few shocks in the tournament so far – much fancied teams like England, Brazil, Japan and Italy crashing out while relative minnows Slovenia and Honduras have endured, and not just because the fans love an underdog or surprise package. As unlucky as some sides were not to progress, those that have did so on merit. Of course the draw, both on paper and in practice, has been more favourable to some than others but that’s all in the game.

Agony: European champs Switzerland aghast at flopping, sadfaces all round in the Argentina camp

The imminent Round of 16 sees no all-European clashes, with only five out of thirteen European sides remaining. In general the lack of intercontinental ties at this stage demonstrates how Pop is the true global game. As far as continental integrity and fan favour goes, Africa lead with five out of six sides still in the contest. Each one can be considered a strong contender to go all the way. Ghana’s 100% record (being the only team to win all three of their group matches) in particular is not to be sniffed at but other teams are only just starting to hit form and we could see even better performances from those who saved their best just for if or when they really needed it. That time is now, as a draw is no longer enough and a higher share of the vote is a WIN no matter how narrow.

Follow the results on the Pop World Cup site, keep listening and voting in the matches as they appear on Freaky Trigger and we welcome feedback from all spectators.

Sep 09

Kissing the pink goodbye…

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FreakyTrigger in ‘easy on the eyes’ scandal?! There’s a new stylesheet named ‘nu’ which you can select at the foot of the sidebar if, like me, you’re a bit sick of the pink colour scheme the site’s been sporting for some time now. The nu style alters colours and some fonts but keeps everything in the same position (for now). Try it for you might like it.

FT nu style screenshot

This will actually become the default style soon but fans of the pink can of course retain this as the option will remain in the sidebar and there may be another style option or two by the end of the year.

Nov 07

Rockists Night In: Set The Fire To The Third Knob

Do You See + FT/15 comments • 878 views

Methinks the lady doth protest too much

Those of you not yet middle-aged, criticise BBC Three while you still can! Really though, the channel’s future seems as safe as their schedules and as a result I don’t think Bennett needs to act quite so irate in her defensive stance. But then as a (not middle-aged) critic of BBC Three in general for some time now I would say that.

So how does the reality match up to Bennett’s insistence that the channel provides a ‘high quality mixed-genre schedule of innovative UK content featuring new UK talent’ to that all-important 16-34 yr olds audience? Tonight we have:


Oct 06

Chart Runs

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Chart Runs. An invaluable site for finding out which Cookie Crew (or, I suppose, any other band) tracks failed to make the top 75. This site collates chart data published in old Record Mirrors and elsewhere to provide the most comprehensive database on the net for singles and albums released in the UK that made the top 100. Well worth a donation.

Aug 06

Lily Allen vs the world part 3487

FT26 comments • 2,016 views

Apparently Alesha Harvey disapproves of Lily Allen’s bitching of other pop stars. But Alesha’s attitude may itself be a far bigger problem – this seemingly programmed attitude of goodwill to all (other pop stars regardless of their flaws) and reluctance to offend that makes the pop world a greyer place in the long run. Regardless of the quality of Allen’s own music and stardom, her decision to let people know exactly what she thinks of such-and-such is surely a refreshing tactic (if it can even be construed as such) that should perhaps even be encouraged among others in the game.

That said, the issue is clouded by Allen’s opinions being hardly radical and a whole-lotta-rockist, plus her reputation of being maybe a little TOO obnoxious in the flesh (like father like daughter). ‘Madonna should put it away now she’s had a couple of kids’ and ‘Kylie playing Glastonbury is a betrayal of the festival’s original values’ are stalwarts of boorish curmudgeons thrice Lily’s age and if she is to take a leaf out of Alesha’s book it should be more of the ‘spice up the music more than anything else’ ilk rather than the stifling ‘if you can’t say something nice (bland) don’t say anything at all’ variety. Unfortunately I suspect you’re more likely to hear Alesha heaping praise upon the likes of James Morrison than MIA, because of her own disappointing tendency to tow the line and say what’s best for sales. It is a classic case of getting the balance right that neither have quite nailed yet.

Jul 06

Ultramix 93

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Ultramix 93Ultramix 93: Party like it’s 1993 with this EPIC online mix – part of an ongoing series. High on chart hits, club classics and more unusual rarities – maybe even a bit of indie…how many do you remember?

Aug 05

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

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As A Tim Burton Event and even as a remake, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory feels a little TOO predictable and ‘robotic’ at times (Hollywood/ILM/Elfman etc. TOO well-oiled a machine now!) – the latter criticism ironic perhaps given the somewhat laboured ‘ahhh humanity’ scenes and dialogue scattered throughout. A sense of ‘going through the motions’ and ‘paying the bills’ pervaded much of the two hours. I don’t doubt Burton‘s love and respect for Dahl’s works for one moment, but the question ‘why this, now?’ still intrigues. I probably would’ve enjoyed it more and it would’ve felt fresher if I hadn’t seen the original again on TV recently, but still…

The whole thing does feel irrevocably Burton‘s World though – despite this being a re-adaptation of a text by a visionary with such a legendary style of his own. The parallels between Burton and Dahl in this respect are fun to explore and contrast in theory, but perhaps this ‘meeting of the minds’ didn’t quite live up to expectations purely because in the end the similarities seem too close. As well as the obvious shared affinity for childhood, both are fascinated by ‘the monster who just wants to be loved’. All well and cute, but could there not be something more interesting done with a ‘monster’ like Wonka beyond nudging them to the conclusion ‘families are great and should come first’? Even for a PG? more »

Jun 05

Forget everything I just said…

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Sounds like a wet one…

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When you’re not AT Glastonbury but feel as though you should be a curious conflict can develop in your mind as well as in the media. Radio 1, NME and other portals capitalise on the festival’s perpetual popularity excessively as if to justify their own existence further, their tone generally and irritatingly obsessive yet vacuous and trite and as giddy as the 16 year olds who messed up their GCSEasies and now head for The Rolling Fields Of Avalon (TM) to get inebriated on booze-injected pear-ade and possibly lose their virginity in a hedge by the toilets while The Zutons arse about on The Other Stage. This in mild contrast to what always seems a deeply cynical, schaudenfreude-tastic yet desperate effort by the Grown-Up News to report on the event, with just a hint of wry glee if a few spots of rain dog proceedings and send tents ‘floating’ and welly sales soaring.

Part of me remains that sanguine 16 year old about the whole thing, the other a jaded tosspot apparently pleased that other people are not necessarily having more fun than I am after all (surely this is not allowed). A conflict that seemingly can never be resolved.

But Glastonbury’s capricious meteorological issues aside, you cannot fail to have fun there. The only question is how much and whether it will match the probably unrealistic expectations in your head. So as I now imagine how nice it must be to hear ‘Teenage Kicks’ belted out defiantly and honourably by a withering Fergal and gang from the rain-lashed Pyramid stage, the Tor a distant, faded friend heralding you from afar, reminding you of the site’s unrelenting charm. You bastards, I wish I was there, again…

The ‘ain’t goin’ to Glasto’ mix…

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For those of us not down at Worthy Farm this weekend who sort of wish we were, 30 seconds out of every minute.

Alvin Lucier ‘I Am Sitting In A Room’
Dru Hill ‘In MY Bed’
Samantha Fox ‘Love House’
Basement Jaxx ‘City People’
Lloyd Cole & The Commotions ‘Lost Weekend’
Shrek ‘Stay Home’
Radiohead ‘Pyramid Song’ (pyramid…misery…DYS?)
Death Cab For Cutie ‘We Laugh Indoors’
Vitalic ‘No Fun’
Underworld ‘Mmmm Skyscraper I Love You’
Joachim ‘Come Into My Kitchen’
St Etienne ‘Side Streets’
O.M.D. ‘Electricity’
The Futureheads ‘Decent Days And Nights (Max Tundra mix)’
The Housemartins ‘Me And The Farmer’ (a great song to turn you off the countryside)
Sean Paul ‘Concrete’
Daft Punk ‘Television Rules The Nation’
Slowdive ‘Beach Song’
Air ‘People In The City’
Yello ft Stina Nordenham ‘To The Sea’