Author Archives: Chris Stagg

About Chris Stagg

I joined the Phoenix FM team in September 2014 - I believe I definitely have a face for radio! You can hear me every week on my 90s radio show, TFI90s, between 6pm and 8pm on Thursdays. I also have an occasional podcast "Words & Sound" on the Phoenix FM website. I'm a freelance writer and illustrator; I enjoy writing fiction and I'm a great lover of comedy and darker elements of the craft. I live in Essex and also enjoy watching cartoons, wrestling, horror films and reading comics.

Braun Strowman Tag Partner Predictions

In a few weeks at Wrestlemania, Braun Strowman will reveal who his mystery tag team partner is. There is much speculation as to who it may be, it could literally be anyone on or off the Raw roster. Could we see someone new, or perhaps a returning superstar? Those theories are coming up in the next post. So for now, here are my 5 picks for possible tag partners for Braun Strowman, from the current Raw roster.

The Big Show. The Big Show is retiring this year, and if you are to believe him, he is done as of now. However, the Big Show has been on our WWE screens since the late 90s, is he really going to retire quietly with no last hurra? Maybe. or maybe he will have one more Wrestlemania match by partnering with the Monster Among Men. I would love to see this, however there is a tradition of retiring on a loss, so that would mean a win for The Barr. Perhaps then, Show could intentionally lose, setting up a final feud with Strowman.

Kane. Kane made an appearance on Raw last week confronting John Cena. We have not seen much of him lately and I just wonder if his appearance last week is putting him in the frame for something more. This one may be quite unlikely, but tell me you wouldn’t want to see The Big Read Machine team up with The Monster Among Men. The trouble with this pairing (as he has with most of this list) is that Strowman was feuding with Kane. Never say never though in the World of WWE.

Bray Wyatt. Here we go. These last 3 are a lot more plausible. Bray Wyatt vanished into the lake of reincarnation at the end of The Ultimate Deletion. Broken, sorry, Woken Matt Hardy then declared The Great War to be over. Rumours are circulating that Wyatt is going to be repackaged… Everyone has assumed that means a new character, however what if it were a scaled back version of the current character. more submissive and looking to re-join his family. Story wise it would make a lot of sense and would be the make or break for Wyatt. But for Strowman, I’m not so sure it would be a good thing.

Samoa Joe. Another one from The Rumour Mill. Samoa Joe is not due to return from injury just yet. However the rumours are he has made great progress to the point of a possible early return. Wrestlemania is where magic  happens, and what a great platform for him to make his comeback. Strowman and Joe would be an amazing tag team. The technique and brutality of Joe. The strength and brutality of Strowman… It would be… brutal!

Elias. The last on my list, and actually the most likely, is Elias. I love Elias. I think he is a great in ring worker, a brilliant character and he’s excellent on the mic. He has been slowly moving up the card too. Now you may say, that’s crazy talk! The last we saw of Elias, he was being destroyed by Strowman. True, but, didn’t it seem odd that the feud just ended? It was very strange and I for one expected their feud to culminate at Wrestlemania. And maybe it still will? Elias turns up as the tag team partner, except he turns on Strowman and the three of them defeat The Monster Among Men. I know you can already see this happening!

Tell me what you think, get in touch on Twitter @cw_stagg and as always, thanks for reading.

Chris

 


Times Fool – Alys Earl Interview

Today on the Words & Sound blog post I am pleased to interview, writer, poet, theatrical sword wielding traveller (have a look at their twitter bio), and I am honoured to say friend; Alys Earl. I caught up with Alys recently to discuss their latest novel; Time’s Fool.

[CS] Hi Alys, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. So first things first, tell about Time’s fool.

[AE] Time’s Fool is a contemporary supernatural Gothic. That means it’s set in the recent past – specifically, the winter of 2006-7 – and is an atmospheric, slow burn kind of horror, which features supernatural elements, in this case, vampires. It’s about two bright students who befriend a mysterious stranger, while, around them a series of increasingly brutal murders take place in the city around them. And it’s about what happens when the stuff that we try to conceal starts to come out in to the light.

[CS] I am hooked already! Is it a stand alone or could you see more being done with these characters? You must get quite attached sharing a mind with them?

[AE] I am quite attached to all three of them, but as the story is a kind of coming of age to some extent, there is a huge difference between being attached to a character at the beginning of the novel, and to the same character at the end of it. The problem with being a writer is that you can’t be your characters’ friend, because otherwise there would never be a story.

As to sequels, it was always intended to be a standalone tale, although I will admit to having planned a short sequel involving one of the main characters and their life some time after the events of the novel – but to go into too much detail would be very heavy with spoilers. There is also a prequel, Some Chequered Affection which deals with an episode from Julian’s past and is available to read for free on the Unbound site, and can be bought for £5 in a limited edition chapbook – funds going towards Time’s Fool.

[CS] This may be a silly question, but who is Time’s Fool aimed at?

[AE] Obviously it’s aimed at an adult audience – it’s a little bit sexy, maybe a bit edgy and, it’s quite disturbing in places. But it isn’t gory horror, really, it’s for people who like your mist and manners kind of story – things like Sheridan le Fanu, Bram Stoker, M R James – but with a bit of a modern edge.

[CS] Names I know very well. I’m going to put you on the spot – who is your favourite?

[AE] It’s got to M R James. His were the first traditional ghost stories I got in to and he’s a huge influence on me and my work. But, also, he was just a master of the form. I’ve read his collected stories dozens of times, but if I’m in the house alone at night, they still have me jumping at shadows.

[CS] You are publishing through Unbound. How does the process work?

[AE] So, the Unbound process starts when you pitch to them, just as you would with any other publisher, and if they like what you’ve written, they help you set up your campaign and video on their site. After that, it runs like a crowdfunding campaign, raising the production costs through pre-orders and people pledging for extras. Everyone who supports it get their name printed in the back of every edition of the book as a sort of thank you, and I’ve done a lot of giveaways, rewards and silly videos to get interest from people who might support it. Then, when it’s fully funded, it goes in to production.

[CS] What happens once the book is fully funded, will we be able to buy Times Fool in the shops?

[AE] YES! Once it’s funded, Time’s Fool goes through a editorial process, we get the cover design and ultimately it is printed. At that point, everyone who supported the campaign gets their copy, but it also become commercially available – like any other book.

[CS] What advice would you give first time authors?

[AE] Just keep going, really. Whatever stage you’re at, just keep working at it – it worth it. So, write that novel, hone your craft, submit to that competition. Writing is a really long learning curve and we all started in a very similar place. Every novel starts as a blank page that seems to be judging you. Every publishing contract was preceded by goodness knows how many rejections.

The other, most important thing I’d say, is to find your voice. I wouldn’t say ignore all writing advice, but not all of it will be relevant to what you’re trying to do, or the kind of story you want to tell – and that may change, but its not worth losing that. It’s why you’re writing in the first place, isn’t it?

[CS] That is really great advice! How did you get into writing?

[AE] I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t writing, and it wasn’t my grand plan. I’ve always written stories, poems, novels. But I was really fortunate to live in place with a vibrant arts scene when I was a teenager, so I cut my teeth as a performance poet, really – it gave me a lot of confidence in the power of words, and has paid in to my storytelling and reading style. After that, I went to the UEA (University of East Anglia) and studied creative writing along with literature, and that’s when I moved in to prose more seriously.

[CS] UEA is quite prestigious in terms of creative writing isn’t it? Did you enjoy your time there?

[AE] I really did! It was an incredible experience and I think to an extent, it made me as a writer. In some ways, it is quite an insular place, and there is definitely a writing culture there which perhaps not one in to which I fit easily, but it was really good to be taken out of my comfort zone and pushed to improve myself. I’m a much better editor of my own work since then – and, also, it was great fun being around other writers in a similar place to me.

[CS] What does a normal day for Alys look like?

[AE] Far too much of it goes in to housework and a lot of childcare! I write articles and stuff from home, so normally once I’ve got the kids to school and tidied down a bit, I’ll try to get my admin, crowdfunding and blog posts out of the way, so that – hopefully – I can move on to some original writing, whether that’s articles, or fiction. Fiction is my favourite, of course. Some days, I admit, I skip the grown-up stuff and plunge straight in to a story. I try to get about 2000 words done of whatever I’m working on before I have to pick the kids up from school.

[CS] Where do you write?

[AE] At a desk in the spare room, which I grandiosely call ‘my study’. I can write elsewhere, and often do, but the discipline of sitting down at a desk and getting on with it helps.

[CS] What kind of books do you like to read? Do you have any favourite authors?

[AE] I read very widely and eclectically. I love horror, obviously, as well as mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, historical – whatever there is, really. If it’s well written and the characters are engaging, I’m really not fussy – if it’s creepy or unsettling that is bonus. I especially love things centred around folklore, and unconventional people and relationships. My favourite trope at the moment is what I call ‘found families in space’ which is basically where a bunch misfits and damaged individuals come to rely on and look after each other against a background of space opera and intergalactic politics. Becky Chambers – who is one of my favourite writers is amazing at this. But I am also very much about the dark and the morally challenging – so gothic writers like Angela Carter and Poppy Z Brite are huge favourites.

[CS] What do you do beyond writing?

[AE] Does storytelling count? On a small scale, I’m a folklorist and medievalist – and I occasionally do talks on that side of things. I practice a martial art – Kuk Sool Won – which a Korean discipline that combines both hard and soft forms, and I’m currently working towards my black belt in that. I’m also a bit of a tree-hugger, which surprises people sometimes who only know me through my fiction, so I have an allotment and home-brew country wines – which is a very rewarding hobby…

[CS] Thank you very much Alys. Last question… Where can people find you and find out more. Are people able to contact you if they want to say hi?

[AE] If you want to say hi, the best place is always Twitter, where I am @alysdragon. But if that’s not your thing, I also have a Facebook page as AlysEarl1. I also have a website, www.alys-earl.com, which has links to my blogs as well as more general information, and obviously, on the Unbound site www.unbound.com/books/times-fool, where I run a blog about the crowdfunding campaign.

Chris

@cw_stagg


The 90s Vault – Mule Variations

Regular listeners of mine will probably know who my favourite musician is, though my opportunities to play him on TFI90s are rare. But there is one album of his that is from the best decade known to man, and it just so happens to be one of his best. In this installment of ‘From The 90s Vault’, we look at Tom Waits’ 1999 masterpiece; ‘Mule Variations.’

You may well have never heard of Tom Waits. He is rarely if ever in the contemporary charts. He very rarely tours, and even rarer that he would play live in the UK. Appearances and interviews are strictly kept to album releases, which in themselves can have many years between them – especially in these later years. He has also released few music videos. But Tom Waits remains one of the most original, creative and eccentric genius’ in the world of music today.

Mule Variations marks a change in sound for Waits. He has moved away from his more traditional Jazz and Beatnik sounds, to something much more experimental. It’s a sound that was developed through Bone Machine and The Black Rider and perfected here. A sound that is difficult to categorise, save perhaps for ‘experimental folk rock industrial jazz ballads!’

Every track on this album is astonishing. Opening with the bizarre Big in Japan, a track sung into a police horn, with a version of Waits’ voice that sounds like it has been soaked in whisky for a month – Waits preaches to us that “He’s got the rooster, got the crow, got the ebb, got the flow…” and sets the precedent for the rest of the album, that is constantly smashing expectations.

Mule Variations then takes us through 14 tracks, each moving to a different realm of Waits’ musicality to the last, before ending on track 16’s ‘Come On Up To The House.’ A rousing and raucous Waits, booms to us to ‘to come on up to the house’ and we feel like, that at the end of the twisting and exciting, sometimes heart breaking journey that is Mule Variations, Waits has become our friend beyond tour guide through the dark and the strange of his landscape, and he now beckons us to his home to relax and feel safe in its warm glow.

The 14 songs between beginning and end, are all fantastic in their own way and it’s difficult to pick highlights. My highlights will not be yours, but for what it’s worth I point you to these; ‘Eye Ball Kid’ is a strange circus tale of a boy who is nothing more than a single eye ball looking for stardom. ‘Chocolate Jesus’ preaches to us that salvation can come in the form of an immaculate confection and sounds as though it was recorded in Waits’ own bathroom. ‘The House Where Nobody Lives’ is a stripped-back minor blues, where Waits cackles, almost slurring his words about the importance of a loving home. ‘Take It With Me’ is a beautiful piano ballad, where waits dedicates with a delicate and strangely vulnerable voice, to or perhaps for, his beloved.

The one track however, that I think is something extra special is ‘Whats He Building?’ I first heard this track in my dads car when I was around 17 years old. It was the first Waits track I had ever heard and I was completely mesmerised. I had never heard anything like it before. His voice alone captivated me, in this creepy spoken word study of suburban paranoia. Ladened with sound effect, strange instruments and television static, Waits obsesses over the activities of his suspicious neighbour. Waits questions just how much do we know about our neighbours, with suggestions ever more wild as he continually asks himself ‘Whats He Building In There!?’ We are left feeling at the end of this haunting piece, that perhaps it’s Waits who is the oddity after all.

Much like the musician himself, ‘Mule Variations’ is a work of genius that must be experienced. I have no negative comments about this album at all and quite simply it’s one of the greatest ever made. Go and find it and have your understanding of music turned upside down and taken to new exciting levels.

10/10 stars

Chris

@cw_stagg


Things to do before leaving The Great Plateau

Breath of the Wild is incredible. Hours of game play that has broken the mold and expectations of what a Zelda game is, while setting a new benchmark in open world experience for other games to try and achieve. I have been playing for many hours now and have purposely restarted the game on the Great Plateau 3 times. I have come too far to do it again, but I do sometimes consider it! The World of Hyrule is vast and dangerous, and there are several things you should do before venturing out into the wild. Here then are 5 things you must do before leaving the Great Plateau.

Let’s wind back a little, what is the Great Plateau? Well, essential it is the tutorial area. As tutorial areas go it is huge. The Temple of Time is there. Arguably the remains of Ocarina of Times Castle Town are there. There are a selection of different enemies for you to cut your teeth against. There are mountains, fields and ruins. There are ponds and lakes. Forests, snow capped peaks and shrines. In this tutorial area you are relatively safe, but you will be astounded at how much you can do here. You can probably whiz through the great plateau in under an hour… however I recommend spending a bit longer there. Rush through and you will be unprepared for the feeling of vulnerability when you first para glide down to the wider Hyrule. I highly recommend you do these things first. By the way I will leave some things for you to figure out but there will be… SPOILERS:

Defeat the mini boss. Tucked away in the forest just below the Shrine of Resurrection, lies Stone Talos. He is a great boss to tangle with to fight something a bit more dangerous. And make no mistake he is dangerous. Erupting out of the ground he is a giant rock monster. However defeat him and you are rewarded with all sorts of precious stones. Why take him on? Practice and for the stones. This is not like other Zelda games. You are unlikely to slash grass and find much in the way of currency. Instead you have to sell what you find and precious stones will fetch you a great price. I recommend taking on Stone Talos after you have completed the 4 shrines. One of the items you find in one of them, will make this fight much easier.

Get the warm doublet. Poor link isn’t very well kitted out at the beginning of Breath of the Wild. Don’t worry thought the array of outfits he gets throughout the game would bring tears of joy to Zoolander. There is one very special item you should get early on and that is the warm doublet. Link can’t withstand the cold (or heat) in this game. To get through freezing areas you have to eat something that gives you cold protection or hold a flame or wear warm clothing. Enter the warm doublet. there are 3 ways to get this on the great plateau. Climb to the top of mount Hylia and the Old Man will give it to you (make sure you have plenty of cold resistant food as it is a long climb). Or complete the Keh Nanut shrine and it will be waiting for you in the Old Man’s cabin. Both of those ways require some other cold protection method. Instead there is a third option. Read the diary in the OId Man’s cabin. He will talk of a special dish he longs to remember. Figure out the ingredients (its not difficult) then cook it up and find him in the forest at night. Give him the food and the clothing is yours.

Practice with the bow. It doesn’t take long before you realise being good with the bow is essential in Breath of the Wild, more so than any other Zelda game. Practice, practice and practice some more. Practice long range attacks on enemies. Practice precision in cutting ropes with the arrows. Practice sneak attack head shots on wildlife. Once you are confident with all of that, try your bow in combat. Try a jump attack and bring your bow out and watch time slow for that perfect head shot.

Pray. I don’t want to give too much away here but once you have completed the 4 shrines, find the Goddess statue on the great plateau. Think back to other games and you will know where it is. Whenever you collect 4 spirit orbs from shrines, praying to a Goddess Statue will allow you to increase your heart container or increase your stamina. It is important to note that you can’t find heart containers in breath of the wild, so if you needed an incentive to complete the shrines, well there it is! You are not going to defeat Ganon with only 3 hearts!

Practice weapon and rune switching. You do not have to go the the inventory to equip your shields, bows or weapons in Breath of the Wild. Using the d-pad buttons you can cycle through them as well as the rune power’s (which are obviously awesome). It is really good practice to be able to to switch around without looking. In fact practice with all the buttons… I have lost count how many times I have tried to get my bow out and I have thrown my prized sword into a river! Not that many… but it could happen!

Once you have done all of those things you are ready to venture off into the big wide World. The question is which way will you go!?…

Chris

@cw_stagg

 


TFI90s 220218

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 22.02.18

Playlist:

East 17 – House Of Love

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy

Apache Indian – Boom Shack-A-Lak

Kingmaker – Ten Years Asleep

REM – Shiny Happy people

Cast – Walkaway

Seal – Crazy

The Charlatans – Then

The Stone Roses – I Wanna be Adored

Snap! – Rhythm Is A Dancer

Nirvana – Smells like teen Spirit

Ocean Colour Scene – 100 Mile High City

Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity

Skunk Anansie – Charlie Big Potato

Pulp Mis-Shapes

Mcalmont And Butler – Yes

Prince – Cream

Red Hot Chili peppers – Give It Away

The Verve – the Drugs Don’t Work

Big Mountain – Baby, I Love Your Way

Suede – The Beutiful Ones

Shakespear’s Sister – Stay

Tori Amos – Professional Widow

Everything but the Girl – Missing

Babylon Zoo – Spaceman

The Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode

The Prodigy – No Good (Start the Dance)


W&S Scares – The London Dungeon

I have been to The London Dungeon twice in the last year. Earlier in the year it was terrible, last week it was excellent! This review is going to be based on last Saturday. When I went earlier last year it was at a peak time over the summer. it was incredibly crowded, the queues were ridiculous and the actors were not exactly enthusiastic. When I wen’t last week it was much quieter and much better. So a word of warning, plan your visit for a less busy time if you can!

The London Dungeon takes you on essentially a history tour of London’s darker side. Think a little more grown up than Horrible Histories. There is nothing in here that will really scare you. It was entertaining, interesting and had a very dark and authentic feel. It made you feel like you were moving through the sludge of London’s dark past. I would not recommend this attraction for anyone younger than 8 and even then I think it depends on the child. 12 up is probably a safe bet.

As you go through the dungeon you are taking through many different rooms each focusing on a different point in history. Each room has an actor in to tell the tale and explain the story behind the room you are in. My favourites were The Plague Doctor, Seance and Jack The Ripper Spoiler alert here are the different rooms and rides:

The Descent

The Tyrant Boat Ride

The City Gates

Gunpowder Plot

Torture Chamber

The Plague Doctor

The Great Fire of London

Seance

Mrs Lovetts Pie Shop

Sweeny Todd

Mitre Square

Whitechapel Labyrinth

Jack The Ripper

The Court Room

A Great escape

Drop Dead Ride

The Tavern

The rooms are all really enjoyable, but it depends which actor you get on the day as to which you will prefer. When I went through all of the actors were really good and convincing. Once of my favourite rooms was Seance a brand new room for this half term, which hopefully they could keep as a permanent fixture. they are still trialing it at the moment, but what they have done so far is very good.

Of course we cannot forget the Tavern at the end where you can sit and rest in a Victorian theme bar and rink your ale. much needed after the preceding 90 minutes on foot.

The London Dungeon is a great way to spend a couple of hours on the Southbank, but been warned, it’s not for smaller children and stay away at peak times!

7/10 stars

Chris

@cw_stagg


Review Rope Queens Theatre

This week I was lucky enough to see Rope at the Queens Theatre Hornchurch. I have always enjoyed the Hitchcock film based on the play by Patrick Hamilton, but I have never seen a theatre production of it before. I had high hopes for this one and was not disappointed.

Rope tells the story of two 1920’s upper-middle class friends; Wyndham Brandon and Charles Granillo, who murder an acquaintance for no other reason than to see if they can get away with it. So confident are they in their criminal intelligence, that they invite an assortment of friends over, including the deceased’s mother, for an evening party, all the while having his body hidden in the middle of the room.

The entire play is set in the living room of a high end London flat. The set design and lighting are worthy of particular applaud here. For the first 10 minutes at least the lightening is very low lit by candle and cigarette light, before almost unnoticeable, it increases in luminosity until you realise that you can see a little more. The brilliant lighting also contributes heavily to the illusion of other rooms, with the sound design and lighting hinting at the activities in the realms beyond what we could see. At times I pined to be able to catch a glimpse of the dancing around the grammar phone in the imaginary room next door.

The cast were contradictory and brilliant. Fred Lancaster and Phoebe Sparrow, were wonderfully annoying as the young, naive and energetic society darlings; Kenneth Raglan and Leila Arden. Nico Pimpare as Sabot was not on stage nearly enough for my liking. The stars of the show however were George Kemp, whose egotistical, brash and ice cold portrayal of Wyndham Brandon was excellent, as was James Sutton’s much more subtle portrayal of Charles Granillo, who was fascinating to watch as his guilt and anxiety took him over. The run away star for me though, was Sam Jenkins-Shaw as Rupert Cadell. At the beginning of the play I had no idea how integral to the story he would become. His portrayal was a masterclass in character development, timing and delivery. We see him progress from intellectual, sneering and bitter war veteran, to voice of reason and suspicion before culminating in a desperate longing for the first time in his life to be wrong. Simply outstanding.

Do not miss this production of Rope it comes highly recommended from me. Go for the achingly tense pauses, the atmospheric lighting, the superb acting and the funny and emotive story, where by the end of the show you will question just who you are rooting for.

4/5 Stars

Chris

@cw_stagg

All photos used with permission of The Queens Theatre Hornchurch credit Mark Sepple.

Rope is running at the Queens Theatre until the 3rd March

Rope


Coco Review

Coco is the latest offering from Pixar Animation Studios, a company who rarely put a foot wrong with the quality of their output (except maybe Cars 2… meh!) Coco follows the story of 12 year old Miguel, as he desperately shuns his family’s show making business, in the hope of following his dreams of becoming a musician. His adventures see him cross over to the land of the dead, where he can only get home once he has his families blessing to do so. But not content with going back to a life of shoes, Miguel seeks out the one relative he knows can help him.

As you would expect, Coco is visually spectacular, but because of the Mexican influences their is a particular riot of colour in this film, which at times is breathtaking. One of the best features of the film though is it’s music. These are not Disney sing a long songs, rather they are genuinely good tracks. That’s not to say i don’t enjoy listening to Prince Ali, or In Summer, but here the music is that which you could expect to hear in a square in mexico being played by a Mariachi band. the song “Remember Me” is particularly poignant.

Where Coco really triumphs though is in it’s grown up themes. Much like in the vein of Up or Wall-E, Coco deals with family and death beautifully and in a way children can understand. It is touching and very carefully done, and I defy you to get to the end with a dry eye. I became more than a little teary in the lats 10 minutes or so!

There is nothing I can criticise Coco for. I think it was just the right length and had the perfect balance of characters and story. It’s one I would love to watch again and on a first viewing it has made it into my Pixar top 5 with ease. With time and further digestion I suspect it will move further up the ranks. Coco learns from some of the minor mistakes of UP to create a beautifully engaging world, that teaches children the value of family.

4 1/2 / 5 Stars

Chris

@cw_stagg


TFI90s 150218

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 15.02.18

Playlist:

David Bowie – The Hearts Filthy Lesson

Primal Scream – Loaded

Beautiful South – Perfect 10

Simply Red – Fairground

Texas – Black Eyed Boy

Beck – The New Pollution

Aerosmith – Pink

Massive Attack – Teardrop

The Prodigy – Firestarter

Eels – Susan’s House

Tom Jones & The Cardigans – Burning Down The House

Embrace -Come Back To What You Know

Garbage – Stupid Girl

Stereophonics – A Thousand trees

Pulp – Common people

Portishead – Glory Box

Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus

INXS – Suicide Blonde

Travis – Writing To Reach You

Semisonic – Secret Smile

George Michael – Freedom

Terrorvision – Tequila

Blink 182 – All The Small Things

Smashmouth – All Star

Alanis Morissette – Thank U

ATB – 9pm 9Till I Come)

Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Theme from Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Mike Flowers Pops – Wonderwall

Jamiroquai – Deeper underground


Queens Theatre Spring Season

Casting has been announced for the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich production of Patrick Hamilton’s gripping thriller, Rope.

James Sutton, who is best-known for playing John Paul McQueen in Hollyoaks and Ryan Lamb in Emmerdale, has been cast as Charles Granillo in this chilling play. He will be joined by Janet Amsden, Cara Chase, Sam Jenkins-Shaw, George Kemp, Fred Lancaster, Nico Pimparé and Phoebe Sparrow.

Rope runs in Hornchurch from 15 February – 3 March and from 7 – 17 March at New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich.

First presented by The Repertory Players at the Strand Theatre, London on 3 March 1929 and based on a 1920’s real-life case, this dark classic was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1948 and remains to this day one of the most tightly coiled of thrillers. It will be directed by the Queen’s Theatre’s Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul, who directed James Sutton in As You Like It at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is also delighted to announce that due to phenomenal demand, it is extending its run of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert by a week. This regional professional premiere of the glamorously feel-good musical by Stephan Elliot and Allan Scott will now play at the Queen’s Theatre from 27 April – 26 May. Booking for these additional dates is now on sale.

The Theatre’s spring season also includes the deeply moving and timely modern classic, Kindertransport by Diane Samuels. This heart-warming play is co-produced by the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg in association with Selladoor Productions (the producers of last year’s acclaimed revival of The Crucible). This production marks the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport, which saw thousands of Jewish children ferried from Austria and Germany to safety in the UK, and 25 years since the play was written. It runs in Hornchurch from 8 – 24 March, at Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg from 27 – 31 March and then tours across the UK to New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich (17 – 21 April), Richmond Theatre (24 – 28 April) and Manchester Opera House (1 – 5 May).

For more information about the forthcoming season at the Queen’s Theatre visit queens-theatre.co.uk


TFI90s 080218

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 08.02.18

Playlist:

Everything But The Girl – Missing

Haddaway – What Is Love?

Britney Spears – Baby One More Time

Wonder Stuff – Welcome To the Cheap Seats

Sheryl Crow – Sweet Child O’Mine

Placebo – Pure Morning

Depth Charge – Shaolin Buddha Finger

Run Dmc vs Jason Nevins – It’s Like That

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Michael Jackson – Remember The Time

Depeche Mode – personal Jesus

Len Steal My Sunshine

INXS – Suicide Blonde

Prince – Get Off

Blue – Beetlebum

White Town – Your Woman

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

MN8 – I’ve Got A Little Something For Ya

Tom Jones – Sex Bomb

East 17 – Someone To Love

Reef – Place Your Hands

Kriss Kross – Jump

Air – Sexy Boy

Olive – You’re Not Alone

Tori Amos – Professional Widow

Peter Andre – Mysterious Girl

Green Jelly – Three Little Pigs


5 things you didn’t know about The Undertaker

With a near 30 year WWE career, there are all sorts of stories and facts flying around about the greatest of all time, The Undertaker. And you know them all right? We’ll see!… Here are 5 things you didn’t know about The Undertaker (probably).

5. The Undertaker comes from a wrestling family. To the Undertaker, kayfabe is king. ‘Taker never breaks character, and he is very quiet on matters of his family. However 3 of his cousins are also successful wrestlers. Brian Lee and Don & Ron Harris were at the tail end of the 90s, in a biker themed gang in WWE of all places, called The Disciples of Apocalypse. Check out the family resemblance…

4. Brian Lee was Fake Undertaker. Remember when ‘Taker had that feud with the other Undertaker? Ever wonder why they looked so alike? I mean there were times when it was really difficult to tell them apart. That’s because ‘Takers cousin Brian Lee was fake Undertaker. Ok it wasn’t the greatest story line in his career, but I did Love seeing them face to face. Now… which one’s which…?

3. The Undertaker was a biker in 1999. 2000 The Undertaker made a glorious come back at Judgement Day, after a year out with injury. But this was a different ‘Taker. Gone were the black hair and make up. Instead this was a biker coming in to Kid Rock’s music. Did you know though that this transition started in 1999? After the Ministry of Darkness came to an end, The Undertaker started wearing baseball caps, sunglasses and bandannas!

2. His name is Kane. Well since, his ‘brother’ Kane joined the WWE, then obviously that part of the story is quietly brushed aside. But when he first debuted, The Undertaker was actually introduced as Kane The Undertaker. I’m glad it was dropped!

1. The Undertaker is a ‘Paul Hayman Guy.’ Now technically this isn’t The Undertaker, this is the man behind the mask, Mark Calaway. But the genius and sometimes anti-WWE Paul Hayman, actually managed him in his early career as Mean Mark Callous. It is no wonder that one of the greatest managers and one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, once worked so closely. Apparently they remain close friends to this day… awwwww.

Chris

@cw_stagg

 


TFI90s 010218

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 01.02.18

Playlist:

Republica – Rush Hour With Love

East 17 – House Of Love

Faith No More – Epic

Pulp – Mis-Shapes

No Doubt – Don’t Speak

Will Smith – Miami

Radiohead – Karma Police

Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be

Jamiroquai – Canned heat

Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity

Jamiroquai – Space Cowby

Ugly Kid Joe – Everything About You

Embrace – All You Good Good People

Suede – Animal Nitrate

Crowded House – It’s Only Natural

Extreme – More Than Words

Everything But The Girl – Missing

The Verve – Sonnet

The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

EMF – Unbelievable

Skunk Anansie – Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good)

Bryan Adams & Mel C – When You’re Gone

Take That feat Lulu – Relight My Fire

Manic Street Preachers – You Stole The Sun From My heart

Bon Jovi – keep The Faith

Space – Avenging Angels

Cranberries – Zombie

Divinyls – I Touch Myself


Are WWE Listening?

Now, I’m not saying that I’m a wrestling genius… that’s for history to decide. But i will say this (spoiler alert). Last week I predicted that Shinsuke Nakamura would win the 2018 Royal Rumble. And win it he did. Now I need to clarify a point. I did say that I thought Nakamura would win the Rumble, but i never actually believed he would. I like everyone else was convinced that Roman Reigns was going to be the winner. But then the unthinkable happened and Nakamura through Roman Reigns over the top and will now go on to challenge A J Styles.

And here is the point… Vince McMahon is the Worlds biggest Roman Reigns fan. The fans for the most part can’t stand him, and although this is another story – I think that is unwarranted and that Reigns is a talented wrestler. Despite that Reigns is loathed and Vince (to this point) has ignored that fact. Reigns has been pushed and pushed and pushed, despite the boo’s from the crowd.

So when the Rumble came down to the final two of Reigns and Nakamura, everyone (myself included) thought Reigns had done it again. But the fact that WWE put Reigns into the final two and then had him lose, seems to imply they are starting to listen to the fans. Now yes, it is of course entirely possible that Reigns will come out of The Elimination chamber victorious to challenge Lesnar for the title, and s he remains at the top of the pile. But because he was there in the last two, and then to lose, screams to me that WWE is in part saying ‘we hear you.’

I’m not saying for a second that this is a new leaf for WWE as they are a fan of throwing curve balls no and again. But who knows… maybe a compromise between WWE and the fans is what should now be on the cards. WWE has shown that they will not have Reigns win everything all the time, if only the fans now will listen too.

Chris

@cw_stagg


TFI90s 25.01.18

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 25.01.18

Playlist:

Charles & Eddie – Would I lie To You?

Manic Street Preachers – You Stole The Sun From MY Heart

The Beloved – Sweet Harmony

White Town – Your Woman

Madonna – Justify My Love

Prince – Cream

Bryan Adams & Mel C – When Your Gone

Aerosmith – Pink

Guns ‘N’ Roses – Live And Let Die

Travis – Why Does It Always Rain On Me

Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection

Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold

Stone Roses – I Wanna be Adored

Space feat Cerys Matthews – Ballad Of Tom Jones

Inspiral Carpets – Dragging Me Down

Alanis Morissette – Ironic

Echobelly – King Of The Kerb

Jamiroquai – King For A Day

Republica – Drop Dead Gorgeous

Blur – On Your Own

Blur – Coffee & TV

Blur – Song 2

Natalie Imbruglia – Torn

INXS – Suicide Blonde

Tasmin Archer – Sleeping Satellite

De La Soul – Me Myself & I

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Higher Ground


WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Predicitons

We all know what’s going to happen Sunday night at The Royal Rumble don’t we? Roman reigns will win the rumble and Brock Lesnar will retain the championship in the triple threat, by pinning Kane while Strowman is out of the picture. Roman Reigns will then go on to Wrestlemania and face the Beast Incarnate for the the championship and heck, he may even be the guy to win it from him. And what of the Undertaker? After he had ‘retired’ he gave a very confused Raw 25th anniversary appearance that probably, maybe will see him take on John Cena at Wrestlemania? We all know that all of this is likely to happen…

but what if…

Here is another idea. Roman reigns will not win The Royal Rumble. Reigns has won it before and IT DID NOT GO DOWN WELL WITH THE FANS. And if WWE are anything, they are a company that listens to their fans (insert further sdarcasm here). Instead I propose Shinsuke Nakamura will emerge victorious. Since joining the WWE from New Japan, Nakamura had a fairly good push in NXT even becoming NXT Champion. However like so many others, once he crossed to the main brand, the recognition of his greatness has floundered, and WWE really haven’t done much with him over the last year. Now is his time to shine and I would very much like to see him win and perhaps feud with the incoming Ricochet (if he goes straight to Smackdown of course). But who will the Universal Champion be?…

Braun Strowman! I propose that Strowman will win his fight against Kane and Lesnar, and I see him pining Lesnar (A Kane pin fall won’t be a strong enough statement). We waited for so long to see Strowman / Lesnar… it should have been amazing. Instead it was just ok. And that’s not good enough. WWE (for once) have done exactly the right thing with Strowman. They paired him with a good mentor in Luke Harper, then when he was ready, moved him to Raw with an altered gimmick. They slowly built him up over the course of the year, where he has decimated everyone in his path… except Lesnar. Strowman is a star who commands the biggest pop and now is his time to take the title from him. There are rumours of Lesnar’s departure and who better for him to drop the title to? It is likely that Vince McMahon will want one more Wrestlmania fight from Lesnar, which brings me to…

The main event at Wrestlemania will be a triple threat; Lesnar Vs Reigns Vs… The Undertaker. Think about it. Undertaker is done. He has maybe one more match left in him for the WWE. The Wrestlemania streak was broken by Brock Lesnar, and then he was defeated again by Roman reigns. NO! Not good enough! The Undertaker deserves more. Mark Calaway deserves more to recognise his legendary status and commitment to Vince and the WWE. We know he is coming back for something, we just don’t know what or when. But what would be a more fitting send off, than to see him get retribution and get the pin against Reigns and Lesnar at Wrestlemania, for his final WWE match. Chokeslam and Hell’s gate submission to reigns followed by a last Ride and Tomb Stone Piledriver to Lesnar for the win… It would be perfect.

Rest. In. Peace

Chris

@cw_stagg


IT (2017) review

Wow wow wow wow wow!! I LOVED IT! So good I watched it again the next night.

Ok, let’s slow things down and go back a step. When a remake was announced for IT, it was met with much trepidation, from me included. After all the 90s version is one of the most beloved adaptations in the Stepehen King pantheon. Who else could play Pennywise other than Tim Curry? But then after much speculation shots started to appear of what the new Pennywise would look like, and it became very clear that this was a different kind of clown.

Played by Bill Skarsgard, there is no humour to this 2017 Pennywise. Where as Tim Curry’s portrayal had moments of laughter that led you to believe (falsely) that he was like any other clown, there is nothing here but pure malice and creepiness. Whenever Pennywise is on screen, you are waiting for the next horrific thing to happen.

And horrific it is, as one by one this interdimensional being picks off the children of Derry, Maine in increasingly gruesome fashion. Isolating the children and making them see what scares them most, Pennywise savors their fear before he goes in for the kill. In fact, so important is the terror that if you are not afraid, Pennywise loses his power over you.

This really is an incredible film, and there is little I can say in criticism. It is well paced and the special effects are excellent. Pennywise is on the screen just enough, and plenty of time is given over to character development. So good is this film that Mrs S (who hates horror) watched the whole thing because she was invested in the characters and wanted to see what happens. A glowing endorsement indeed!

My favourite bits were Pennywise in the projector slides and the iconic scene with Georgie and the storm drain. Genuinely scary and easily 8/10 stars from me. Go and watch this film and ‘you’ll float too…..”

Chris

@cw_stagg


TFI90s 180118

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 18.01.18

Playlist:

Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy

Annie Lennox – Walking on Broken Glass

Run DMC vs Jason Nevins – It’s Like That

The Prodigy – Breathe

Charlies & Eddie – Would I Lie To You

The Stone Roses – Fools Gold

Cranberries – Zombie

Madonna – Beautiful Stranger

Depth Charge – Shaolin Buddha Finger

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Space – The Female Of The Species

Space – We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

Space – Avenging Angels

Metallica – Nothing Else Matters

Michael Jackson – Black Or White

U2 – Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

Embrace – Come Back To What You Know

Bjork – Big Time Sensuality

INXS – Suicide Blonde

Ash – Girl From Mars

Portishead – Glory Box

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh prince – Summertime

Snap! – The Power

Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart

Terrorvision – Tequila

Mansun – Stripper Vicar


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