Author Archives: Chris Stagg

TFI90s 04.01.18

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 04.01.18

Playlist:

Skunk Anansie – Charlie Big Potato

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy

The Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode

The Prodigy – Out Of Space

Jamiroquai – Deeper Underground

R.E.M – Nightswimming

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Summertime

Babylon Zoo – Spaceman

Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song

Faith No More – Epic

Mansun – Wide Open Space

The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Give It Away

Suede – The Beautiful Ones

Soundgarden – Black hole Sun

Seal – Kiss From A Rose

Pulp – Mis-Shapes

Big Mountain – Baby, I Love Your Way

Happy Mondays – Step On

Pearl Jam – Black

Republica – Drop Dead Gorgeous

East 17 – House Of love

The Stone Roses – I Wanna be Adored

David Bowie – The Hearts Filthy Lesson

Space – Avenging Angels


W&S Scares – Alien Escape

Urgh… where to begin?…

Well, first of all, my disappointment has faded a lot since I visited Madame Tussauds last week. And I was toying whether to actually write this post. But while researching what other people thought of this attraction, I became furious again, and felt I just had to put this together. Some caveats. Alien Escape is part of the whole Madame Tussauds experience (which is genuinely excellent). So it is short and it shouldn’t be viewed in isolation. So why are you bothering to write this negative post Chris? I’ll tell you at the end!

Let’s start with a positive. What it does, it does well. You do feel like you could be on an alien ship, it’s believably atmospheric and the hulking Xenomorph was pretty good too. But that’s it.

The experience is far too short. I know its part of a longer day but still, it’s about 2 minutes long. I found the whole thing very dark, so it was difficult to see much of anything. I saw pictures afterwards of a man with a ‘face hugger’ but I didn’t see that in there. They also cram you in with far too many people. I was at the back, and several times I heard screams but I have no idea what they were screaming about, I didn’t experience anything remotely scary. There are no animatronics at all. The ‘face hugger’ (if it was there) should have tightened, the egg pods should have opened and the Xenomorth should have moved.

But I could forgive all of that if it wasn’t for one thing. You have to pay for it. That’s right, it’s not included in the admission price… and it used to be! When it first opened it was free entry! It costs you 5 pounds per person to queue up for a 2 minute no scare experience. Don’t waste your time or your money! Unless Tussauds include it in the admission price again and stop forcing people through in large numbers, then avoid like the plague.

1/10 stars (it’ gets 1 because of the feeling of anticipation I had on entering… nothing came of it!)

Chris

@cw_stagg

 

 


TFI90s Christmas Special 211217

TFI 90s Radio show Christmas Special with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 21.12.17

Playlist:

Cliff Richard – Savour’s Day

Fourplay – It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Tracy Chapman – O Holy Night

The Irish Rovers – Good King Wenceslas

Boyz II Men – Silent Night

Jonny Lang – Santa Clause Is Back In Town

Patti Smith – We Three Kings

Steve Winwood – Christmas Is Now Drawing Near At Hand

Elastica – All For Gloria

Diana Krall – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Sinead O’Connor – Silent Night

Dave Koz – Winter Wonderland

Jon Bon Jovi – Please Come Home For Christmas

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds – Christmas Song

Hootie And The Blowfish – The Christmas Song

Mary J Blige – Christmas In The City

Sheryl Crow – Blue Christmas

The Becker Brothers with Steve Khan – the Christmas Waltz

The Smashing Pumpkins – Christmastime

Natalie Merchant – Children Go Where I Send Thee

Eleven & Chris Cornell – Ave Maria

Cassandra Wilson – The Little Drummer Boy

Joseph Simmons and The Christmas All Stars – Santa Baby

Sting – I Saw Three Ships

John McLaughlin – O Come O Come Emmanuel

No Doubt – Oi To The World

East 17 – Stay Another Day

Herbie Hancock & Eliane Elias – I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Blues Traveler – Christmas


Thriller Live

On Saturday night, I had a very rare night out alone with my wife without our children. And although being parents of young children there is nothing more we would love than just getting some extra sleep, we reluctantly went out instead. Oh boy am I glad we did, because we saw Thriller Live.

Thriller Live has been at the Lyric theatre for so long that it’s signage of Michael in one of his many signature poses, on Shaftsbury avenue has almost become a tourist attraction itself. I have always wanted to see this show, and now I want to see it again. It is quite simply one of the best live experiences I have ever had, and I really can’t fault it.

So what is Thriller Live? That’s what I was thinking right up to the start. I knew obviously it was something to do with the music of Michael Jackson, but was there a story to it? Actually there is, but it’s not a narrative of Michael’s life, it’s the story of his greatness, his impact on the World and just how much he still means to people.

Thriller Live is a celebration of the artistry of Michael Jackson. His incredible voice, his genius creativity, his amazing videos and performances and last but not least his World class dancing. Thriller Live is 2 and half hours of pure Michael Jackson greatness.

I won’t spoil it by giving you a rundown of tracks played, but obviously Thriller is in there and I will say my favourite performance was Smooth Criminal (how on Earth did they do that leaning dance move!?) But there is also some more obscure stuff as well as songs spanning his entire career. My only criticism is Michael’s career was so full that everyone will have their own song where they will say ‘oh they should have played that.’ But it is just impossible to fit it all in.

The staging is fantastic, the dancing is brilliant but the 4 main singers are simply incredible. Each of them had a different quality to their voices that replicated perfectly a certain aspect of Michael’s. They were amazing and I urge all Michael fans, even vague fans of his music…. go and see this show. You will not be dissapointed. Don’t blame me though if you try and moonwalk your way home!… Blame it on the Boogie 😉

5/5 Stars!

Chris

@cw_stagg


My Favourite Christmas Films

Ahhhh tis the season. Smiles on children’s faces, a glow in everyone’s heart… and A LOT of telly! Don’t know how to navigate all of the film choices that will be before you over the festive period? Fear not! Here are my top 5 films that mean Christmas for me.

5 – Elf (2003)

I was pretty late to the Will Ferrell party. I think quite a few years of ‘Elf’ enjoyment passed me by before I got on board with what a funny guy Will Ferrell is. In my defence, a human baby raised by Father Christmas’ elves – who then goes in search of his real parents, didn’t feel to me like my kind of Christmas film (I do like a streak of darkness in most things). But what we have here is a beautiful family film that is already a Christmas Classic. It makes you feel great and Will Ferrell is hilarious. My favourite bit – When Buddy first finds out Father Christmas is visiting the shop he is working in.

ELF

4 – Home Alone (1990)

Kevin McCallister A boy at war with his parents and unappreciative family, is left at home for Christmas, where he can do anything he likes! What could go wrong? Well… plenty. Kevin soon realises that it’s hard being a grown-up, and the World can be a scary place. Whether it’s his creepy next door neighbour, the monster in the basement or hapless burglars Marv and Harry (The Wet Bandits) Kevin has a lot to deal with. Home alone screams Christmas, and what kid doesn’t want to see a boy getting the better of the adults. Best bit – Marv gets a tarantula on the face!

Home

3 – Gremlins (1984)

If you haven’t seen this one, a word of warning. It’s not for kids. Striking a perfect balance between Christmas, comedy and horror, Gremlins is unlike any other festive film offering. In places it is very dark (Kate’s story about her dad and Father Christmas or when Billy’s mum first finds the Gremlins in the house for instance). It is also very Gorey at times, though the Gremlins blood is green so they seem to get away with it. At it’s core though this is a film about family and supporting each other and everyone in the community at Christmas. And despite all of the horror, it actually makes you feel good and remember that Christmas isn’t just about getting the best present. Some presents are better left unopened.  Keep them out of sunlight, don’t get them wet and never feed them after midnight! Favourite part is Gremlin in the Christmas tree.

gremlins

2 – Scrooge (1951)

My absolute favourite adaptation of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. For me Alistair Sim is Scrooge, no one else comes close. This adaptation oozes Victorian Gothic, and if you can, it’s best viewed in its original black and white format. Even though this film isn’t my number one, it is the only one on the list that I must watch every year. It is a tradition for me to watch it late on Christmas Eve when everyone is in bed, preferably ending just after midnight. I have never seen Scrooge done better than this. Best bit – when Scrooge won’t pay for more bread!

scrooge

1 – Scrooged (1988)

My number one Christmas film is Scrooged. Bill Murray at his finest. This is a modern update of the character very loosely based on a Christmas Carol, where Scrooge is replaced by wicked and ruthless TV executive, Frank Cross. Frank is visited by 3 ghosts throughout the course of Christmas Eve, though not just at night, and the Dickens ghosts are push overs compared to these ones. Bill Murray is brilliant in this role, with his very dry humour and deadpan face. This is a Scrooge for today. His journey to redemption is believable, and his treatment of his family is one that unfortunately we all recognise from time to time. Its triumph though outside of the comedy is the ending. Heartfelt and powerful, Bill Murray is teary eyed when he delivers his closing speech when he realises that mankind should have been his business. Best bit… all of it, but Frank Cross vs the Ghost of Christmas present.

scrooged

Merry Christmas all!

Chris

@cw_stagg


TFI90s 14.12.17

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 14.12.17

Playlist:

East 17 – House of Love

Alanis Morissette – Thank U

Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence

Black Grape – In The Name Of The Father

Embrace – Come Back To What You Know

The Stone Roses – I Wanna be Adored

Cast – Sandstorm

Blue – Stereotypes

Blur – Girls & Boys

Blur – There’s No Other Way

Faithless – Insomnia

Bran Van 3000 – Drinking In LA

Metallica – Enter Sandman

Deacon Blue – Queen Of The New Year

Happy Mondays – Step On

Wonder Stuff – The Size Of A Cow

Aswad – Shine

EMF – Unbelievable

R.E.M – Nighswimming

Ugly Kid Joe – Everything About You

Babylon Zoo – Spaceman

Air – Kelly Watch The Stars

The Beloved – Sweet Harmony

Primal Scream – Loaded

The Prodigy – No Good (Start The Dance)

Sneaker Pimps – Spin Spin Sugar

Big Mountain – Baby I Love Your Way

EEls – Novocaine For the Soul


W&S Scares – Rise of The Demon

The last time I went to Thorpe Park, I did so explicitly for one thing… to ride on Derren Brown’s re-imagining of the classic ghost train in, Rise of The Demon.

I have been a fan of Derren’s work for some years, and though I think he has had some hits and misses, I have largely been very impressed with what he can do, and I am pleased to see he is branching out, using his techniques in other ways.

derren 3

Rise of The Demon is Thorpe Park’s ghost train, but with the obvious connections with Brown, it’s fair to say it is nothing like you expect. A word of warning from the outset, I think you will either love this ride or hate it. There is no in between with this one.

I’m not going to give anything away, as you really have to experience it first hand. This is the second version as feedback from the first run was ‘make it scarier.’ I never experienced the first version, so can’t say if it worked, but I did find it very scary to a point.

All of the action takes place either walking around a subterranean platform, outside the train or on the train itself. The main thing here (which I don’t think gives anything away as most people know this) is that on the train you use virtual reality headsets to experience most of the ride.

derren2

This is where Brown’s ghost train triumphs. He has really pulled out the stops to give as an immersive experience as possible. The live actors are believable in their parts and convince you as to your location at the time. The VR is slightly different for everyone, so in theory you would not get exactly the same ride. How many variations there are though, I don’t know. You really have to appreciate the sheer ambition of what has tried to be created here. Unfortunately it doesn’t work – and the biggest mistake is unacceptable.

The story is quite confused. It has a basic premise, but it doesn’t seem to follow. Also i’m not sure why the time period jumps other than to shoe horn in a period that doesn’t fit the rest of the story, because Derren has an obvious fascination with it. The biggest gripe though is the technology. The VR headsets failed time and time again. It’s just not good enough and doesn’t do justice to the ride. I went on twice and there were at least a quarter of the headsets out of action. You use the VR sets twice each ride, so I used them 4 times, and every time (including myself) people complained of no video,  no audio or the screen freezing. That simply is not good enough and I can’t imagine what Thorpe Park’s excuse for this is.

derren 4

But… when it did work, it was amazing. I loved the VR experience, it was really convincing, and the way they worked it into the story to justify the equipment was excellent. They ramped up the scares nicely between the VR and live action with a huge one at the end. I absolute loved this ride and would highly recommend if you get a working headset. However, the inferior equipment really lets it down…and for a ride that has been open for quite some time, there is really no justification for using inferior equipment.

Unfortunately, purely for the equipment issues I can only give it 5/10 stars… but who knows, if you are lucky and get a fault free experience, then this ride is something very special.

Chris

@CW_Stagg


TFI90s 07.12.17

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 07.12.17

Playlist:

Seal – Kiss From A rose

Baby D – Let Me Be Your Fantasy

Jamiroquai – Deeper Underground

Crash test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

Various Artists – Perfect Day

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy

Suede – She’s In Fashion

Suede – Animal Nitrate

Suede – Electricity

Corona – Rhythm Of The Night

Eternal – I wanna be The Only one

Mansun – Wide Open Space

White Town – Your Girl

Haddaway – What Is Love

The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

Pulp – Something Changed

Tom Petty – Learning to Fly

Queen – I’m Going Slightly Mad

Moby – Porcelain

The Stone Roses – Fools Gold

The Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection

The Stone Roses – I Wanna Be Adored

Sixpence None The Richer – Kiss Me

Shed Seven – Getting Better

Garbage – Stupid Girl

The Connells – ’74-’75


Beauty & The Beast Review

It’s panto season! Oh no it isn’t… Oh yes it is… Oh no, well you get the idea!

This week I took my daughter to the wonderful Queens theatre Hornchurch for a sell out (the theatre was PACKED) night for this years pantomime, Beauty & The Beast. This will be the third year running that I have had the pleasure of reviewing their annual pantomime and I think Beauty & The Beast may just be the best yet.

L-R Oliver Beamish, Daniella Piper, James Lawrence, Molly-Grace Cutler & Young Company Beauty and the Beast Queen's Theatre Hornchurch Photo Credit Mark Sepple

The set design was very clever and even before the performance started the scene was set. A forest is made out of the pages from a book and a spotlit rose bush takes centre stage as we wait for it to begin.

There are no surprises here, evil witch, beauty falls in love with the beast but must leave him and return home to her sick father, before all reunite at the end for a happily ever after. But it doesn’t need surprises. What it needs is slick production, brilliant vocals and hilarious comedy – and this production of Beauty & The Beast has all 3!

Sarah Mahony as Spite - Beauty and the Beast - Queen's Theatre Hornchurc. Photo credit Mark Sepple

The support comedy cast of Souffle, Nanny Bon Bon, Cupid (and Super goat) were very good… and there were plenty of more adult jokes to keep the parents entertained the the children would definitive not understand.

The musicians and all the vocalists were brilliant, but the stand out star for me though was Daniella Piper who plays ‘Beauty’ Amorette. Her vocals were stunning, and if I had one criticism, it would be that I could have listened to much m ore of her solo work. But that is minor gripe in a  very good production.

L-R Oliver Beamish & William Brand - Beauty and the Beast - Queen's Theatre Hornchurch. Photo credit Mark Sepple

Go and have a lovely festive evening out at the Queens Theatre. But don’t take my word for it, take the word of my 6 year old:

“My favourite bit was ‘don’t dip your fingers in the cream.’ I also loved Super Goat!”

4/5 stars

Chris


TFI90s 30.11.17

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 30.11.17

Playlist:

Spin Doctors – Two Princes

Charles & Eddie – Would I Lie to You?

Neil Young – Harvest Moon

Prince – Diamonds And Pearls

Tom Waits – Take It With Me

Sheryl Crow – Tomorrow Never Dies

Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy

Guns N’ Roses – Live And Let Die

David Bowie – The Hearts Filthy Lesson

Annie Lennox – Walking on Broken Glass

Missing – Everything but The Girl

Roxette – Joyride

East 17 – Stay Another Day

Space – Avenging Angels

Alice Cooper – Under My Wheels

The LA’s – There She Goes

Metallica – Nothing Else Matters

Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start The Fire

Skunk Anansie – Brazen (Weep) Live & Acoustic

Michael Jackson – Stranger in Moscow

Massive Attack – Unfinished Symphany

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Higher Ground

Paul Weller – You Do Something To Me

Beats International – Dub be Good To Me

Ian Brown – F.E.A.R

Portishead – Glory Box

Republica – Drop Dead Gorgeous