Life After People

A Look at Planet Earth Without Humans


Life After People is a documentary series currently airing on channel 7Two in Australia on Tuesday evenings. It looks at the prospects for planet Earth if man should ever suddenly disappear.

Life After People Statue of Liberty

The series uses a combination of hi-tech graphic simulations, interviews with experts and footage of existing structures to demonstrate how the planet would look at various points in the future, after man has left.

Each show tends to concentrate on specific cities and their landmarks and how long it will take for them to crumble. It goes into detail about the causes of the tumbling of man’s great creations, whether their destruction is a result of erosion by weather conditions over time or intrusion by animal and plant life or a combination of all of them.

Life After People also looks at the future for animals once we are no longer around. There will obviously be great changes for domestic pets, farm and zoo animals.

The prospect for dogs is the disappearance of the breeds that people have spent so long cultivating. Surprisingly dogs in their natural state are not so particular about a pedigree when considering a mate.

Although the pampered pooches that we know today will disappear, the hybrids that will evolve are likely to do well, once they revert to hunting in packs and feeding on the small animals that will thrive without human control.

Of the farm animals that we have cultivated for so long, the pig is most likely to flourish without us. Pigs are omnivores and will eat almost anything. Those that can escape their pens are bound to find plenty of food and are most likely to cross breed with wild boar, where they are located, and probably revert to the hairy beast that man developed the domestic pig from.

Life After People Tiger on Capitol Hill

If zoo animals can escape their confines, their fortunes are likely to be mixed in a human free world. Smaller animals living in countries where they were never native are probably going to be snapped up by predators or perish in conditions that they never evolved for. Whereas other animals are probably going to adapt and flourish in their new freedom. Herds of Elephants roaming across North America is a very real prospect. Remember Elephants are descendants of the mammoth that was common in northern climes many, many years ago.

In many ways planet Earth will repair itself without the presence of man. Plant life will creep into the concrete jungles that we know today and eventually destroy them. The types of plants that will prosper may surprise you. Many people, farmers, gardeners, sports groundsman etc. spend a great deal of time keeping nature at bay. When they are not around the seeds of plants will be spread far and wide by the many birds that will flourish and fairly soon our golf courses, racetracks and sports stadia will be overrun by bushes and vines that will eventually destroy the concrete structures that surround them.

Man’s influence on the planet may never completely disappear though. Introduced species may well take over areas that they may never have reached without our intervention. Can you imagine the prospects for Cane Toads in northern Australia without the controls that are now in place? The same is true for numerous plant species across the globe that we have introduced. Many are likely to decimate the native plants and change the face of their new regions for ever.

Our pollution could also have a permanent effect in some areas. For example the huge floating islands of plastic rubbish in the oceans could go on destroying marine life for centuries. They are only broken down by the sun and that introduces poisons in the plastic to the sea water, killing marine animals and the plants that some of them feed on.

Life After People is well worth watching. I was surprised that after the first show the second would have much more new information to share. But each episode does introduce new facts, in easily digestible bites for those of us who are not scientists. It is a fascinating show for anyone that has an interest in ecology, plant and animal life, architecture or the future of the planet.

CLICK HERE to download episodes or entire seasons of Life After People from iTunes. Or check out the offers below for further information.

By Max Power
Google

How about this for drastically reducing our destruction of the planet. It looks fantastic, maybe we should all get behind it.

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Maverick James Garner Rides off into the Sunset

James Garner Star of The Rockford Files has

died aged 86


James Garner, who was the star of two very successful long running US TV series, has passed away aged 86.

James Garner as Jim Rockford

James Garner as Jim Rockford

Garner began his acting career in the 1950′s and after a few films was picked for the role of Bret Maverick on TV. Maverick ran from 1957 to 1962 and was then revived in 1981. Sandwiched between those two runs was his highly successful detective series The Rockford Files, which ran for 6 years and was also revived years later as TV movies. Jim Rockford was probably the owner of the most famous answer-phone message in the world in the 1970′s.

The BBC Reports

James Garner, the US star of hit TV series The Rockford Files and Maverick and films including The Great Escape, has died aged 86.

Garner famously played laconic private investigator Jim Rockford.

He won an Emmy for the role in 1977 and starred in 122 episodes of the hugely successful show from 1974 to 1980. He returned to it in the 1990s with eight Rockford Files TV movies.

Another role, as the poker-playing Bret Maverick in the Western comedy, was also a hit with TV viewers, running for 60 episodes from 1957 to 1962, and again for another 18 episodes from 1981 to 1982.

James Garner as Maverick

James Garner as Maverick

Richard Natale of Variety said that the role of the laid-back, work-shy Maverick fitted “his wry personality like a glove”.

The TV show was made into a film in 1992 starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, but also starred Garner – this time on the right side of the law, as Marshal Zane Cooper.

In 1963′s iconic World War Two film The Great Escape, Garner played flight lieutenant Robert Hendley, an American in the RAF, alongside Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough and Donald Pleasence.

The film depicted the daring escape by prisoners of war from the German Stalag Luft III camp through a 336ft (102m) long tunnel. Only three reached safety and of the 73 recaptured, 50 were shot.

Hendley’s role in the film was as the “scrounger” who managed to get hold of identity cards, clothes and a camera.
The actor was also Oscar-nominated for best actor in 1986 for the romantic comedy Murphy’s Romance, co-starring Sally Field, in which he played a small town pharmacist.

Other leading ladies included Doris Day, who he starred with in the 1963 screwball comedy Move over Darling, and Julie Andrews, his co-star in gender-bending comedy Victor Victoria in 1982.

Garner’s career peaked during his highly successful TV series, and he was nominated for nine Golden Globes for shows including The Rockford Files in 1980 and Maverick in 1982, having won in 1958 for most promising newcomer.
He also won a further two for TV series Decoration Day [1991] and Barbarians at the Gate [1994].

He starred with Sandra Bullock and Ellen Burstyn in mother-daughter drama Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, in 2002 and in 2005 he was given a Screen Actor’s Guild lifetime achievement award.

More at James Garner, Rockford Files star, dies aged 86

Another great performance of Garner‘s was in the 1999 TV mini-series Streets of Laredo, where he played retired Ranger, and bounty hunter Captain Woodrow Call, who is hired to track down Joey Garza, a mean and sadistic killer. The series was kind of a grittier version of John Wayne‘s True Grit.

James Garner was an activist in the Screen Actor’s Guild, he was on the television negotiating committee for a number of years and was twice a Vice President of the Guild. He also helped organize Martin Luther King’s march on Washington for Civil Rights in 1963. He was a member of the National Support Committee of the Native American Rights Fund and strongly supported the National Museum of the American Indian. He was also a campaigner for the Save the Children Fund.

In 2003 Garner joined the cast of 8 Simple Rules, after the sudden death of John Ritter. The existing cast were devastated by the loss of Ritter and Kaley Cuoco said “James Garner is like a peaceful river through our chaos.”

His roles reduced after that and he suffered a severe stroke in 2008.

CLICK HERE to download James Garner’s movies and TV shows from iTunes

James Garner will be missed by friends and fans alike. Rest in Peace James.

By Max Power
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How The Voice Top Five Were Really Decided

The Voice 2014 Semi Final Review


Before the The Voice semi-final was shown in Perth last night a promo was run on the six o’clock news. It featured the charismatic young Scottish boy, Robbie from The Voice Kids, also known as mini Darren McMullen. This must have been a left over clip that they were determined to use, even though its sell by date had expired by a week.

Young Robbie The Voice 2014

As Robbie ran around backstage in The Voice studio, grabbing sound bytes from anyone he could put a mike in front of, we saw all of the contestants who were voted off last week, Elly Oh, Robbie Balmer and Gabriel and Cecilia, getting prepared to perform in hair and make up.

Many of you will be aware that news items on TV are often not new news items, they are frequently recorded and dug out when nothing else is available to fill the time slot. But this one was kind of a fail for anyone that follows The Voice.

Duets

The Voice proper kicked off this week with a round of duets from the remaining contestants from each team.

Holly Tapp Trouble

First up were Kat Jade and Johnny Rollins, Doing It For The Kids. As recorded by their own coach, Kylie Minogue, with Robbie Williams. I thought the performance lacked dynamism, mainly on Kat‘s parts, Johnny‘s high parts were very good.

Sabrina Batshon and Jackson Thomas gave us Bonnie Tyler‘s Total Eclipse of the Heart. It was a very good version, although very musical theatre, but then again so was the original really. Surprisingly Jackson was the better of the two on this. Sabrina didn’t look quite her normal self.

ZK and Anja were next up with Gotye‘s Somebody That I Used to Know. As he hasn’t had a hit since this one, Gotye himself has now become somebody that we used to know. This was a very nice version. I particularly liked Anja‘s part. I’m getting to like her more each week.

Holly Tapp and Frank Lakoudis tackled the old standard The House of the Rising Sun. I wasn’t that happy with this version, a bit too theatrical for my taste. It could have done with more rock belting from both of them, less production and different outfits. Frank looked like a thin, hairy Meatloaf

Next up was a collaboration/cross promotion with The Voice Kids. It was quite entertaining, with each of the seniors partnering with their junior doppelganger. The kids were all good singers. It was a bit Johnny Young Talent Time / I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing type of thing, but showed off the kids well.

Solo Peformances

Jackson Thomas was the first to perform solo tonight, with When The War is Over. A favourite song of mine and many other peoples. Jackson sang it well, but I missed that dirty rock edge in the Cold Chisel version.

Sabrina Batshon sings Who Are You

Sabrina Batshon took on a Jessie J song, Who Are You. I wasn’t that familiar with the song and thought that it suffered amongst all of the tried and tested classic songs tonight. Will-i-am mentioned that Sabrina had no voice yesterday, which is what I think I saw in her face earlier, but her voice was still good.

Jackson went through to the final on the public vote, which was a surprise to me, but his song from last week has apparently been selling well on iTunes.

CLICK HERE to download When the War Is Over (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Jackson Thomas or any of his other songs

Frank Lakoudis took no chances with Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child of Mine. They set fire to Sabrina‘s set for him. It was another good performance of another great classic rock song. Frank did much better than he did last week, but I stand by what I said previously, that he needs to do more than just straight covers of standards.

Holly Tapp followed Frank with You Know I’m No Good from Amy Winehouse. It was a very sexy look from Holly, in a see through top and lots of legs, well just two of them, but fully exposed. The song never really stretched her range, it was a good performance, but probably not her best.

Frank Lakoudis got the public vote and went through to the final, which disappointed me, but didn’t surprise me.

CLICK HERE to download Sweet Child O’ Mine (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Frank Lakoudis or any of his other songs

Kat Jade did the huge hit Memory from the musical Cats. Once again Kat started off a bit weak. It was kind of thin and reedy to start with, she finished stronger, but it paled a bit compared to the classic versions of this song.

Johnny Rollins was back with When a Man Loves a Woman. This was a very good rendition and did not make you wish you were hearing the Percy Sledge version. Johnny deserves to go through for that performance alone.

Johnny got the public vote to go through to the final, so happily no surprises there.

CLICK HERE to download When a Man Loves a Woman (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Johnny Rollins or any of his other songs

Anja Nissen was first from Will‘s team, with I Have Nothing. It was a great performance of a Whitney Houston classic. I tipped ZK for the final before, but they are going to have to go really hard to beat this.

ZK moved strongly into Glee territory, with Journey‘s Don’t Stop Believing. I thought it was a weak and poor performance, far from their best of the last couple of weeks. It would be a pity if they went through in front of Anja after this.

ZK went through on the public vote and Kristal looked like she didn’t feel that they deserved it, maybe that was just me.

CLICK HERE to download Don’t Stop Believin’ (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – ZK or any of their other songs

It was sad to see Anja go after what she just did. But she still had a chance, she was up against Sabrina, Holly and Kat in the app voters poll, to get that extra place in the final.

Anja did pick up the app voters ticket to the final. She deserved it, but so did Sabrina and Holly and it’s a great pity to see them go.

CLICK HERE to download I Have Nothing (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Anja Nissen or any of her other songs

So do you think that the right singers made it to the final? Which of them will you be rooting for? Let us know in the comment section below.

Remember if you download any of the songs from the links above, that will count as two votes for the artist to become The Voice 2014

By Max Power
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The Voice The Final 12

The Voice Monday 7-7-14 More Live Finals


Team Ricky

The running sequence was flipped on it’s head this week and Team Ricky was up first.

Sabrina Batshon in Stockings

Sabrina Batshon received the most votes and was first to perform. She gave us Florence and the Machine‘s Say My Name. Sabrina looked striking in some very sexy stocking tops. I didn’t like the song. I felt it reduced her to over dramatic shouting. But Sabrina gave it the kitchen sink, like she always does.

CLICK HERE to download Spectrum (Say My Name) [The Voice Australia 2014 Performance] – Single – Sabrina Batshon

Despite our protests, The Voice stuck with their app voting for the other two competitors to sing off, once again excluding half the country.

Elly Oh was up against Jackson Thomas. She gave us Never Be the Same. It was a formula song with over dramatic moments and wind machines, but no soul.

Jackson was given the first decent song of the night, Bridge Over Troubled Water from Simon and Garfunkel. It suffered from being cut down to about a third of the original length, but Jackson sounded good and much better than last week.

On tonight’s performances I would have picked Jackson and so did the app voters. But it was a great pity to see Elly go and she suffered from the poor song I think.

CLICK HERE to download Bridge Over Troubled Water (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Jackson Thomas

Team Kylie

Kat Jade topped Kylie‘s team in the voting and gave us a very good performance of Telephone by Lady Gaga. She looked good in white, on the all white set and moved well with the dancers.

Kat Jade Telephone

CLICK HERE to download Telephone (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Kat Jade

Robbie Balmer sang Lost Love from Temper Trap, but started out sounding very much like Chris Martin from Coldplay again. But it built to something very good and I enjoyed it much more than last week’s actual Coldplay song.

Johnny Rollins sang Sam Smith‘s Stay With Me. This was my favourite song of this group and Johnny did so much better having been released from behind his drums.

I would give it to Johnny, but was much more impressed with Robbie than previously. Once again the voters agreed with me and Robbie went home.

CLICK HERE to download Stay With Me (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Johnny Rollins

Team Joel

Holly Tapp was voted through, which I was very pleased about, as I saw people posting negative comments on the iTunes page for her performance of Single Ladies.

Holly performed The Cardigans’ Lovefool. She went from last week’s long red dress to short red shorts, but still looked stunning. It’s a cutesy song and she seemed nervous about performing it in rehearsals, but once again owned it on stage.

Holly Tapp Lovefool

CLICK HERE to download Lovefool (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Holly Tapp

Isaac McGovern was first up in the sing off with Geronimo. I’m afraid Isaac has a lot of problems with staying in tune and they were evident again tonight. It sounded a little like Robert Smith from The Cure‘s quirky vocal. If it was meant that way, good on him, but I really don’t think it was.

Frank Lakoudis gave us another big Classic Rock standard, Queen‘s We Are The Champions. For the first time he struggled with the key, Freddie is a very tough act to follow.

Both boys were a little off tonight, but I would give it to Frank, based on previous performances. The app voters made it 3 out of 3 for me and Isaac bowed out.

CLICK HERE to download We Are the Champions (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Frank Lakoudis

Team Will

ZK won the public vote, despite Gabriel and Cecilia reaching number 5 on the iTunes chart. They gave us a mellow version of Cindy Lauper‘s Time After Time. I’ve heard some really flat versions of this in the past. Their vocal performance was good, but I was a little less impressed with the evening wear get up and the overbearing strings.

CLICK HERE to download Time After Time (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – ZK

Anja Nissen Wild

Gabriel and Cecilia gave us their version of Nirvana‘s Smells Like Teen Spirit. It was very different and left me wondering, just wondering.

Anja Nissen looked amazing in her leopard prints, like a sexy Amazon. She gave us Jessie J‘s Wild. Now Jessie is some sort of singer, but Anja held her own and that long note at the end was so much better than in rehearsals.

CLICK HERE to download Wild (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Anja Nissen

Anja got the app voters nod and I think she deserved it for that performance. Will asked Gabriel and Cecilia to join him on the album that he is recording now. It will be interesting to see if they can build a career of their own. It’s also interesting to note that they fell at the first voting hurdle, as they had got the coach’s free pass all the way through until now.

Joel and Benjy, The Madden Brothers closed the show with their single We Are Done. You can download their single from iTunes, but I’m pretty sure Joel will be in the final either way.

So next week we’re at the pointy end, we’re down to the last eight. I will tip Sabrina Batshon, Johnny Rollins, Holly Tapp and ZK for the final four. Who are your picks? Let us know in the comments below.

Remember, if you download any of the songs from this page, that counts as two votes in the competition for the artist.

By Max Power
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The Voice 2014 Live Finals Round 2

Coaches Saves and Voting Scandal


I almost didn’t write this review. I sat watching The Voice last night and started to think, after three years maybe this show has exhausted the pool of talent. The songs are dull and they keep inventing different ways to save contestants, in order to try to breathe new life into it.

Who needs a review like that? There is enough negative stuff out there in all formats. Television news, newspapers and magazines, digging the dirt and telling us what we should think. So who needs another blog running down a TV show and the young people on it trying to make it in the music business?

But then something happened. It suddenly got a lot better!

The Voice 2014 Coaches

This episode was very bottom heavy. I’ve heard of saving the best till last, but they were seriously in danger of losing their audience last night. All the hype in the world can not make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

So rather than chronological order we re going to review by team. So here we go.

Kylie Minogue


Our Kylie kicked off the show. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Kylie, she adorable. I’d like to put her in my pocket and take her home. But she wouldn’t make a singers armpit.

I’ve heard, from people in the know, that she mimed at the Sydney Olympics closing ceremony and there was strong evidence that she did the same at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert. So I would be surprised if she wasn’t miming on a live (to the East Coast of Australia, more on that later) TV show.

Even then she was aided by autotune in the recording. But the audience seemed to like it and she sells records, so who am I to complain?

The Format


So they messed with the format again. It seems the Australian public voting once for who stays and who goes is not enough.

All that last weeks votes determined was that the singer with the most votes would go through to face the singer already given a pass by their coach. The remaining two would have a sing off, which of them got the most votes over the week counted for nothing.

When those two sang off, we, I use the term in the broadest sense, had the opportunity to vote which of them carried on, via an app that you would have needed to download from The Voice site, or the app store, probably.

Now this is where the term “live show” needs examination. Remember this show only goes out live to the eastern states. South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia all get it on delay, because of the time differences in the this great brown land of ours.

I know that those states (and territory) have a much lower population than those on the east coast, but that does not make them second class citizens. Their votes over the week should have counted for more and they should not be excluded from your new fangled system, desperately introduced to spark more interest and possibly more funds.

I read the weak excuse on The Voice Facebook page that people west of Melbourne could vote with the app if they wanted. But it would mean doing so without seeing the performances and some how being psychic about when it was time to vote. OK you may have been notified in the app of that, I don’t know I don’t have it.

OK if you have followed all of the above we will go on with the performances. If not please re-read it, there may be questions later.

Team Will


Will had given Gabriel and Cecilia the free pass, for the second time. I really don’t understand why. Their performances earlier sounded distinctly out of tune to me.

Tonight’s performance was better, but I didn’t really like the song and the whole thing still left me a little underwhelmed.

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ZK, the aboriginal duo, received the most votes and went through. Anja Nissen and Mat Verevis sang off to stay.

Mat Verevis sang Rocket Man, while seated at the piano. It was a good performance, but not exciting or particularlarly moving.

Anja Nissen sang Beyonce’s Irreplaceable. Anja is an attractive girl with a strong powerful voice and she did well. But I would class her as not quite ready for prime time and needs a little more time paying her dues.

The app voters picked to Anja to go through and Mat’s days on the show are over.

I had had mixed feelings about ZK before tonight’s performance but they picked the best song on Will’s team, if not the whole night, and added their own edge to it. The harmonies were great and I would be very surprised if they didn’t get the most votes on Will’s team.

CLICK HERE to download Imagine (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – ZK

Team Kylie


Johnny Rollins had received Kylie’s free pass the previous week and he sang Am I Wrong from Nico & Vinz.

Kylie wanted him to sing from behind the drums and Johnny wasn’t sure about it. He was right but Kylie got her way.

Johnny Rollins sings Am I Wrong

Some of the judges have mentioned Phil Collins and The Eagles drummer Don Henley in reference to Johnny and his drumming and singing. But what they seem to forget is that both of those guys employ other drummers for their live gigs.

It’s impossible to be dynamic from behind a drum kit, the same is true for keyboards. That is why the guitar is the instrument of choice for Rock and Roll. Because you can walk around and pose with it.

If Johnny gets to stay another week he really must come out from behind his drum barrier.

Kat Jade got the most public votes and she sang Katy Perry‘s Dark Horse. It was a reasonable performance, her voice was good, but the song was once again pretty ordinary.

She went without the cat ears and kooky look again, it seems that Kylie wants to dispense with that.

Robbie Balmer and John Lingard had to sing off for the app voters.

Robbie sang The Scientist from Coldplay. I hate Coldplay with a passion. I believe they make music to slash your wrists by and this song in particular. So no mater how he performed I wasn’t going to like it.

John sang one of Kylie’s own songs Hand on Heart. I think John had potential, he put his own spin on things and even though this was a pretty poor song, it was pretty good performance.

But he still got the elbow from the app voting public. Which goes to show democracy is not always a good thing.

Team Joel


Frank Lakoudis was Joel Madden’s choice to go straight through. He sang American Woman, originally recorded by The Guess Who, but Lenny Kravitz had a hit with it in more recent years.

Now I love a bit of rock and does this show ever need it. But the praise lavished on Frank is distinctly over the top. He does good covers of rock standards, but you can see singers as good as him in pubs all around Australia most weekends. I would like to see more rock artists in the finals of The Voice, but some with a little of their own personality.

CLICK HERE to download American Woman (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Frank Lakoudis

Holly Tapp had received the most public votes the week before, so she was in the main competition. She sang Beyonce’s Single Ladies. Now this was different. It was a kind of cabaret jazz version. Holly looked the part and owned it. It was one of the top performances of the night.

CLICK HERE to download Single Ladies (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single Ladies (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single

Taila Gouge and Isaac McGovern had to sing off to stay.

Taila sang Paramore‘s Ain’t It Fun. Now this girl has got an excellent voice, bags of personality and knows how to entertain and she’s only 17. But there was something, not quite there for me and I am going to blame the song, although it did have it’s moments.

Isaac McGovern gave a very nice rendition of the Goo Goo Doll’s Iris. We found out that it was his recently departed aunt’s favourite song, so we had that additional tug on the heartstrings. I don’t think Isaac stayed on key all the way through it, but it was an engaging performance. Amazing what a difference a quality song can make.

Isaac was top with the app voters and lives to sing another day.


CLICK HERE to download Iris (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Isaac McGovern

Team Ricky


We talked about saving the best until last at the beginning of this post and there is no doubt that Ricky Martin has the best team in the competition.

Jackson Thomas had been put straight through last week, which I was a little disappointed about. Because it meant that one of Sabrina Batshon, Elly Oh or C Major would be going. Of course at that point I didn’t realise they would all get to sing again.

Sabrina got the public vote and she was saved to close the show again.

Jackson sang Seal’s Kiss From a Rose. It was good performance of a very difficult song to sing. But considering the competition in this team I think he will struggle to stay.


CLICK HERE to download Kiss From a Rose (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Jackson Thomas

Elly Oh gave us Pixie Lott’s Mamma Do. This was another cabaret style performance, like Holly Tapp’s and equally as entertaining. There is no doubt that this girl can sing, being an opera singer and teacher and all, but she is really pulling out the entertainment chops.


CLICK HERE to download Mama Do (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Elly Oh

C Major, like Johnny Rollins, discussed with his coach whether he should be stuck behind his instrument for the performance. Once again the coach was wrong, but still got his way.

C Major is a seasoned performer and has been very good in previous weeks, but once again I believe that a weak song let him down.

The app voters picked Elly to stay and C Major to go home. He gave an impressive farewell speech, rattling on in Spanish to Ricky Martin.

The little woman with the big voice closed the show.

Sabrina Batshon was once again awesome. Some are saying in social media that she has already been picked as the shows winner. Well I would like to believe that the show is not fixed, but with performances like this she fully deserves to win.


CLICK HERE to download Empire (The Voice Australia 2014 Performance) – Single – Sabrina Batshon

So who will you be voting for? And do you think it will make any difference?

I wonder what new twist they will pull on us next week to reduce the influence of the voters. We can only wait until Monday to find out.

By Max Power
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Rik Mayall 7 March 1958 – 9 June 2014

Comedian and Actor Rik Mayall Dies aged 56


I was shocked and saddened to read about the passing of Rik Mayall, star of The Young Ones, Bottom and The New Statesman, who died yesterday aged 56.

It feels a little like a part of my youth has gone.

Rik Mayall Now and Then

At the time of writing the cause of death is not known. His wife has said that it could have been a heart attack or a seizure. But Rik was lucky to escape an even earlier exit when he crashed his quad bike in 1998 fracturing his skull. At the time he was in a coma for several days. Maybe there was some lasting damage to his health as a result of that.

By way of a tribute, here are a few clips of some of my favourite roles of his.

Rik Mayall was first seen on British TV in 1981 as Kevin Turvey in a sketch show called A Kick Up the Eighties. Turvey was an “investigative journalist”. He was awkward and socially inept; he still lived with his mother and spoke with a broad West Midlands accent (where Rik Mayall himself grew up). He appeared weekly on A Kick Up the Eighties to report on his investigations.


Kevin Turvey Investigates… Sex

Mayall formed a comedy troop with other upcoming actors/comedians who also went on to some degree of fame themselves. The Comic Strip included Ade Edmondson, Alexei Sayle, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, French and Saunders, Arnold Brown and Pete Richens. Two famous TV series were born from this, The Comic Strip Presents… and of course The Young Ones.


The Young Ones – Summer Holiday

The partnership between Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson, The Dangerous Brothers, went on for a quarter of a century and following The Young Ones produced the TV and stage shows Filthy Rich & Catflap, Bottom and the film Guest House Paradiso. The extremely violent nature of the Bottom stage shows was so intense that it saw both Mayall and Edmondson hospitalised at various times.


Bottom – Second Coming

Aside from his work with Ade Edmondson, Mayall appeared in popular shows of his own, the most successful of those being The New Statesman, where he played Alan Beresford B’Stard, an immoral Tory MP of the Thatcher era.


The New Statesman on healthcare

Believe Nothing, the follow up show from the same writers, Maurice and Gran, was not as successful, but I really enjoyed his role as Professor Adonis Cnut.

Of course never to be forgotten are Rik’s scene stealing appearences in Blackadder Goes Forth as Squadron Commander Flashheart.


Flashheart In Action

Rik Mayall’s comedy will live on with a generation who grew up with it and it will continue to influence other comedians, including David Walliams and Russell Brand, who have paid tribute over the last few days.

RIP Rik Mayall

CLICK HERE to download Rik Mayall’s work from iTunes

By Max Power
Google

A wide selection of Rik Mayall’s work is available below.

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The Voice Showdowns

The Voice Showdowns 2014 Round 1


After the Blind Auditions and the Battle Rounds, The Voice has now moved on to the Showdowns. Each of the coaches picked three of their team to compete against one another. One would go through to the finals, one would go into a sing off and one would go home.

Ricky Martin’s Team Was First Up.



Ricky chose C Major, Thando Sikwla and Matthew Garwood to compete.

C Major - Blurred Lines

C Major gave us his version of Robin Thicke‘s Blurred Lines. He said in rehearsals that he had sung it a thousand times at his shows and it always raised the house. Ricky had his doubts and asked him to tone down his performance. He need not have worried C Major was very good on the night, in fact I found it a little better than Robin Thicke, who I always think is a little too cock sure of himself.

Thando Sikwla sang Kings of Leon‘s Sex is On Fire it was a good version and she sang well, but I didn’t think the song really suited her.

Matthew Garwood, the extensively tattooed musical theatre guy, gave us Il Divo‘s Mama. Not really my style of music, but I couldn’t really fault it for what it was.

C Major‘s was undoubtedly the best performance and he went straight through to the finals. Ricky picked Thando for the sing off and Matthew went home. Which is probably the way I would have gone, but the loss of Matthew has proved very unpopular on The Voice’s Facebook Fanpage today.


will-I-am’s Team Was Up Next



Brother and sister duo Gabriel & Cecilia were first up. They did their own take on David Guetta’s Titanium. To me they sounded awfully off key, but no one else seemed to notice that, or if they did they never commented on it.

The soulful Julian Simonsz chose MKTO’s Classic and gave another good performance, after will put Julian’s wife in his own spinning seat.

Last up for will‘s team was Carly Yelayotis with Toni Braxton’s Unbreak My Heart. She sang it very deep and it had no highlights for me.

Unbelievably for me, will chose Gabriel & Cecilia to go straight through. Julian Simonsz, who should have gone through, goes to the sing off and Carly Yelayotis goes back to singing traditional Greek songs, I assume.

Team Kylie Gave The Best All Around Performances.



Lionel Cole gave a very over the top performance of Ray Charles‘s Georgia. He seemed to make up his own words or at least rearrange the original ones. But he has a great voice and a vast vocal range.

Previously I had not been impressed with John Lingard and his rehearsal footage did nothing to convince me that would change. But I really enjoyed his take on Death Cab For Cutie’s I Will Follow You Into The Dark.

The Karaoke Queen Candice Skjonnemand also gave an impressive performance of Katy Perry’s Unconditionally.

Candice Skjonnemand

Kylie chose John Lingard to go straight through and Lionel Cole to go into the sing off. Candice was unlucky that she was not in another team, as she was far from the worst singer of the night and probably would have gone through had she not been matched against these two.

Joel Madden’s Team Was Up Last



If Kylie’s team gave the best all round performance of the night Joel’s undoubtedly gave the worst.

Soli Tesema, sang first with a very breathy version of Rudimental’s Free, a very ordinary song in my opinion and none too impressive.

Blake Leggett gave us a very flat, in every sense of the word, performance of Pompeii’s Bastille. At times his ‘singing’ was almost talking, even less impressive than Soli.

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Frank Lakoudis was last up with Bon Jovi’s Keep The Faith. His rendering certainly had passion and the audience and coaches seemed to love it, me, not so much. I didn’t think it was patch on Bon Jovi’s version.

Joel chose Frank to go straight through to the finals, which was an easy decision; he was by far the best of a bad bunch. Soli claimed the sing off spot and Blake Leggett deservedly goes home.

The Voice is back again tonight with another round of Showdowns. This round features the opera singing, lesbian daughter of a preacher, Jess Berney. Who I am tipping to go through to the finals, if only for her novelty value.

By Max Power
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The Voice Australia 2014

New Judges and Some Familiar Talent


The Voice has returned with a revamped panel of coaches. Delta Goodrem has been replaced by Kylie Minogue and Seal has been replaced by will.i.am. That reeks of tokenism, but we won’t get into that right now.

Ricky Martin is back for his second year and Joel Madden is the only remaining original judge from the first Australian series.

The Voice Australia 2014 Judges

Everybody loves Kylie and she has been welcomed back to these shores with open arms. I have never been a fan of her music, but she is easy on the eyes, I like her as a personality/celebrity and she is holding her own with the otherwise all male panel.

CLICK HERE to Download Music from Kylie Minogue from iTunes

will.i.am is a good replacement for Seal in my opinion. I found Seal a little self important, serious and far too dramatic. will.i.am is of course a veteran of the UK version of the The Voice, so he hit the ground running and really knows his way around the show.

Will.I.Am

My opinion of the man was lifted further by the promotional show, Joanna Lumley Meets Will.I.Am, that aired last night after The Voice where Joanna Lumley, most well known as Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, gave us a view on Will’s life.

Obviously this was meant to shed a favourable light on him, but you can not fake all the things that he is involved in. As well as his rapping, singing, song writing and record producing the man is a formidable entrepreneur, involved in all things high tech, and a philanthropist.

It was this entrepreneurial and philanthropic side of his personality that interested me most. We learned that he grew up in one of the poorest parts of Los Angeles, but was sent to a school for gifted students and he endured a daily commute of an hour and half in each direction for the privilege.

But whatever he learnt there has set him up for life. He has a passion for hi-tech gadgets, not just playing with them, but utilising, developing and manufacturing them. He uses his wealth to ensure underprivileged children from a similar background as him get the education that they deserve, which hopefully will enable them to take themselves and their families out of the poverty cycle. He has also made huge contributions to charities in the UK and other countries. I would not be at all surprised if he finds a cause during his stay in Australia and backs it.

On our sister site Oz Sports Reviews we recently discussed the billionaires who spend their wealth on buying themselves football trophies, Will’s method of dealing with his good fortune is much more impressive.

CLICK HERE to Download Music from will.i.am from iTunes

OK hero worship over; let’s discuss the show and the talent we have seen so far in the blind auditions.

We have seen two big voices that come from operatic backgrounds that wooed the audience and the judges.

Jess Berney sang Pie Jesu. She is from a church family and her background story was about coming out as gay to them. She came dressed in the lesbian uniform of very short hair and men’s style baggy clothes. But she sang like an angel and it would be interesting to see what the stylists on the show do with her in future rounds.

Jess joined Ricky Martin’s team

Elly Oh is from South Korea and is a music teacher and professional opera singer. But she belted out Jessie J’s Mamma Knows Best like an old rocker. Ricky Martin snapped her up too.

Two veterans of the now defunct Australian Idol have appeared so far. Hayley Jensen came fourth on Australian Idol in 2004, but she then went to university and took an office job, which goes to prove that shows like this do not open all of the doors that many contestants expect them to.

Hayley joined Kylie Minogue’s team.

Sabrina Batshon made the top 12 on Idol and I remember thinking at the time that she should have gone further. Much was made on Idol of her anxiety problems and the fact that she looks like Fran Fine from The Nanny TV Show. It is sad to hear she still suffers from those anxiety problems, but she has appeared in big musical theatre productions. So hopefully she can defeat those demons and make the most of her opportunities on this show.

Sabrina belted out The Power of Love, stunning all of the judges and she also chose to join Ricky Martin’s team.

Following the success of Steve Clisby and Mitchell Anderson, last years two old guys, a similar battle already looks to be set up. Doug Williams is 63 and known as Pappa D. He was accompanied to his audition by two former Voice contestants, Diane Rouvas and Prinnie Stevens.

Doug has been in the business for years and like Steve Clisby he originally comes from America. He has worked with big names like Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner and James Brown. He performed a great version of Love the One Your With, originally by Steven Stills, but his version owed a little to the Luther Vandross take on it.

Harry Healy is 56 and has been a professional musician for thirty years. His audition was a little more mellow than Doug’s, performing Romeo and Juliet from Dire Straits. But Harry impressed the judges and ended up on Joel’s team with Doug.

The coaches each have between ten and twelve members in their teams now, so the blind auditions will move into the home straight on Sunday.

Have you picked a favourite yet? Let us know in the comments sections below.

By Max Power
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Bob Hoskins A Tribute to a Great British Actor

Bob Hoskins Dies at 71



Bob Hoskins 19420 to 2014

Bob Hoskins 1942 to 2014

I just heard the sad new that the Great British actor Bob Hoskins had passed away. Bob retired from acting in 2012 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He died from of pneumonia at the age of 71 last night in the UK.

Although he had made films and numerous TV appearances before hand, Bob Hoskins first really came to my attention in the 1980 film The Long Good Friday, where he played the East End villain Harold Shand. All of the Londoners that I knew loved the film, for the great story, but mostly for the reality of Hoskins performance.

Bob’s co-star in The Long Good Friday was the fabulous Helen Mirren, who has since won an Oscar and been made a Dame of the British Empire. Bob equally deserved those awards, well maybe not a Dame, but at least a Knight, as, by all accounts, he was a true Gentleman.

Around the time of The Long Good Friday, Bob was also well known, but not seen by many, in Britain, as the leader of a gang of aggressive Weetabix, in an advertising campaign where he used the same gruff voice that made him famous.

Hoskins was nominated for an Oscar in 1987 for his performance as George in Mona Lisa, but lost out to Paul Newman in The Color of Money

He was second choice for the role of “Al Capone” in 1987’s The Untouchables, if Robert De Niro was not available. Hoskins was reportedly given a six-figure pay cheque by the director Brian De Palma for “being a great standby”. This prompted Hoskins to call up De Palma and ask him if there were any more movies he didn’t want him to be in.

In 1988 Bob wrote, directed and starred in The Raggedy Rawney which was based on stories his gypsy grandmother used to tell him.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit - Bob Hoskins

Hollywood and big budget movies followed and Bob’s most famous role internationally must have been as Eddie Valiant, the detective in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. This feature length, half cartoon, half live action film was quite an innovation in 1988.

He continued to be on the Oscar radar in 1990 when he starred in Mermaids alongside Cher, Christina Ricci and Winona Rider, who was nominated for best supporting actress that year.

Hoskins became the guy they called on when a dictator or world leader was needed. He played Nikita Khrushchev in Enemy at the Gates (2001), Winston Churchill in World War II: When Lions Roared (1994), Benito Mussolini in Mussolini and I (1985) and Lavrenti Beria, the head of Joseph Stalin‘s dreaded secret police, in The Inner Circle (1991). He said of the experience “Most dictators were short, fat, middle-aged and hairless. Besides Danny DeVito, there’s only me to play them”.

Although known for his gruff cockney accent, Bob’s American accent was very convincing. One of his chat show stories was of an American on the set of one of his films asking the director “Did you know that guy’s a Limey?”

He was a great favourite on the chat show circuit, as a great raconteur. In an interview, when asked what he owed his parents, he said, “Confidence. My mum used to say to me, ‘If somebody doesn’t like you, fuck ‘em, they’ve got bad taste.’”.

As well as appearing on the Parkinson show himself, he was a great friend of other Parky favourites like Michael Caine and Billy Connolly.

One actress, whose name escapes me, talked about Hoskins in a Parkinson interview. She said while some actors on set are tired, jaded or cool about things, Bob was always like “Yeah! We’re making movies! Great!”

Bob Hoskins split his time between TV, big budget Hollywood films and smaller independent films and excelled in all of them. He will be sadly missed by an adoring public.

Please feel free to add your thoughts and memories of Bob Hoskins in the comments section below.

Rest in Peace Mr Hoskins.

By Max Power
Google

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Death in Paradise

So Much Murder in Tropical Paradise.



Death in Paradise

Death in Paradise series three is currently running on the ABC on Saturday nights in Australia.

The show’s basic concept is a fish out of water British Police Inspector is sent to the Caribbean island of Sainte Marie and appointed as the senior detective on the island. The inspector is up tight, accident prone and strait laced and is completely out of place with the cool, laid back locals.

However he does have a great knack for solving murders, of which there seem to be a great many for such a small community, then revealing the culprit, Agatha Christie style, in a room full of the suspects.

The original Detective Inspector, Richard Poole was played by Ben Miller, star of many British sitcoms and the sketch show The Armstrong and Miller Show, in series one and two. However he was killed off in episode one of season three and became the subject of the first investigation by his replacement DI Humphrey Goodman played by Kris Marshall.

Kris Marshall

Kris Marshall plays DI Humphrey Goodman

Kris Marshall at 41, is also a veteran of British TV starring in series like My Family, Funland and Murder City as well as the huge hit movie Love Actually.

The local Police team is made up of the very attractive DS Camille Bordey, played by Sara Martins. Camille is of French dissent and she and her mother, who appears regularly as a local bar owner, have a sexy French-Carribean accent. Sara was actually born in Portugal, but seems to have been working mainly in French television up until this show.

Sargent Fidel Best is played by Gary Carr and Officer Dwayne Myers, the class clown, is played by Danny John-Jules, previously most well known for playing The Cat in Red Dwarf for 10 Seasons.

Don Warrington, who achieved fame on British Television way back in the mid 1970′s as the incredibly posh Philip in Rising Damp, has the sporadic role of the Police Commissioner Selwyn Patterson.

Death in Paradise is very entertaining combining a whodunnit murder mystery with gentle humour and a will she / won’t she romance between the Detective Inspector and the delectable DS Camille.

Sara Martins

Sara Martins as DS Camille Bordey

In the first two series much of the humour came not only from the fact that Inspector Poole was out of his comfort zone, but also that he was always trying to get back to the UK. Ben Miller actually did go back to the UK, he says, because the rigours of filming so far from home was taking a toll on his family life. He can only be commended for that, as so many actors and other people, put their career first and end up with a broken family.

Inspector Poole never quite saw that Camille was interested in him and missed a great opportunity. His replacement however, seems to have designs on Camille, as his wife failed to show up when she was supposed to join him in the Caribbean.

Death in Paradise is a very pleasant way to spend an hour on Saturday nights, with good stories and a fun cast. Lots of British TV stars have taken advantage of a break in the Caribbean and shown up as the villains and suspects in episodes and the show provides a great opportunity for many British actors of Afro-Caribbean background to get a gig.

Check it out for the murder, the mystery, the humour and the beautiful scenery.

CLICK HERE to Download episodes or entire series of Death in Paradise

By Max Power
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