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I’ll Be Loving You Forever: NKOTB Celebrate 30 Years With Vegas Bash

 

 

 

 

 

Back in 1994, I was listening to a radio interview on Capital Radio where presenter Clive Warren was speaking to Boston boy band New Kids On The Block as they made their comeback after an absence of three years. During this interview, Donnie Wahlberg revealed that the band had been together for ten years.

“Ten years!” exclaimed Warren, “that’s incredible!”

And indeed it was. Despite a few exceptions, pop acts aren’t expected to last longer than a couple of years so ten years seemed like a lifetime, and as I sat at home listening to the interview while having naughty thoughts about that Jordan, I shared Warren’s sense of amazement.

 

Fast forward to 2014 and guess what? New Kids On The Block – or NKOTB as they like to be called – have announced that they will be hosting a four day party and concert extravaganza in sin city itself, Las Vegas, to celebrate – wait for it – thirty years since the group was formed. That’s right – THIRTY YEARS!!!

It’s not a typo of any kind – the New Kids were formed by Maurice Starr in 1984 when they really were just, er, New Kids. Many Blockheads have taken to the forums to say that although they are delighted by news of the Las Vegas residency at the Axis at Planet Hollywood and the fact that the beloved boy band have been together for thirty years… the news also made them feel very old! Thankfully for me, I never did get past the age of fifteen, so I don’t feel old – but I am wondering where all those years went…

 

I still remember the very first time I saw the ’80s favourites. It was November 1989 and I was sat at home watching Top Of The Pops with my dad and sister. The New Kids were starting to make a name for themselves on this side of the Atlantic. I’d already heard (You Got It) The Right Stuff played on the radio a million times which was just as well because I never got bored of it, and all my classmates couldn’t stop going on about them (I went to an all-girls school!) I’d had phases of being into other pop acts: Wham! Duran Duran, Bros, Brother Beyond, Kylie and Jason… but seeing NKOTB for the first time doing the New Kids dance was something I will never forget. Was it possible to get five hotties in one band? Did Jordan Knight need a license to be that gorgeous? Where did they get those magic feet from? Damn, they could sing! I fell in love with Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jon and Jordan there and then and it has most definitely not been a phase because I’m still besotted with them after all these years.

 

The band went on to sell over eighty million records; become the kings of merchandising; have their own cartoon show; appear on just about every music program and talk show (as well as in our dreams!) and generally conquered the world with their combination of smooth vocals, choreography that kids were trying to recreate in school playgrounds and drop-dead-pass-out-and-die looks. They were also the boy band who gave us the erm, boy band! Love them or hate them for that, there is no denying that there have been a zillion boybands since them, all trying to emulate the success of the New Kids. Take That were formed as a British boy-band to rival the New Kids, and Boyzone’s Shane Lynch has revealed that he harboured ambitions to join a boy-band after seeing New Kids On The Block on the telly. To be honest, I really do wish that boy-bands had began and stopped with the New Kids because there hasn’t been a group who has been even half as good as the New Kids – not really a surprise as you can’t improve on perfection!

Sadly along with the highs, there have also been a lot of lows. An extremely loud cracking noise that could be heard all over the world in 1991 was identified as the sound of millions of young hearts breaking as New Kids On The Block announced their split amid rumours of escalating tensions and rivalries among the band. Even before that there were scandals as Donnie Wahlberg was accused of starting a fire at a hotel and was rumoured to be living with a much older woman (remember this was in the days when teen heart-throbs couldn’t admit to having a girlfriend!) The comeback in 1994 proved to be short-lived: NKOTB went their separate ways for good (so it seemed) once die-hard fans ripped up their posters and moved on to the latest pop group du jour. Jordan Knight later admitted in interviews that launching a solo career was hard as he was regarded as a has-been at the tender age of twenty six and couldn’t escape the band’s perceived cheesy image.

During the years that followed, the New Kids virtually faded into obscurity and never again graced magazine covers or were top billing at any show.  There were a few precious glimpses of our favourite Bostonians over the years: Donnie and Joe were both forging ahead with acting careers; Jordan embarked on a solo career, and Danny got a place in short-lived boy-band Upper Street. Jon was the only one who withdrew completely from the crazy world of showbiz and settled for a more quieter life, although he did make the odd television appearance.

But then everything changed in 2008 when a miracle happened and the five bad brothers from the Beantown decided to make one final attempt at pop domination. And thank goodness for that because they’ve achieved what they set out to do plus healed the hearts of the fans who never went away. The rest is history and the band are still going strong.

The last thirty years have been one hell of a ride! Speaking to People magazine, Jordan Knight revealed that passing years have done little to curb their enthusiasm:

” It is cool because it is still the same because no matter how old you get, there is still a kid inside of you.”

Knight also went on to say that it was the success of their annual cruises that gave them the Vegas idea and inspired them to host the residency and have a “cruise on land” in order to do something special to mark this momentous occasion – and the boys are really looking forward to performing at night and hosting pool parties during the day : 

“At the end of the four days, I’m sure we will be almost dead. But it is fun and kind of intoxicating just hanging out with all the fans.”

Donnie Wahlberg added in a statement:

“The band has been focusing on all sorts of solo projects and now prepping for our European tour, but we knew we wanted to do something special Stateside for 2014. We knew we had a limited time block where we could do something fun and we knew we had to make it memorable! What better place than Vegas?”

Paul Natkin

 

And what better people to party with than the New Kids On The Block? The short festival will be called After Dark and kicks off on July 10. Tickets go on sale on 4th April. Will I be going? Well, I’m trying to twist Hubby’s arm and convincing him we need a Las Vegas holiday around that time but he’s having none of it. I am working on it though. After all i’s not every day your fave pop band celebrates their thirtieth anniversary.

 

Damn! Now I do feel old!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Taylor Made For Modelling

Supermodels and the fashion industry were a bit of an obsession for me when I was in my early teens. I was on the brink of becoming a young woman and suddenly clothes, make-up and looking super hot in order to bag the boys was all that mattered in life! It’s no wonder I looked to the supermodels for inspiration (weird considering I’m as far removed from ‘supermodel as you can get – but still no harm in trying!) I still find it hard to decide who my fave supermodel was but American model, Niki Taylor was most definitely in the top ten.  So naturally, I was thrilled to see an article featuring Supermodel of the nineties, Niki Taylor in the British press yesterday as the cover girl and mum of four made an appearance at Badgley Mischka runway show during Mercedes-Benz  Fashion Week.

Despite having the Cindy-style mole, Niki Taylor didn’t have the same level of Cindy-style fame in the UK and was probably one of the least known of the supers on this side of the Atlantic despite having started modelling at the age of thirteen and going on to grace the covers of Seventeen and Vogue. However, along with her late sister, Krissy Taylor, Niki was definitely one of my favourite models. One of the things I liked about Niki was that even though she was stunningly beautiful, she still had this earthy naturalness about her. She was beautiful but she could have been any girl on the beach or on the street (though obviously the girl who’d be attracting the most attention!) Although she was as equally beautiful as the other 90s supermodels – incidentally a term Cindy Crawford is quoted as saying she hated – she didn’t overdo the glam factor as many of her modelling contemporaries did. But then again, she didn’t have to do so; she had this unique girl-next-door beauty that was all her own. Niki looked at home sashaying down the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week as she did rollerblading down the sun-drenched streets of her Florida home.

In Britain, Niki is best remembered as being the first spokesmodel for Cover Girl Cosmetics – a brand that was very short-lived over here although it is still going strong in the States. As a young girl entering her early teenage years and beginning to develop an interest in make-up, my favourite supermodel’s association with Cover Girl is partly the reason why I favoured their products. Furthermore, after it was revealed that Niki swore by Beverly Hills Toothpaste to keep her pearly whites glowing, guess who started using the same brand of toothpaste? I used it religiously for years, and still use it occasionally today.

I also remember Niki’s role as a fashion/style advisor in Looks magazine – a magazine I purchased every month religiously. Readers would write in with their fashion and beauty dilemmas and Niki would solve them. After a few years, this role was then passed on to another model (Caprice, I think) but it just wasn’t the same and I missed Niki.

Although her career has constantly been on the rise, the model’s personal life has been a series of highs and lows (but then, who’s hasn’t!) She surprised everyone back in 1993, when a few months after graduating from high school, a nineteen year old Niki married  former Miami Hooters line-backer, Matt Martinez, after a whirlwind romance. The pair eloped to Las Vegas although they did eventually have a more traditional ceremony in 1994. Niki was already pregnant by then and when on to have twin sons, Jake and Hunter.

 

Unfortunately the marriage didn’t last, and along with the collapse of her relation with Martinez, some low points in Niki’s  life included a near-fatal car crash, and more tragically, the sad passing of her younger sister Krissy.

But life today for Niki gives her good reason to flash that megawatt smile. Now married to NASCAR driver, Burney Lamar, Niki is also mum to four year old daughter Ciel and toddler Rex, as well as Jake and Hunter who are now big strapping lads of nineteen. It’s hard to believe as Niki has lost none of her teen model looks!

I’m so glad that there’s still interest in Niki even though she likes to keep a fairly low-profile. The nineties supers always bring back very happy memories of flicking thorough fashion mags; experimenting with hair and make-up and shopping trips with my friends. And I have Niki and co. to thank for that.

 

 

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R.I.P Larry Hagman: Southfork Will Never Be The Same Again.

It’s exactly a month today since we lost acting legend Larry Hagman – and I still can’t believe it. Like most kids growing up in the 1980s, I had a bit of a penchant for glitzy, glam American soaps like Dynasty and Dallas – even though I know I was a bit on the young side! I don’t know how or why my mother allowed me to stay up past my bedtime to view such shenanigans but I did and I have fond memories of watching JR Ewing’s dastardly deeds in Dallas. I also have fond memories of watching Hagman’s classic comedy series, I Dream of Jeannie during weekday afternoons with my grandad.

Although he was an established actor who had starred in films and TV series’ such as Nixon, Superman, Primary Colors and Nip/Tuck,  it is his role as evil oil baron JR Ewing for which he will forever be synonymous. Who can forget that smirk… the dirty chuckle… the non-stop plotting and scheming? “Of course it’s fun to play the villain,” declared Hagman during filming back in 2011. And as we all know, it’s a role he played to perfection.

Ken Kercheval, who played JR’s arch rival Cliff Barnes, once said that in real life, Hagman was the complete opposite of the conniving character he played so well in Dallas – and I can believe that. I remember his appearance on Channel Five’s Open House With Gloria Hunniford and he came across as the most down to earth man and the only wicked thing about him was his sense of humour. The fact that some of his fellow cast mates were at his bedside when he sadly passed away speaks volumes.

It’s fitting that in the end his ashes were scattered across the ranch at Southfork. Larry Hagman wasn’t just the star of Dallas; he was Dallas. the new series will not be the same without him.

R.I.P Larry. Thanks for the entertainment. x

 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2012 in Gone Too Soon, TV Shows

 

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A Trip Down Memory Lane

Image from pixabay.com

Image from pixabay.com

Nostalgia: A yearning for the past in an often idealized form; the state of being homesick; a wistful longing to return to a past period or irrecoverable condition… the dictionary definitions of nostalgia don’t sound very appealing: who wants to be some wishy washy person who lives in the past? And quite often a wishy washy person who lives in a past which doesn’t exist. We all remember rolling our eyes at stories told by our parents and grandparents of a time when “you could leave your doors and windows open when you went to work and came home to find a banquet waiting for you.” Of course if you tried that today you’d be lucky to still find a carton of milk in your refrigerator – providing they hadn’t made off with your refrigerator in the first place!

I like to think of myself as a modern missy who moves with the times and rolls with the changes but come on – who doesn’t get a little sentimental and wistful at times? Who doesn’t come over all warm and fuzzy when they catch a re-run of a tv show they used to watch with their mum after school? Who doesn’t feel gooey when they bite into a cookie that tastes just like the ones Grandma used to make? I know I bubble over with excitement when I come across my teen crushes who used to adorn my walls, and my friends and I are always laughing about stories about our school days – which admittedly are a lot more in the distant past than we’d like to admit! Anything that reminds us of our childhood, teenage years and early adulthood immediately transports us to a time when things were simpler, less stressful, and more fun – or so we like to think anyway.

Image from pixabay. com

Image from pixabay. com

 

But whatever the past may or may not have been, anything that makes you happy and lighthearted cannot be a bad thing. That’s why I don’t regard nostalgia as sentimental hogwash but yummy and warming comfort food to enliven an often tired and weary soul. And when you think that the word is derived from the Greek nostos meaning to return home, you realise how apt it is. Especially for me; as a newly married Brit chick who had relocated to the States soon after our wedding, I had a yearning not just for times gone by but all things English that remind me of the place in which I grew up. The we returned to England, and I started yearning for all things American that reminded us of the fun times we had in the States! Now we’re back in the States and we’re restarting this cycle all over again!

Don’t get me wrong – I like the here and now; I like where I am at this stage in my life. But if there was a time machine which could transport you back to a simpler time for an hour or so, then I’m so in that thing! The past is great but the best in life is yet to come… have fun reminiscing!

 

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in This, That and the Other!

 

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