Suffolk rockers edging Christmas battle
SUFFOLK rockers The Darkness have been installed as firm favourites to be top of the charts at Christmas.As copies of their new CD flew from the shelves in record stores, bookies slashed the odds to 3-1 on for their single, Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) to hit number one this Sunday.
By Sarah Chambers
SUFFOLK rockers The Darkness have been installed as firm favourites to be top of the charts at Christmas.
As copies of their new CD flew from the shelves in record stores, bookies slashed the odds to 3-1 on for their single, Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) to hit number one this Sunday.
The EADT and BBC Radio Suffolk have joined forces to back the Lowestoft-based band to become Suffolk's first number one in half a century of pop charts.
Meanwhile, The Darkness stars Justin and Daniel Hawkins are also getting support from their old primary school at Yoxford.
Two decades ago, Justin and Daniel would have been practising the recorder at school.
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Yesterday , pupils at the Hawkins brothers' old school, some of whom are the children of their old schoolmates, were busy with their own Christmas production, a musical based on the story of Robin Hood.
Although The Darkness's music tends to appeal more to an older age range, those pupils familiar with their latest single are hopeful it will make it to the top of the Christmas charts.
"It's great," said Bobbie French and Bess Noakes Kettel, both aged eight.
Roan Fryer, also eight, said he had not yet heard the Christmas single but thought their previous song was "brilliant".
"I would like to be in a band like The Darkness," he said.
Headteacher Peter Scuffil, who taught the two boys, has managed to hear some of his former pupils' music, although he has yet to see them perform.
"Better than Westlife is all I can say – much more fun," he said. "They are an amusing group."
Mr Scuffil admits he is not a fan of 70s music, and The Darkness's music is not particularly his "cup of tea", but he appreciates their humorous approach.
"I think the band's much better than a lot of the things I have heard on Top of the Pops," he said.
He recalls the brothers as talented youngsters who could have succeeded in any number of fields.
"Both Justin and Daniel were extremely nice pupils, both very clever boys and both artistically gifted, Justin in particular," he said.
Justin, now the band's exhibitionist front man, was very imaginative, he said.
"He was both fun and sophisticated at the same time and clever, so in many ways the world was his oyster," he said.
"I really hope that they are extremely successful with this song."
Both of the boys went to the school until they were nine, and were taught in their last two years by Mr Scuffil.
"They were not show-offs at all. Justin was rather a quiet boy, and Daniel neither quiet nor noisy," he recalled.
One of the school's claims to fame is that the boys would have been introduced to a range of musical instruments while they were there, and played music. Both Justin and Daniel learnt the recorder amongst other instruments during their time at the school, although Mr Scuffil does not recall Justin singing.
"I am sure they were both excellent," he said.
Ladbrokes yesterday slashed the odds on the Lowestoft rockers reaching Christmas number one from 4/7 to 1/3, while the chances of the Pop Idol 12 have drifted dramatically from 7/2 to 8/1.
Michael Andrews and Gary Jules remain second favourites at 3/1 and could cost the industry a six figure sum after being 50/1 in November.
Ladbrokes spokesman Warren Lush said: "It's a case of saying Happy Christmas to the Pop Idol 12 but their war for top spot looks over."
? Pop band Busted, featuring Charlie Simpson, from Woodbridge, have cleaned up at this year's Smash Hits Poll Winners awards.
They bagged five top awards, including best band in the world and best album.