How to do Tramlines when you’re broken

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If you don’t know, every year Sheffield hosts a music festival that takes place across a whole range of venues around the city. Tramlines, which has had (I think) its seventh event last weekend is one of July’s highlights, with over 100,000 people every year visiting a range of venues to listen to bands-local, national and international.
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Review: Roxette, the O2 arena, London 14 July 2015


I am a bad fan. When Roxette announced the dates for their 2015 tour and I saw that their one UK date was scheduled for the O2 in London, I was sceptical. OK, so they’d sold out Wembley Arena in 2011, but the shows in 2012 in Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham, whilst they sold well, weren’t sellouts themselves. I wasn’t really sure how big the O2 was, but I knew it was bigger than Wembley and I was scared that my favourite group would be playing to a partially empty arena. I was wrong. As with their Wembley gig, this one sold out, reminding me to have a little bit more faith in my idols. Blame it on my years of following Grimsby Town FC.

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30 bizarre things you learn from Smash Hits Yearbooks

My friend Sara put something on Facebook yesterday seeking Smash Hits questions for a new blog feature she’s about to star running called Smash Lits. I said I’d scour my old Smash Hits yearbooks for some. I have yearbooks from 1990-1996 (each released the year before, as that’s how annuals work). I read the mag between 1988 and 1998 and got the yearbook every Christmas but I don’t recall any yearbooks after 1996 and I always regretted not getting the 1989 one – and last night I remembered there is such a thing as eBay so I now have that on order. I also have the compilation book Smash Hits: The 80s, which was released a few years ago. It’s not *technically* a yearbook but I’ve included it here.

Anyway, the yearbooks are total gems (the 1992 one is actually cry-with-laughter funny) and I thought it might be fun to do a BuzzFeed style list of some of the bizarrest finds from them…

1. The secret behind Kylie’s perfect body and lovely teeth is not what you expect.

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2. Morrissey has an interesting approach to cat nutrition.

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3. Madonna is a socks’n’sandals kind of girl

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And a jumper that looks very Clock House at C&A. Werk it, Madge.

4. Sonia is a misunderstood genius.

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you may mock, but she knew Jonathan King was a rum’un.

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And can you see Andy Crane being booed at the paralympics? Exactly. Real politics 0 Sonia 1.

5. Liam Gallagher doesn’t like it hot.

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6. Nor do New Kids on the Block.

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7. Chris Lowe says it like he sees it when it comes to NKOTB.

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8. Jason Donovan is no Beyoncé.

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9. East 17 have no regard for high fashion.

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Global Hypercolor.  In the early 1990s this was the future.  I can’t help feeling cheated that we’re not now all fully decked out in clothes that show every sweat patch.  The future is not what we were led to believe.

10. Sean Maguire was totally the hottest property of the mid-90s.

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The cover star should represent someone who’s been a huge success that year and is likely to do big things in the year ahead. The 1995 yearbook came out in late 1994 and featured mega-selling acts such as Take That, Blur, East 17, Eternal and Oasis. So who gets the big splash? That footballer one from EastEnders. Classic.

11. Annie Lennox is not above a bit of product placement.

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Make your own little feature story and take it along to Channel 4!

12. This analysis of Vanilla Ice’s lyrics is a beautiful piece of semiotic deconstruction:

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13. Cathy Dennis’s concept of love is truly terrifying.

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Come on and get my love indeed.

14. Whilst Marky Mark’s shows that he was probably always destined to end up in terrible Michael Bay films.

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15. Robert Smith is a mystic:

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See, you might call him crazy, Smash Hits of the past, but what is it we’re all doing every few minutes, twenty years on from this, huh? Ahead of his time.

16. Carol Decker is a style icon:

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Nicole Who? Tori Whatsthat?

17. Phillip Schofield is a twelve year old girl

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He liked to emulate a Haven holiday camp for relaxation and smelled like a branch of the Body Shop.  Sadly, history does not recall if he used those little wooden fragrance ball things.

18.  Giant X was making its bid for world domination way before Simon Cowell signed it.

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19. Debbie Gibson regrets not take motoring advice from her psychic.

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20. Stefan Dennis used to be an ageless enigma.

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Sadly, in these post-Wikipedia days, it’s pretty easy to discover that his DOB is listed as 1958.

21. Nathan Moore from Brother Beyond doesn’t understand the power of Paul Robinson.

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To be fair, this was the pre-peg leg days.

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Of course karma then got the better of him. His horoscope for 1990 predicted trouble – and lo, he went down the dumper.

22. In the pre-YouTube days, Andy Bell from Erasure had to get his Kylie fix the premium way.

When asked if he phoned the perv lines in the Sunday Sport, this was his answer:

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Apologies for the blurring – it says… ‘No, they’re just silly.  I phoned up a Kylie Minogue phone line once to hear her ‘Hand on Your Heart’ single.  It was something unusual to do, I suppose’.

23. Presumably the reason no-one has seen Lindy Layton in a while is that she got sent to the tower for treason.

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24.  Dick Spastley’s frightwig was an interesting career move.

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Be grateful for my crap camera skills soft focus.

25. Dr Fox is a right grumpy get.

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26. Brett Michaels from Poison thought Margaret Thatcher was a physicist.

A common question pop stars were asked was what they would say to Maggie if they met her. The British ones were all, as you might expect, wanting to cause a bit of a ruck about one or other of her terrible policies. Brett Michaels, though, had other things on his mind:

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27. Pliers from Chaka Demus and Pliers has a brother called Spana Banner.

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One can only hope for siblings called Wrench and Bradawl. Presumably MC Hammer is also a relation.

28. In the pre-Isla Fisher/Chris Hemsworth days, the notion of Home and Away’s ‘biggest star ever’ was a bit less exciting.

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Last seen as a bit part in Neighbours as Sonya’s evil ex who moved into Ramsay Street and died within a few days.

29. The world of calendars and diaries is a sadder place since the demise of the Smash Hits Yearbook:

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30. What every teen needs is an arty poster of Peter Hooton from The Farm with some random bloke’s feet on his shoulders.

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The real reason for the demise of Athena. After all, what are those Anne Geddes baby pictures and the tennis girl compared to this pinnacle of posterage?

Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before

Oh BuzzFeed. Not only are you content with being responsible for every other post in my Facebook, you’re also making me obsessed with lists – which is better than being obsessed with the gender imbalance in cinema which is all I seem to blog about these days (except The X Factor and Strictly of course). So my brain has been working in lists for a while – most of which involve Roxette, Neighbours or Doctor Who, naturally.

So here’s the first one: five songs that sound a bit like totally ripped off Roxette. I can’t hear any of these without thinking of the Rox song instead…

Firstly, the two everyone cites.

Savage Garden I Want You, which sounds a bit like

The Look but speeded up (and no I am not going to link to ill-conceived semi-abomination The Look 95 at this point)

Coldplay Paradise, which has a synthy bit somewhat similar to:

Wish I Could Fly.

Then there’s one I’ve mentioned before

MGMT’s Kids

Which has a very speeded up synthy bit that reminds me of the refrain in

I Was So Lucky. Admittedly, this is one requires a bit of the aural equivalent of a squint.

Hall of Fame shamelessly lifts its refrain from

My World, My Love, My Life.

But Tegan and Sara know that if you want to rip something off (I was a Fool)

Then go for the best (Listen to Your Heart)