Desert Island Discs Revisited

My article on Desert Island Discs from April 2020 has been, by some margin, the most popular page on this site, in terms of number of visitors. Last year, I was approached by some researchers from the Alan Turing Institute about sharing the data with them so that they could do their own analysis. I was delighted to see this Turing Data Story appear on their website in March this year – they have updated my dataset, added further information from Wikipedia and Spotify, and looked at some different questions. Excellent stuff!

Continue reading →

The Impact of Covid-19 on Concerts in England: Update

In this article from the end of 2020 – The Impact of Covid-19 on Concerts in England – I used data from concert-diary to investigate the impact of Covid restrictions on classical concerts in England. Many had been cancelled or postponed, and the market then shifted mainly online, with total activity being substantially down on the previous year. One year on, here is the updated analysis, using concert-diary data to the end of 2021.

Continue reading →

Eurovision Voting: a likely cliff-hanger

As in several recent Eurovision Song Contest finals, this year’s competition in Rotterdam ended with a cliff-hanger, with the result being uncertain right up until the last few votes were revealed. The Italian group Måneskin finally triumphed with their song Zitti E Buoni. In this article I will discuss how the Eurovision voting system is very likely to result in uncertainty until the very last minute.

Continue reading →

The Voice UK: 10 Years of Blind Auditions

A few weeks ago saw the final of the tenth series of The Voice UK – a reality TV singing competition. The first stage of The Voice consists of blind auditions, where contestants sing, unseen by the four coaches whose chairs face away from the stage. If a coach likes what they hear, they press a button to turn around. If more than one coach turns, the contestant chooses which team to join. The blind auditions finish when each coach has a team of ten. Subsequent rounds reduce the field until four remain for the final, with the winner chosen by public vote. This article looks at the blind audition rounds over the ten series.

Continue reading →

The Impact of Covid-19 on Concerts in England

This article uses data from concert-diary to analyse the impact of this year’s Covid-19 restrictions on classical concert activity in England. The website concert-diary.com is a listing of (mainly classical) concerts, primarily in the UK. Any concert promoter is able to submit details of their events, so, whilst not covering all UK concert activity, the listings include a wide range of small and large concerts, in various formats and genres, from across the country. Historical data on the site goes back to the year 2000.

Continue reading →

Christmas Quiz: Name that Carol!

Here is a short festive quiz based on the lyrics of the top 30 carols on the carols.org.uk website. The challenge is to identify the carol from words that appear only in the lyrics of that carol and no other. So “merrily”, for example, only appears in one carol (clue: Ding Dong). It is just for fun – there is no prize other than a smug feeling and whatever you decide to reward yourself with!

Continue reading →