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Friday, 27 March 2015

My 30 Favourite Stock Aitken and Waterman Songs

Stock Aitken & Waterman were a trio of British songwriters and record producers made up of Pete Waterman, Mike Stock and Matt Aitken - hence the name Stock Aitken and Waterman -, also known by their initials as SAW and PWL (Pete Waterman Ltd). Nicknamed 'The Hit Factory', they are considered to be one of the most successful pop songwriting and producing partnerships of all-time, achieving over 100 UK top 40 hit singles, 13 number 1 hits and were crowned songwriters of the year, 3 years in a row throughout the mid -1980s to early 1990s. 

Stock Aitken and Waterman attained mainstream success in the UK with a mixture of Hi-NRG sound, Eurobeat and Italo Disco, as well as Pop. Along with Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Bananarama, Rick Astley, the SAW/PWL coalition became the British equivalent of the Motown assembly line. Rick Astley and Kylie, in particular, went on to enjoy international success. Kylie Minogue is the most successful post-PWL artist; after she left SAW, she recorded hits such as the anthemic 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' of the 2000s. 

Like Max Martin and Cheiron with Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Britney Spears in the 1990s, they were criticized and ridiculed a lot by the music press, as well as by many general music fans for their upbeat, cheesy pop music and infectious hand claps & cowbells; but Mike, Pete and Matt had a formula, and it worked. Much to the delight of fans of upbeat, fun pop. Their talent and ability to carve out a catchy hit song was unquestionable and with the songs, some of them have become trademark PWL classics and fan favourites in clubs, in karaoke bars and with fans in general around the world. The trio matched the songs with the singers they felt would suit each melody best. SAW even branched out to R&B with Princess's 'Say I'm Your Number One' and Kylie Minogue's 'Let's Get To It' album. 

Whatever your views are in regards to Stock Aitken and Waterman, whether you love em' or loathe them, they became a success in their own right and you can't take away their achievements and their record of securing 100+ British top 40 singles. It's a pretty amazing feat; no other pop producing team has managed to exceed this record, not even Max Martin and Cheiron Studios, who with American acts Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, were the 90s Scandinavian equivalent to SAW. 

I chose and compiled 30 of my all-time favourite Stock, Aitken and Waterman songs; there are so much more, but these were the songs that resonated with me the most, as well as they were the soundtrack to my childhood with a few surprises thrown in. It wasn't easy selecting 30 of them, but if you are a SAW fan, then one of your favourite songs will probably be on this list. 

*last updated: 10 October 2017

Got To Be Certain - Kylie Minogue; my favourite Kylie song of all-time

Take Me To Your Heart - Rick Astley; my favourite Rick Astley song and overlooked by many, who favour the famous rickrolling tune, 'Never Gonna Give You Up'

You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) - Dead or Alive 

That's What Love Can Do - Boy Krazy - I know people have said that SAW wasn't as successful in the 1990s as they were in the 1980s, but this song had 'smash hit' written all over it

RSVP - Jason Donovan; PWL had a bit of a mixed 90s decade but with Kylie Minogue's Better The Devil You Know, Boy Krazy's That's What Love Can Do and Jason Donovan's RSVP, they were, by and large, the standouts from this particular period for The Hit Factory. This was Jason's 'Better The Devil You Know', and also a reference to the Kylie Minogue song in terms of similarity. For me, this is my favourite song he has done 

This Time I Know It's For Real - Donna Summer; everyone knows Hot Stuff, On The Radio and I Feel Love from the disco era of the 70s, but Donna with PWL had success with this song in the 80s. This is my personal favourite song of hers. Considered by many as the comeback song for Donna, but also and arguably the greatest song produced by PWL

Happenin' All Over Again - Lonnie Gordon; this song was initially offered to Donna Summer, however, she turned it down. Happenin' All Over Again is a timeless and bonafide dance anthem almost 30 years on. 

Love In The First Degree - Bananarama; 'GUILTY!!'. That is all  

Say I'm Your Number One - Princess 

Let's Get To It - Kylie Minogue; vocally, this is one of Kylie Minogue's best efforts with Let's Get To It's' early R&B smooth sound

She Wants To Dance With Me - Rick Astley 

That's The Way It Is - Mel and Kim

All I Wanna Do (Is Make You Mine) - Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan; this sounds a lot like John Travolta and Olivia Newton John's 'You're The One That I Want'  from the movie, Grease 

Let's All Chant - Pat & Mick; cover of the Michael Zeiger Band's 70's disco tune with a PWL flavour 

I Just Wanna Spend Some Time With You- Sinitta; this has dislodged Cross My Broken Heart as my favourite Sinitta track of hers. Was written and produced by Pete Hammond 

I Just Can't Wait - Mandy Smith 

Did I Say 'Ti Amo'? - Fresh; a one-hit-wonder penned by Mike Stock and Pete Waterman and one of the countless others from SAW's back catalogue, I could have envisaged the London Boys doing a cover of this one. Still a catchy effort 

Turn it Up - Michael Davidson 

Handful of Promises - Big Fun 

Cross My Heart - Eighth Wonder; there was also a version released by Martika, although it wasn't released as a single, in contrast to Eighth Wonder's rendition. I do prefer this SAW production, courtesy of Pete Hammond

Breakaway - Donna Summer, (PWL remix)

Boys (Summertime Love) - Sabrina 

Climb To The Top Of The Mountain - 

One Thing Leads To Another - Yell; originally by girl group, Boy Krazy, this was also done by duo Yell!, and another SAW cover whereby I prefer the unreleased version over the official single version, particularly Paul Varney's vocals which shine here 

After You're Gone - Suzette Charles; an unreleased track featuring former Miss America winner, Suzette Charles, this breezy effort is another underrated gem that flew under the radar & listening to it today, is a terrific song. 

Turn it into Love - Hazel Dean; song made famous by Kylie Minogue, PWL chose to release Kylie's version over Hazel's. I like the production values of this rendition more than the single version by Kylie. 

Whenever You Need Somebody - O'Chi Brown; 2nd version of the song, which was first recorded by Rick Astley. Again another SAW track where I prefer the production values of the unreleased single version. 

Requiem - London Boys 

The Time Warp - Damian; made famous on the Rocky Horror Picture Show movie, this is given a SAW revamp

(Ain't Nobody Loves You) Like I Do - Latoya Jackson; this innocent-sounding track from one of Michael Jackson's sister's masks the irony of the lyrics, which also should have been released as an official single

Monday, 23 March 2015

Create A New TV Network/Channel

Name of the network 

Throwback 'Toons and Comedies Channel 

Yes, the title sounds crappy, but my ideal TV channel would be one that shows oldie cartoons and sitcoms & sketch shows

*Illustration - The Ghosts of Sitcoms Past by Kagan McLeod/National Post, 2011 

Channel Slogan 

'Where Classic Meets Fun'  

The meaning behind this slogan goes back to the idea of reliving the past and remembering and reminiscing all the good memories and shows you grew up on and watched when you were younger. It also connotes the classic shows being about fun, bringing a smile to your face and how life was so care-free, back in the days when television was a lot more varied and diverse - before all the drama & reality shows, prior to and post - 9/11 2001. 

When I think about retro sitcoms and children's cartoons, the word that springs to mind for me is 'fun'. Because that is what those types of shows represent and embody, not just to the viewers, but that is what most viewers would think of, in regards to these TV genres. Fun as in laughter, smiling, joy, happy when watching a sitcom, and fun as in enjoyment, the memorable characters and lapping up the animation and effects of the cartoon. 

This is a retro television channel for fans of classic American multi-camera sitcoms, African American sitcoms, children's cartoons and British sitcoms and sketch comedy. 

Why sitcoms and animated kids cartoons? 

Not only are they my favourite types of programmes, in terms of the quality, there is a distinct lack of good current sitcoms and kids animated shows on television. In addition to the fact there is a lack of a major children's TV network that airs predominately older animation. Boomerang was once the alternative to Cartoon Network's current offerings in the early 00s, but Turner's recent relaunch by choosing to air more contemporary cartoons over retro cartoons, has turned it into a clone of Cartoon Network. There have been points raised that a network relying solely on retro cartoons, is not financial and economically viable today. But I have been thinking, what about having sitcoms alongside the cartoons? 

By having both sets of programmes alongside one another, fans, as well as audiences of cartoons such as Hanna Barbera, Looney Tunes, He-Man etc and of sitcoms, would welcome this idea. 

Why older shows? 

Because a lot of people enjoy watching programmes from the past, many of whom prefer it over today's television on the 4 main networks, ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC. 

Broadcast areas 


Where are the shows from?

Mostly U.S based shows with some British, Japanese imports with added subtitles or English dubs thrown in. American and British sitcoms and comedies with Japanese Anime and American & Canadian cartoons. 

What eras or decades?

1960s to late 1990s

Sponsorship and advertising


Web based advertising for website


Dreamworks Classics & NBCUniversal joint ownership 

Owns kids network PBJ and are an animation studio, production and brand licencing company. In 2012, they purchased Classic Media & renamed it Dreamworks Classics.

Turner broadcasting currently owns Cartoon Network and Boomerang and yet they are reluctant to air any of the old HB, Warner bros cartoons. Classic Media are owners of Filmation library by Dreamworks. 

NBCUniversal owns & operates US TV networks, numerous Cable channels, & a group of local channels as well as television production companies. It is the world's largest mass media group. 

Why Dreamworks Classics and NBCUniversal ? 

Because under Turner Broadcasting for instance, they would not air enough classic cartoons on current Boomerang with regards to the animated fare. As for NBC, they have had a huge track record of success when it comes to American sitcoms during the 80s and 90s. Despite my feelings towards NBC today as a network, I can't think of another U.S conglomerate and media and entertainment company who, due to their long history of airing multi-camera sitcoms, could pull this off and pull this idea off, successfully.  

I also chose Dreamworks as I was impressed when they amassed Classic Media's library of animated cartoons such as Filmation's Ghostbusters, He-Man & put them on PBJ. If they can do that, then to me that is a good indication and good fit for this brand. 

*Image by AP Photo/Jae C. Hong via Associated Press 

Subscription or non - subscription? 
Non- subscription, free to air - wouldn't want people to pay for this channel, they should access it for free. 

TV platform -

Digital and Cable satellite across the UK (via Sky, Freeview) and US (Cable and satellite) such as Comcast, Canada and parts of Australia  

Mobile TV -

Mobile apps in standard and high definition 

Watch shows live online through website 
On Demand, catch-up online service - missed a show, you can watch it on demand online whenever and wherever

Any recent shows? 

No, just reruns and repeats, some of which are via DVD screening and old film -reel tapings, VHS tapes. This is a classic TV channel after all

Start and end times

As early as 7am and finishes at 3am 

*Programme Line - up - 

Sketch comedy Shows

In Living Color, Saturday Night Live, Mad TV, Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, The Richard Pryor Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tracy Ulman Show, The Flip Wilson Show, The Man Show, All That, Whose Line is it Anyway?, Bo Selecta, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, French and Saunders, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Not the Nine o' Clock News



Absolutely Fabulous, The Vicar of Dibley, Red Dwarf, Bottom, I'm Alan Partridge, Black adder, Spaced, Father Ted, The Young Ones, Fawlty Towers, The New Statesman, Only Fools and Horses, Allo Allo!, Steptoe and Son, Are You Being Served?, Gimmie Gimme Gimme


Julia, All in the Family, Happy Days, The Love Boat, M.A.S.H, Mork and Mindy, The Odd Couple, Taxi, Happy Days, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, Good Times, What's Happening!!, That's My Mama, Diff'rent Strokes, The Brady Bunch, Laverne and Shirley, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude, Soap, Three's Company 


Cheers, Designing Women, Full House, Married.... With Children, Roseanne, Seinfeld, Who's the Boss?, The Wonder Years, Murphy Brown, Full House, Golden Girls, Perfect Strangers, The Cosby Show, ALF, Amen, Benson, Bosom Buddies, The Facts of Life, Family Ties, Frank's Place, Gimmie A Break, Silver Spoons, Webster, 227, What's Happening Now, Head of the Class, Moonlighting, Punky Brewster, Kate and Allie

1990s  - Black Sitcoms 

Cosby, Damon, A Different World, Family Matters, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, In The House, The Jamie Foxx Show, Living Single, Kenan and Kel, Martin, Malcolm and Eddie, Moesha, Out all Night, The Parkers, The Parent' Hood, Roc, Sister Sister, The Sinbad Show, Smart Guy, The Steve Harvey Show, That's So Raven, The Wayans Bros, The Parkers, Hangin' with Mr Cooper, Desmonds, Saved by the Bell

1990s continued

3rd Rock From The Sun, Blossom, Boy Meets World, Cybil, Caroline in the City, Dave's World, Dharma and Greg, Drew Carey Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, Full House, Frasier, Good Advice, Home Improvement, Just Shoot Me, The King of Queens, Mad About You, The Nanny, Sabrina the teenage witch, Sydney, Step by Step, That 70s Show, Coach, Veronica's Closet

Children's animated cartoons

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

Disney shorts

Tom and Jerry

Hanna Barbera shorts and series

Animated series 

Anime inspired shows from Japan

Action cartoons 

Superhero cartoons 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

A-Z Guide To Restaurant Types Around The World

All - You - Can - Eat Buffets

Typically offers 'all- you - can -eat' for a set price. Diners can view the food and pick and choose what they want & can decide how much food they want to take. Is effective at serving large numbers of people at once.

Al - Fresco/outdoor dining

Automated restaurant 

Restaurants that employ robots as servants to undertake tasks such as cooking and serving food & delivering drinks to customers tables. 


French- style small restaurant that serves moderately priced meals 

Conveyor Belt Sushi 

Plates of sushi on a rotating conveyor belt 

Above: Yo Sushi! at Bluewater Shopping Centre, UK

Cosplay restaurant 

Themed restaurants that originated in Japan where service staff are dressed as maids

Dai Pai Dong

Open air food stalls in Hong Kong with stools as seats 

Source: Always Foodie


Roadside restaurants in India and Pakistan. Operate similarly to a truck stop.

Source: The Hindu


Pre-fabricated restaurant building of early American life that serves a wide range of foods, most of which are American -fare such as burgers and fries. 

Source: Bernie's Diner Grill & Bar Restaurant in Barcelona 

Dinner Theater 

Form of entertainment that combines a restaurant meal with a staged play or musical

Source: Creative Loafing Charlotte

Dinner Train 

Type of tourist train service which allows people to eat dinner, whilst experiencing a short train ride. Many of these dinner trains can be found throughout North America. 

Columbia Star Dinner Train - Columbian Missourian 

Drive-Thru/Through/Drive -In  

Type of service provided by restaurants that allows customers to purchase food and beverage items without leaving their cars. 

Source: Paul Sakuma/AP

Family style restaurant 

Casual dining restaurant where food is served on platters. In some places, alcohol isn't served at these establishments.

Fast Casual

Chained restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Denny's and Nandos usually do not offer full table service but they offer high-end quality food, in comparison to fast food establishments such as McDonalds, Burger King and KFC


Fast food 

Emphasize on speed and delivery of service. Examples include KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King

Fine dining

Source: Oakmont of Segovia 

Floating restaurant

A ship, boat or vessel used as a restaurant on water. 

Source: Jumbo Kingdom 

Food Booth/Food stand 

Food court 

Indoor plaza or area within a shopping mall or centre for example that consists of counters of multiple food vendors and service counters. 

Gastro pub

Serves high-end food and beer

above: Draft Gastropub & European Food  in Manilla 

Greasy Spoon 

Small cheap restaurant or diner that serves fried food, such as English Fry-Ups

Hawker center 

Open - air complexes housing stalls that sell a variety of food. Are found in city centres in parts of East Asia. Very similar to the food court, but food is considered cheaper and more affordable, in terms of price. 

Source: Your Singapore

Hong Kong- styled fast food

Served in fast casual restaurants such as Cafe de Coral found in malls and shopping centres throughout Hong Kong. Is a mix of Canto- Western fusion food, Cantonese and Asian food.  

Source: The Robot Chef 


Brazilian self-service buffet type restaurant, where you select food items from a buffet table, which is then weighed at the till. You are then charged by the kilo, based on the amount of food on the plate - hence the name. 

Source: Expat Brazil 

Meat and Three 

Restaurants within the Southern USA in which s/he picks one meat from a selection of 306 choices & 3 side dishes from the list. It is often served with cornbread and sweet tea. Its roots can be traced back to Nashville, Tennessee.

Source: 10 Best

Mobile catering 

Sells prepared and cooked food in a type of vehicle, i.e. food trucks. Food may include hot dogs, tacos, ice cream and sandwiches. 

Source: Farrs

Mongolian Barbecue 

Customers pick and create a bowl of ingredients displayed in a buffet selection. This bowl is handed to the chef, who stir-fries the food on a griddle and adds sauces to it. S/he then puts the cooked food on a plate or bowl and returns it to the customer. 

Oyster bar 

Restaurant that specializes in oysters 

John Dory Oyster Bar in NYC 

Pancake house

Specializes in breakfast items such as waffles, pancakes, omelettes. They exist throughout the U.S and in the Netherlands & Denmark. 

Source: Photo from Photocrawler

Seafood restaurant

Source: The Wright Brothers Spitalfields 

Steakhouse - Specializes in beef steaks and other types of meat known as chops. Steakhouses originated in the U.S. 

Supper Clubs/Pop - Up Restaurant

Dining establishment that doubles up as a social club.

Source: Supperclub Restaurant, Amsterdam, Netherlands 

Table top cooking 

Food items are prepared by restaurants for customers to cook on embedded gas stoves, cookers and grills. Korean barbecue & Vietnamese restaurants are known for offering table top cooking with their skewered meats, vegetables, condiments, as well as traditional Chinese hot pots. 

Source: Creative Loafing 

Take-away/Take out 

Prepared or cooked meals purchased at the restaurant that the customer takes away and consumes elsewhere.

Photo by Woman Magazine/Rex Features

Themed restaurant

Restaurants where the main focus of attention is on the concept & the selling of that concept to customers. The food menu is centered around a particular theme of that restaurant.

Above: The Rainforest Cafe in Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Tower restaurant 

Restaurant located inside a tower building and is accessible by elevator.  

Above: The CN tower in Toronto, Canada

Underground restaurant 

A social dining eating establishment taking place in someone's home. They are, in effect, paying dinner parties. These are popular in South America and elsewhere around the world. The benefits of an underground restaurant is to make money and to cook food, without having to invest in an actual restaurant. 

Above: underground food collective - image by Nona 

Vegetarian restaurant

Source: Vegetarian buffet restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan via Wikipedia  

Yum Cha 

Chinese morning and/or afternoon tea restaurants, which involves drinking tea & eating dim sum dishes. These are found within Chinatown and other dim sum restaurants in and around China, Hong Kong and UK, U.S, Australia, Canada in particular. 

Above: Marigold restaurant in Sydney, Australia - Time Out 
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