Eva Peron ……Was she really as wonderful as people thought?

María Eva Duarte de Perón – 7 May 1919 – 26 July 1952) was the second wife of President Juan Perón (1895–1974) and served as the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. She is often referred to as simply Eva Perón, or  Evita. Born in the village of Los Toldos in Argentina in 1919, she was the youngest of five children. In 1934, at the age of 15, she went to the nation’s capital of Buenos Aires, where she pursued a career as a stage, radio, and film actress. Eva met Colonel Juan Perón on 22 January 1944, in Buenos Aires during a charity event at the Luna Park Stadium to benefit the victims of an earthquake in San Juan, Argentina. The two were married the following year. In 1946, Juan Perón was elected President of Argentina. Over the course of 6 years Eva became more and more powerful….Her most famous portrayal was by Madonna in the 1996 film “Evita”

Evita 1996 film

Evita was the 1996 film version of Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical based on the life of Eva Peron and stars Madonna as Eva, Antonio Banderas as Che Guevara, Jonathan Pryce as Juan Peron and Jimmy Nail as Augustin Magaldi the singer. It follows her journey from being a child of the lower class to becoming first lady and spiritual leader of Argentina.

Antonio Banderas narrates the story appearing in many different guises and serving as Eva’s conscience and critic.

The story starts in a cinema in Argentina. The film is stopped and it is announced that Eva Peron is dead and we see the huge public funeral. We go back in time to Eva’s fathers funeral, where as a young child, Eva attempts to attend it in the town of Junin with her mother and siblings. Despite her father’s wife and other family denying her family from entering, Eva pays her last respects to her father.

Years go by and Eva decides to leave Junin to seek a better life in Buenos Aires with Tango singer Augustin Magaldi (Jimmy Nail) whom she is having an affair with. He leaves her and she endures 3 affairs with men who help to kick-start her career    as a radio personality, model and actress.

She has a fateful meeting with colonel Juan Peron (Jonathan Pryce)  at a fundraiser. Perón’s connection with Eva lends him a populist air, since she is from the working class (as is Perón himself). Eva has a radio show during Perón’s rise and uses all her skills to promote Perón, even when the controlling administration has him jailed in an attempt to stunt his political momentum. The groundswell of support Eva generates forces the government to release Perón, and he finds the people enamored of him and Eva Peron wins the election.

Eva continues to rise to fame and establishes a foundation, but during a World Tour Eva is taken ill and rushed home. Towards the end of her life, she understands that she is terminally ill but rationalizes that her life was short because she shone like the “brightest fire” and helps Perón prepare to go on without her. She dies of cancer age just 33 on July 26th 1952.

But was she as genuine as the people thought ? ……..

In 1947, she set up the Maria Eva Duarte De Peron Welfare Foundation, which distributed money, food and medicines to those most in need. The money came from ‘contributions’, not always willingly given, from businesses and unions. The result was very popular with the poor masses, but far less popular with the elite.

As Evita’s popularity and power grew so did criticism from the opposition and (in some cases) from certain sectors of Peronismo. They attacked from different angles: activities inappropriate for a First Lady, undistilled resentment, dangerous influence on Perón. People felt that she had an  uncontrolled ambition for power.

The criticism was not of what was being done, or how it was being done, or why it was being done but that it was being done by a woman. As J.M. Taylor says, “Evita confronts us with the enigma of power attributed to a woman in a traditionally and formally patriarchal society, a society that devalues women as against men.”

What are your thoughts on the subject ?


Gareth Gates runs the Sports Relief Mile……On BBC Radio 1 and in Leeds !

Sports Relief Mile Live on air – BBC Radio 1

On Thursday 22nd March Gareth took part in “Sports Relief Warm Up” on BBC Radio 1 where he and other celebrities were set the challenge to run on a treadmill live on air he took to Twitter to post up some pictures of him hard at work on the running machine, tweeting before the challenge began:

On my way to Radio1 to run a mile on a treadmill, LIVE on air!! #sportrelief… I’m all track-suited up! #chav.

He posted this picture up on his Twitter page for fans to see with the caption :

Gareth Gates ‏ @Gareth_Gates  : Run Forest, run!!

There were some lovely pictures of him, his daughter Missy and his manager (Alison Parry) arriving at the event. I can’t believe how grown up Missy looks now (she will turn 3 on the 6th of April)  I had to laugh at a piece of video footage (Which I won’t put up because it is probably copy righted) at the door of the building. Gareth clearly wanted to get out of the crowd of paparazzi as quickly as possible and tried to carry Missy’s bag for her….she really wasn’t happy !!

An extract from the article in The Daily Mail online read

Cute! The pop star showed off his fatherly skills as he proudly entered the radio studios to support the charity
He was there to run a mile to help raise money for the charity in the run up to the TV extravaganza set to take place on Friday night.
The former Pop Idol star showed his support for the campaign by later picking Missy up while donning a Sport Relief T-shirt and carrying a water bottle also emblazoned with their logo  (The Daily Mail Online)

He managed to get the best time of 6:33 !! proudly tweeting West End Legend Kerry Ellis- Well done Gareth !!

Gareth Gates ‏ @kerryjaneellis1 well, I didn’t quite do it in 4mins… But did get the best time of everyone 😀 6:33 !! X

Sports Relief Mile in Leeds …..Today  (25.3.12)

On March 12th it was announced that Gareth would be running the mile on his website    www.garethgates.com

On Sunday the 25th March, Gareth will be running the sport relief mile in Leeds. For more information follow Sport Relief on Twitter – @Sportrelief and for more information on the Leeds mile: http://my.sportrelie…/result?id=1026 Gareth said – “I’m looking forward to running the mile for such a great cause – and am even dragging my family out to do it with me for moral support! Please donate generously and follow all the updates @Sportrelief”.

Today Gareth is in Leeds near his hometown of Bradford running “The Sports Relief Mile” with his family sponsered by the well known supermarket “Sainsbury’s” .

He Posted on his Twitter page earlier

Sporting the red and white ensemble !

He looks ready and raring to go !!

I think he has just finished ….

my family ran all 6miles with me!!

#sportrelief @_MikeDunderdale@jessicagatesxo @wmgates

He has literally just uploaded another picture of him, his mum Wendy, his sister Jessica and her boyfriend……..


I’m not sure what their running time was…….. But I’m sure that they did well !!

For more information please visit:





Apparently S Club 7 are due to re-unite…….what are people’s thoughts ?

Ok so we all loved S-Club 7 back in the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s and to be fair they were successful and right for the music of the time. It made me cringe slightly when I saw that they were due to re-unite this summer for a tour and for two brand new albums. S Club 7 achieved four UK number one singles, a number one album and over 17 million record sales worldwide during their five-year stint.

So what did they do after leaving the group ? 

Rachael Stevens : After S Club were disbanded Stevens signed a £1.5 million solo four-album deal with Polydor Records and re-signed with Fuller. Stevens said that breaking out on her own after success with S Club was difficult: “I think we (S Club) ended up conforming to what people’s perceptions were. This one was the ditzy one, this one was the singer, this one was the dancer. And to come out of that and be a whole person has been a real challenge for me. I didn’t have my say, really, in the group. None of us did.”

Jo O’Meara : In her teenage years, O’Meara would serve food at her local pub in Ilford. It was there that someone from 19 Entertainment spotted her on stage and recruited her to join a new pop group S Club 7.

Her debut single, “What Hurts the Most“, was released on 26 September 2005, peaking at number thirteen on the UK singles chart, followed a week later by her album, Relentless. This, however, quickly fell out of the chart and sold poorly, peaking at #48. In February 2006 she took part in the BBC reality show Just the Two of Us. Her singing partner was Chris Fountain. The pair came third in the competition, failing to attract enough votes to make the final after their performance of “Never Had a Dream Come True“.

In January 2007 O’Meara appeared on Celebrity Big Brother. Along with Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd , O’Meara was accused of racist and bullying behaviour toward fellow “contestant” Indian actress Shilpa Shetty , resulting in a record number of complaints to “OfCom” , extensive national and international media coverage, and condemnatory statements from the British and Indian governments

Hannah Spearritt :  In early November 2005, she made her acting comeback in the BBC’s Blessed , an eight part sitcom. In Blessed, she played a minor role, appearing as a member of a fake girl band in two episodes. December 2005 saw Spearritt appearing in the unsuccessful West End  musical, Snow! The Musical, at London’s Sound Theatre. The musical was cancelled just three weeks into its run because of poor ticket sales – one show managed to attract an audience of only two people.In 2010 she made a cameo appearance in a short film, Bubble Wrapped produced by her partner. In late 2011 she performed The Belle’s Stratagem where she played the role of Lady Frances. In March 2012, Spearritt will take over the role of Pauline in a play called One Man, Two Guvnors in the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Tina Barrett : Barrett led some of the tracks on the groups’ albums, such as “I’ll Be There” and “Stronger”. Stronger was set to be a single, but was canceled when Paul Cattermole left the group. The six remaining members stayed together until 2003, when they split after releasing their greatest hits album.

Paul Cattermole : He has probably been the least successful member of the group. He was the first member to leave the group in June 2002. Cattermole split up with Hannah Spearritt, his S Club 7 band mate, in early 2006; after dating for six years. In the run-up to Christmas 2007, Cattermole and Bradley McIntosh  undertook DJ sets at the University of Winchester Christmas Ball (1 December) and at ‘The Old Firestation’.

He joined up with former band mates Jo and Bradley to form ‘S Club 3’ in 2008.Cattermole sang with his own band at a charity concert called ‘The Sounds of Summer’ at ‘The Lord Taverners’ club in London on July 27, 2011. He implies in a YouTube video interview promo that he is planning to launch more musical material.

Bradley Mc Intosh : In 2006 McIntosh starred in an MTV’s’ show, called Totally Boyband. Other people starring were members of disbanded groups. He became part of a boy band, Upper Street made up of ex-group members. The groups that each member was from were 911, Steps, Another Level and New Kids on the block . They released their first (and only) single, “The One”, in 2006, but it was a commercial disaster and charted at #35 in the UK Singles Chart. Also in 2006 he took part in Celebrity Sport Relief Boxing against Jack Osbourne.

Bradley has written for and produced songs with the likes of JLSGak Jonze and former SugababeMutya Buena.

Further to this, he regularly performs at top UK student nights, such as the nationwide weekly JUICED event – Every Friday at Wahoo Brighton and Chilli White Southampton and Keele.

Jon Lee : Jon was the youngest member of the group. He was only 16 when they formed. After leaving the group he went on to pursue a career in the West End and played the role of Marius in Les Miserables between 2003-2004. In 2006 he starred in the short TV series “The Sound of Musicals” alongside some famous stars such as Carrie & David Grant and John Barrowman. His latest role was the lead of “Frankie Valli” in Jersey boys from 2011 + . I have to say after seeing him live in Les Mis back in 2004 he doesn’t have the strongest of voices and is one of the weaker Marius’s. He’s also had small acting roles on soaps such as Casualty.

  (Back in the day) 

(The group after seeing Jon Lee star in Jersey Boys last year)

What’s next for them ? 

S Club 7 have signed a deal to reunite this summer, according to reports.The seven-piece will be performing a series of UK gigs and one-off appearances and have lined-up a possible two-album deal, the Daily Mirror said. A source told the newspaper: “The guys have been inundated with approaches and offers over the past three years, but always said no.

“But following a series of talks and meetings, they decided to go for it… It was a case of now or never… Everyone is really excited and frantically getting back in shape.”According to The Mirror, S Club 7 will announce their return shortly.”The guys have been inundated with approaches and offers over the past three years, but always said no,” a source told the paper.

What do you think ? Is it a good idea that they are re-uniting or should they just let the past lie and move on ?……

Even though the 2012 UK touring production of “Hair” has been cancelled the future looks bright for Gareth Gates!

(Above image from ITV1 ‘s This Morning on 27/2/12)

I was beyond devastated when it was announced that “Hair” had been cancelled….Gareth was due to play the lead role of Claude at over 10 venues in the UK- I should have been seeing him on the 28th of April in Manchester, but on Gareth’s official website (www.garethgates.com) this disappointing message was posted :

The producers of Hair are sorry to announce that unfortunately the forthcoming UK tour will not be going ahead. Despite the best efforts of all involved to keep the production moving forward, it has become apparent that certain criteria could not be met and regrettably the show will not now open in Liverpool as originally planned. The producers would like to apologise to the many fans of this iconic show who had been greatly excited by its planned revival.

The rest of the cast are still taking the show to Munich in Germany and unfortunately for Gareth’s German fans they haven’t been able to get a refund. Gareth announced on Facebook that he was quitting the show :

“hi just wanted to let you all know first, i won’t be doing Hair in Germany – now the UK tour is cancelled as there are things in the pipeline that i need to concentrate on now – and it’s just not possible to do both. all very sad was so looking forward to the show! wish all the cast luck in Munich.. more news as we have it. be in touch soon x

So what does 2012 hold for Gareth Gates now?

Luckily for Gareth he will definitely be the most financially stable out of the cast members as he owns a successful chain of drama academies http://www.gateswilkesacademy.com/ with 4 drama schools already open and more set to open in the future it seems to be a very successful business.

Gareth Gates and Jonathan Wilkes at the opening

(Gareth Gates and Jonathon Wilkes at the opening of their academy in Bradford in  the centre of the group )


A quick mention of “Stop My Stutter”

His BBC3 documentary “Stop My Stutter” was very well received and the number of TV viewings surpassed the ones of tv program-mes normally shown in that margin which was fantastic !

Here was a feature in The Sun newspaper…….

Gareth is in demand for gigs around the country…and has a line up of a few gigs/ events

Sport Relief Mile (Running) 25.3.2012

Outrageous Cabaret Bar Carlisle 20.04.2012 –

DJ Set, Miami Nightclub, Inverness 28.04.2012 =

Pizza Express, Maidstone, Kent. From 7pm 01.06.2012 – http://www.pizzaexpr…showDateId=5491

Vauxhall Holiday Park, Great Yarmouth, 03.06,2012 –

It might not be until autumn until more casting opportunities arise depending of when the cast changes for different shows are. I did ask him on Twitter…..

@Gareth_Gates Do u have any upcoming auditions for other shows now that HAIR has been cancelled? x

@Sophie_Bowns oh a few!! But I couldn’t possibly say!!! 😉

So very possibly he has some upcoming auditions….I dare say he’ll star in a pantomime again in the winter! Personally I think that Gareth needs to keep his profile high. Fans were unimpressed when he quit “Hair” in Germany but to be honest what is the point of going to the effort of learning all the songs and script (the script would be more challenging for Gareth anyway due to his stammer) but for the sake of two weeks ? financially it doesn’t make sense it will probably cost almost as much to stage as the money they’ll get back from the ticket sales for 2 weeks !

Anyway as always I wish him all the best…..fingers crossed that I’ll be able to see him perform live at that gig in Carlisle !! You can follow Gareth Gates on Twitter to find out what he’s up to…( http://www.twitter.com/Gareth_Gates )

The nominees for the Olivier awards have just been announced ….they are NEVER the obvious choices!

Today the nominees were announced for the Laurence Olivier awards…..the biggest theatre awards ceremony of the year. The 2012 nominations include Matilda the Musical, One Man, Two Guvnors and The Ladykillers .

The Royal Shakespeare Company production of Matilda receives a total of ten nominations – the most it was eligible for – including Best Actress for all four young actresses who play the title role (who were also nominated at the Whatsonstage.com Awards).

Amongst other musical theatre productions Ghost The Musical claimed five nominations while London Road, Shrek The Musical and Singin’ in the Rain all have four.

Comedies One Man, Two Guvnors and The Ladykillers receive five nominations apiece, including a Best Actor nod for James Corden, who is currently reprising his Whatsonstage.com Award-winning Guvnors performance on Broadway, and Best Actress for Lady killers star Marcia Warren. Among the other names hoping for the acting honours are Lesley ManvilleKristin Scott ThomasRuth WilsonDouglas Hodge and Jude Law.

As at the Evening Standard Awards, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller receive a joint nomination for their alternating performances in Danny Boyle‘s production of Frankenstein at the National Theatre.

Mark Rubinstein, president of the Society of London Theatre said: “We are thrilled to announce the incredibly talented list of nominees for the Olivier Awards 2012 with MasterCard. It is truly representative of our diverse world-class London theatre across both the commercial and subsidised sectors, which continues to delight thousands of Londoners and visitors every day.”

The National Theatre has had another good year, claiming 14 nominations in total, while the Donmar Warehouse also has a strong showing with six (including Best Actor nominations for both Jude Law and Douglas Hodge). The Royal Court claimed two nominations: Best New Play for Jumpy and Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre for The Village Bike.

Winners will be announced at the Olivier Awards Ceremony held at the Royal Opera House on Sunday 15 April 2012 hosted by West End stars Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton. The BBC will be giving the awards extensive live coverage on television (via the Red Button), on Radio 2 and online, with red carpet coverage from 5.30pm and the Ceremony starting at 6pm.

I have to say that the nominees are not ones that I would choose personally. Long running musicals such as Les Miserables (Which is now in its 27th year of running) rarely seems to be nominated neither is The Phantom of the Opera which in my opinion is truly spectacular.

The Olivier Awards 2012 will be held on 15 April in the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden (it seems to be a little later than usual) The full list of nominations are listed on the official Olivier Awards website.

The 1996 London Cast recording is Probably the best version of Jesus Christ Superstar ever !!

I found this little gem by pure chance on Amazon ♥

Mary Magdalene and Jesus (JCS London 1996 with Steve Balsamo)    Joanna Ampil

Above- Steve Balsamo (Jesus) and Joanna Ampil (Mary Magdalene)

In regards to the 1996 cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar ….All I can say is just WOW !! For one the instrumentation is one of the best that I have ever heard it has a real “Rock feel” as it should I LOVE the saxophone! particularly in the song “Superstar” For any “Die Hard” Jesus Christ Superstar fans this CD is a MUST HAVE !!

The Cast

Jesus of Nazereth……Steve Balsamo

Judas Iscariot…..Zubin Varla

Mary Magdalene…..Joanna Ampil

Pontius Pilate…..David Burt

King Herod….Alice Cooper

Peter….Jonathan Hart

Annas….Martin Callaghan

Simon Zelotes….Glenn Carter

Ciaphas….Peter Gallagher

My Verdict

Well for one you really can’t beat Welsh singing voices in my opinion….there’s something about the amazing voice tone which Steve Balsamo has. He is a ONE OFF !! his voice is so unique not to mention his 3.5 octave vocal range. He’s very young in this recording (about 25) but his voice is mature and sublime to listen to…..he is AMAZING !! His falsetto is faultless….he makes it seem SO EASY !! I LOVE “The Last Supper” which really showcases it.  Even though he is 40 now, I still think that they should cast him as Jesus in the new 2014 Jesus Christ Superstar film instead of doing this Andrew Lloyd Webber “Superstar” search. Couldn’t they just make him look younger?

I LOVE Joanna Ampil as Mary Magdeline. I was lucky enough to see her live as Fantine in Les Miserables in the West End in the 2003-2004 cast. She has a wonderful voice, which is so beautiful and filled with emotion. Her version of “I don’t know how to love him” is up there with Yvonne Elliman’s (from the 1973 film) even though her voice type is very different she is incredible ! “Could we start again please?” her (duet with Jonathon Hart who plays Peter is simply stunning) and once again I felt really emotional !!

Zubin Varla’s Judas isn’t the best I’ve ever heard. His voice is a bit husky and harsh (not very pleasant on the ear) I don’t think anyone will live up to Carl Anderson’s high standard from the 1974 film….I LOVE his 1970’s rock voice….R.I.P 😦  ! So yeah I think Varla lets the sensational cast down a bit. I do like his version of “Damned for all time” though!

Simon Zelotes is also very good and I immediately realised it was Glenn Carter who played Jesus is the 2000 film. Even though his voice is quite classical his version of the song “Simon Zelotes” is excellent….he makes a far better Simon than when he played Jesus. (I can never quite forgive him for DESTROYING one of my favourite songs Gethsemane if I’m quite honest his interpretation of the song was an “Airy fairy pansy-ish JOKE!!” )

Ciaphas (Peter Gallagher) and Annas (Martin Callaghan) are brilliant. Another legend includes David Burt as Pontius Pilate. He played Enjolras in the Original London Cast of Les Miserables way back in 1985. He’s great- far better than Barry Dennman from the 1973 film who I felt was really weak, but not as good as  Fred Johanson from the 2000 film. He was AWESOME with a really deep and rich voice….his crazy facial expressions did make me chuckle slightly though!

I like Herod even though he has only a small part in the musical. Alice Cooper’s character portrayal seems to be somewhere in between the comical King Herod from the 1973 film and the creepy Herod from the 2000 film version. He’s appropriately mocking and portrayed as an idiot. Cooper was not originally part of that cast, therefore making the recording a “Studio cast recording.”

The trial before Pilate is the best I have ever heard although I LOVED Fred Johannson’s version. You can really hear the pain in Steve Balsamo’s voice! From then on the cast recording brought tears to my eyes. John 19:41 always makes me really emotional it was AMAZING !!

Ahhh I only wish that I could have been born at least 10 years earlier so that I could have seen this wonderful cast.

Hard candy (2005) – A film review

Here is the film trailer ……….


If I only had 3 words to describe this film the chosen ones would have to be : Disturbing, controversial and engrossing. I’d recommend that it shouldn’t be seen by anyone under the age of about 15  due to some of ‘adult’ aimed content.

The Plot

The story is based around the potential danger of internet chat rooms particularly for young people!  A mature fairly provocative, not so innocent 14-year-old Hayley Stark (Ellen Page probably most known for playing Juno) meets a charming 32-year-old photographer Jeff Kohvler (Patrick Wilson) online. The film starts straight away with a ‘point of view’ shot and we see a flirtatious ‘online chat ‘ conversation between them.

Soon afterwards Hayley agrees to meet up with him at “Nighthawks” coffee shop. Hayley flirts with him despite the large age gap and proposes to go to his house. Alarm bells start ringing to the viewer. Once there, Hayley makes them both cocktails after telling Jeff that she would not drink something that she did not mix herself. Hayley, who appears slightly intoxicated, suggests that Jeff take some photographs of her, similar to the ones of young girls displayed on the walls of his home. As Hayley dances and poses for the camera, Jeff begins to feel dizzy and disoriented eventually passing out.

He awakens tied to a chair after being drugged. Hayley states that she believes he is a paedophile and that she has been tracking him online. Things go from bad to worse as  she ties a noose around his neck and reveals that she has forged a fake suicide note. It is made clear that the suspected victim has had an action plan from the very start!!

Why watch it ?

There are only a few cast members as the story is heavily focused around the two main characters but I feel that this means that the plot is to the point and adds to the suspense.

One thing that I noticed which I found very interesting was that Hayley wears a red hoody throughout most of the film, not dis-similar to “Little Red Riding hood’ who was intended prey for the wolf in the fairy tale by “The Brothers Grimm” in the 1800’s.  A tagline on the Japanese site for the film reads “Red Hood traps the wolf in his own game”.

I’d really recommend this film, it’s a cracking thriller which makes you think constantly, even as it’s keeping you on the edge of your seat. It’s not always easy viewing, but Hard Candy is an intelligent, challenging film which deserves to be seen !!