Wednesday, 29 December 2010

HOWZAT MR PONTING?


Big congratulations to the England cricket team for winning the Ashes against Australia. For the first time in 24 years, we retained the Ashes on Australia's home surf and the win was colossal. Not only did we beat them, we destroyed them at Melbourne. Ricky Ponting, a longstanding thorn in England's side and phenomenal cricketer to boot, looked a defeated man from the first test and it's looking like his days are numbered as the Australian captain. This win means so much to the English cricket fans because it's without doubt, the greatest sporting rivalry between two nations. 
As for me, the body clock will now return to normal with no more all-night tv coverage on Sky1. Phew... 

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

THE MISSING LINK?....

  There's been much media coverage lately of the findings by American scientists that Neanderthal Man actually ate vegetables. Well bugger me! Fancy that... There was a long-held view that NM only ate meat and that it was generally sourced from the woolly mammoth. When the woolly mammoth became extinct during the Ice Age, scientists thought that this spelt the end for Neanderthal Man. New research on extracted teeth from NM has found a diet rich in vegetables, lentils and grasses. A true meat and two veg man. Scientists have also found that the vegetation within the diet was also cooked. Amazing that it's taken thousands of years to come to the conclusion that cavemen ate some of the stuff growing around them and easily at their disposable. You can almost see where Gordon Ramsay's gene pool originated from. Speaking of which, the papers have shown some 3D images of Neanderthal Man based on computer generated imagining taken from skull features. I think they have a more than passing resemblance to well known people today. See what you think....




Tom Selleck (left) overdoing the sunbeds a touch. Neanderthal Man (below) using a woolly mammoth's jawbone as an early communication method..






















                                                                                

Walter Matthau (above) musing on his role opposite Jack Lemmon in the Odd Couple. 
Neanderthal Man (left) musing on whether to keep his bathrobe on whilst cooking some artichoke and lentil surprise with his woolly mammoth stew. 












Fatima Whitbread spotted doing some early morning training prior to her olympic javelin gold medal win. Fatima's ethos was always never let a sports bra get in the way of a good throw...
Neanderthal Woman below showing that it's not only the men who can hunter gatherers. All you need is some good good Adidas trainers, a big pair of white knickers and an aversion to shaving...
And finally.... NeMo and SuBo








Monday, 27 December 2010

AMAZINGLY ACCURATE FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS?....


At the request of my footy-mad little nephew following deep discussions yesterday during turkey and mince pies, here's the promised football predictions blog for 2011...


Dream prediction:-  
David Beckham and Ray Wilkins take over management of the England Team. I have everything crossed that Capello goes soon with a big fat pay off and we get some pride, passion and playing skills back into the England squad. Surely Lord Beckham of Leytonstone and Uncle Fester can lead us to winning Euro 2012? 


Top 5 for the Premiership 
1. Manchester United
2. Manchester City
3. Arsenal 
4. Tottenham 
5. Chelsea 


Relegated from Premiership 
West Brom  
Wolves 
Newcastle Utd


FA Cup Winners
Tottenham 


Champions League 
Barcelona  (beating Man Utd in final on penalties)


Golden Boot in Premiership
Tevez


2011 Transfers
Gareth Bale from Spurs to Real Madrid/Barca
Ashley Young from Aston Villa to Man Utd 
Darren Bent from Sunderland to Fulham 
Charlie Adam from Blackpool to Bolton 
David Nugent from Portsmouth to Blackpool 
Clint Dempsey from Fulham to Aston Villa 
Fernando Torres from Liverpool to Man Utd 
Pepe Reina from Liverpool to Man Utd 
Scott Parker from West Ham to Spurs 
Wesley Sneijder from Inter to Man Utd
Andy Carroll from Newcastle to Arsenal? (yeah, I know an Englishman at Arsenal!)


-- the Man Utd predictions are based on the Quatar takeover coming good! 


Premiership Managers Under Threat 
Alan Pardew - a 5 year contract and two games in, but Ashley made a big mistake with Pardew and I can't see him lasting the season or the Toon staying up with him in charge. 
Carlo Ancelotti - he looks unsettled and could be heading back to Italia? 
Mark Hughes - might be in trouble if his best players are sold in January 
Roy Hodgson - looks completely out of his depth at Liverpool. Martin O'Neill surely a better option? 
Avram Grant - West Ham are on the slippery slope and it can't be too long before Grant is on his way out.



Sunday, 26 December 2010

DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME....


  

Well you can't blame a girl for trying but I'm guessing most blokes watching this may just be thinking 'why the bloody hell didn't she use some high tensile zinc plated bolts with projecting 125mm rawlplugs?' I know I did. Pity about the coffee table as well. 
Happy Boxing Day folks... and don't forget... let's be careful out there...

Saturday, 25 December 2010

BIG CHRISTMAS HUGS



Christmas day is nearly over and I'm back home in time for delving my face into the Quality Streets whilst watching Poirot's Murder on the Orient Express. Had all the usual pressies and christmas meal trimmings and feel thoroughly christmassed-out. My favourite present I received this year was from funnily enough my 14 year nephew. Knowing his auntie very well, he'd been to the shops and purchased a rather inspired choice of very fetching snuggy and warm red and white polka dot pyjamas. As I opened them he just said something like 'you'll be able to give really good hugs in those'. You see, the onset of age has turned me into a bit of a serial hugger. Not with any old Tom, Dick or Harry it has to be said, but with those I'm very close to. It came late in life I'm afraid. I have my previous life of being rather aloof, slightly unemotional and held myself rigid at the prospect of anyone venturing into my personal space. I then became friends with a couple of people who turned into my best friends and they hugged me to death at every opportunity, beating any resistance out of me and turned me into this tactile, freely hugging and more sensitive person I no longer recognise. My godsons, nephews and nieces and my best friends are mostly on the receiving end of this new-found hug-fest. Thankfully, they are very good and don't put up too much resistance with the words 'Oh shit, she's coming towards me with one of those Godforsaken bearhugs again'. I recently find this new unashamed need to tell my nearest and dearest that I love them and find no embarrassment in doing so. It's particularly lovely when they genuinely say it back which warms the very cockles of my heart.
Yesterday at work, one of my colleagues and I were having a heart to heart about christmas being an emotional time and then we got chatting about hugging and how she dreaded people throwing their arms around her during the christmas festivities. She went on to reflect that her own mum had never been tactile and this had passed to her and her inability to hug or cuddle her husband or her own children. I found that very poignant and perhaps even a little sad but was also quite humbled that we'd had that talk and that she'd been able to share this with me. So as we were leaving work to go and enjoy some much needed R&R, I gave her a very private and very big hug and although it felt at first like hugging a dead horse, I was pleased to see that she let her guard down and actually hugged me back with genuine warmth. And then we shared a laugh at her guard being chipped away by someone who completely ignored her momentary awkwardness. I texted her this morning with christmas wishes and a cheeky promise of a big fat hug in the new year when I next see her. Exposure is a great thing you see and so is a genuine hug for someone who might just need it...


Thursday, 23 December 2010

PASS ME THE PARACETAMOLS...


Oh my goodness, it's the day after the birthday and boy oh boy have I struggled today. We made a pact last night (as with all the Jolly G outings) that what goes on in Lancaster, stays in Lancaster. I cannot divulge any further information from last night other than there was splendiferous Spanish food at 1725 and mucho expensive vino in a candlelit little restaurant oozing with olde-worlde charm. All I can divulge is that there was random cossack dance routine and a passing reference to Fatima Whitbread's muff aka JC's bearskin hat. 
The only thing left to say is I had a super-duper birthday firstly with the crew at work, and later on with my gorgeous, funny and hugely generous Jolly G buddies. I may be totally knackered today, but it was worth every yawn, every aching muscle from laughing so much and weirdly wobbly leg feeling to be in your three's company last night and indeed every time we all get together. Thanks again RJ, JC and Mother T and not forgetting the very lovely Mr Steve for delivering the cake xx

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME...








It's christmas birthday time today here at Fishfingerbutty Towers.
It's always felt a bit strange having a birthday just before christmas. It's a bit like waiting ages for a bus, then two come along at once. So, I'm up very early this morning to open lovely cards and presents before a birthday breakfast of weetabix and warm milk (it is after all -8 outside). Today I turned down a chance to fly over to Milan in my private jet for a bit of shopping and lunch in preference for a day at work and hours of paperwork. And I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm sharing today with my work colleagues with a full on birthday cake-fest all morning, lunch out at the local pub followed by a quick call in at my parents, then tonight I'm off to Lancaster to catch up with my nursing buddies for a tapas night and catch up. Lancaster beware because the Jolly Girls are reunited tonight and there's always a story when the four of us get together. Post birthday blog to follow... 



Tuesday, 21 December 2010

THE SECRETS OF YOUR PSYCHE?...

There's a new personality test out this week to test your psyche. It's actually a revival of the controversial inkblot shapes introduced by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach. In the 1920's he developed the inkblot test as a way of delving into the subconscious. Truth or total bunkum? Mmmm... the jury's out, but worth a go... 


Do you see...
1. An X-ray image of a chest, showing a red heart, lungs and blood? 
2. An eccentric professor with fringes of white hair, a top knot and big nose? 
3. A stingray or skate? 
If you saw....
1. Suggests you have things welling up inside you that you want to express, but you'd prefer to suffer in silence and not rock the boat. You find it hard to say no in general. 
2. You are benevolent, self-effacing, and a very good friend and thinker.
3. You tend to put yourself second, and are familiar, though not necessarily comfortable, with being elbowed aside by more powerful characters. As a result you can sometimes be apologetic to a fault. 

Do you see...
1. A pair of emus facing each other wearing feather boas? 
2. A beetle or scarab, possibly with crabs claws? 
3. Sunglasses, bras or beard? 
If you saw....
1. You feel the pull of the highlife, though sometimes, you don't like how you feel the next day; you waver between extreme moods, taking yourself too seriously or just not caring. 
2. You are very hard working; success comes naturally to you. You lay your plans and follow them through. 
3. You like dressing up, although you can worry excessively about what people think of you and seek external solutions - a new car, new clothes - to internal problems. 



Do you see...
1. A strong man flexing his muscles? 
2. A scorpion? 
3. Fallopian tubes? 
If you saw....
1. Suggests you are highly capable, mastering everything you turn your hand to. You are naturally gifted and extremely determined. You pride yourself on always being equal to the challenge. 
2. You are highly tuned, like a gymnast, so diet and sleeping can be problematic, since you are physically very sensitive, but not emotionally; anything that smacks of therapy gets on your nerves. 
3. You have a sense of stalled potential of putting an enormous amount into life, yet still waiting for it to start. Your idea of how things should be - for instance, whom you should be with, what you should be doing - is very vivid, and if reality falls short of expectations, your considerable achievements provide little consolation. 


Do you see...
1. Clown with a runny nose, melting face or someone sticking out their tongue? 
2. A lady in a dress holding her skirts above a pair of jumping dolphins? 
3. A long lost cuddly toy? 
If you saw....
1. Suggests you social and seek out company - no one could call you a recluse. However you do have aloof tendencies, a habit that will cause your friends concern. 
2. You are charismatic, often in a darkly brooding way. This often draws attention to you, which is often good for your ego, but does not necessarily add much to your self-esteem. 

Monday, 20 December 2010

YOU'RE HIRED....

   

Just to finish off a tv heaven week of finals, The Apprentice drew to a close last night with Stella English winning the coveted Apprentice series and landing a job with Lord Alan Sugar. Cool as a cucumber Stella was the consistent performer throughout the tasks and a worthy winner. She was pitted against the very capable Chris in the final where they were tasked with producing a new concept alcohol drink and pitch it to a product launch consisting of alcohol marketing brand industry leaders. Stella went for a bourbon mix with spices and saw a niche in the market of targeting the female market. She got it just about right on every front and I loved the name of the brand - Urbon. Chris went for 'Prism', a white rum mixed with pomegranate and designed a uber eye-catching pyramid bottle which won him lots of plaudits. He fell down by producing a pink drink which apparently would put off the male market from drinking Prism. Was it only me who thought the design looked like a bottle of aftershave? It looked a bit gimmicky although bravo to him for going for it. And so to the final boardroom scenes which are always tense as Lord Sugar builds up to hiring his new Apprentice. All was going well until Stella started her plea and it all got a little desperate with her pleading to be taken on and resorting to attack mode on her counterpart. I was squirming thinking that she was talking her way out of the job, but in the end she won through although I doubt she will win many Miss Popularity contests amongst her peers. 


I also managed to catch last night's BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2010. It's usually a dullish occasion given over to two hours of honouring sports people and their achievements over the year. AP McCoy took the big prize for his horse-racing achievements. Ian Holloway lost out on Coach of the Year for his monumental work at Blackpool FC in getting them to the Premiership and not doing a bad job once we're there. However, the headlines today will go to David Beckham for being the youngest recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. He went up to collect his award and received what must have been the longest standing ovation I've ever heard or witnessed. It was totally moving and humbled David Beckham into stunned tear-filled silence. His wife and children were also there to witness his award and it was extremely moving to see the high regard this man has amongst his contemporaries and indeed the nation as a whole. Please God he one day leads out England to win the World Cup. Surely managing England to much needed success is the only achievement left for Mr Beckham? That is unless he enters Strictly Come Dancing, The Apprentice or the X Factor....

Sunday, 19 December 2010

I WISH THEY ALL COULD BE LANCASHIRE GIRLS....


Ok, I've created a monster here by mentioning that I liked Katy Perry and Snopp Doggy Dogg's California Girlz and losing all my musical cred by listing her song in my favourite songs from 2010. Yes, it's a good summer pop song but Bernie Taupin here feels it needed a bit more grit to the lyrics in order to appeal to a very lucrative market - and we're not talking the Far East, we're talking the North West of England. Let me therefore introduce you to my very special re-working of California Girlz lyrics alluding to the wonder of the gorgeous Northern ladies particularly from the Blackpool region. I shan't be holding my breath for receiving a Brit or Ivor Novello Award. 


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... Lancashire Girlz...

[Whippet Snoop Dog]
Greetings me loved ones
Let's take a journey

[Katy Ramsbottom]
I know a place
Where the grass is really greener
Cold, wet and wild
There must be something in the water
Sippin' vodka  and Red Bull
Laying underneath the North Pier
(Undone)
The boys break their necks
Tryin' to peep down our new bras
(At us)

You could travel the world
But nothing comes close to the Fylde Coast
Once you party with us
You'll be falling in love
(Oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh)

Lanc-a-shire gurls, we're unforgettable
Blackpool rock, a pink Primark top
Sun-lamped skin, so hot, we'll melt your fish and chips
(Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh)
(Oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh)
Lancashire gurls, we're undeniable
Corned beef legs, we got it on lock
Fylde Coast represent, now put your hands up
(Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh)
(Oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh)

Sex on Fleetwood beach
We don't mind sand in our stilettos
We freak, in my Clio
JLS is on the stereo

You could travel the world
But nothing comes close to the Golden Mile
Once you party with us
You'll be falling in love
(Oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh)

Lancashire gurls, we're unforgettable
Donner kebabs, thousand island on top
Bikini-waxed skin, so hot, we'll melt your pubic hair
(Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh)
(Oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh)


Lancashire gurls, we're undeniable
Easy lay, we got it on lock
Fylde Coast represent, now put your hands up
(Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh)
(Oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh)


[Whippet Dogg raps]
Orange tanned, fat and ready,
turn it up 'cause it's getting heavy!
Wild, wild Fylde coast,
these are the girls I love the most!
I mean the ones,
I mean, like, she's the one,
kiss her, touch her, squeeze her baps!

The girl's a lark,
she drives a Micra and lives on Grange Park,
I'm okay, I might be gay,
I love the scene, just like I love Poulteen.,
Lytham Beach and Staining,
summer time is everything!

Home boys hanging out,
all this arse hanging out!
UGGS, leggings, jeggings, no weddings,
Just a king and a queen,
Fishfingerbutty, my lady, (Yeah)
You looking here baby (uh, huh)!
I'm all up on you,
'Cause you representing Lancashire (oh yeah)!



STRICTLY ZZZZZZZZZZZ....



AAAAARRGGHH! For the past eleven weeks, I have watched every episode of Strictly Come Dancing and perhaps even more sadly, I've set the Sky+ to record the spin off show - Strictly Come Dancing It Takes Two. I've avidly watched every dance, every dress design, every budding romance and listened to every musical accompaniment. Last night was the big finale show where the last three standing had four dances to perform before one of the couples would eventually receive the revered glitterball trophy. The final was split into two shows and I watched every second of the first show and eagerly looked forward to the second show starting at 9.05pm. 
Why oh why then, did I fall asleep at 9.04pm, crashed out on my sofa and awoke several hours later with a rather fetching Amy Winehouse hairdo, a zombie-like walk with arms outstretched for imaginary hurdles and a bladder at breaking point. And I dribbled on to my cushions. It wasn't pretty let me tell you. 


Mental note to self:- 
1. Set Sky+ if moving into horizontal position on sofa. 
2. Remember you are getting older and late nights will catch up with you 
3. Try to stop being supernurse and working too many hours 


So after a huge night of further sleep, this morning saw me cranking up BBC iPlayer to see that Kara Tointon and her Russian love God Artem won the final and took the prized glitterball. Didn't I pick her from week 1? Yep, self-congratulatory pat on the back to the narcoleptic supernurse and super talent-spotter methinks....     

Saturday, 18 December 2010

BEST TRACKS OF 2010?....




Best songs of 2010? I thought this would be quite easy, but believe me it wasn't. There was plenty of Glee, X Factor rubbish and boring R&B which was churned out. Same old, same old I'm afraid. Hidden away in the depths of download hell, there's been the odd glimmer of brilliance, innovative and original music, not to mention a few comebacks and just some really good pop songs. 
So pop pickers, here's my take on the best tracks of this year. Feel free to offer further suggestions to those golden nuggets I've missed... 


Florence and the Machine - Dog Days  
At last, someone with originality not to mention a decent pair of lungs. She reminds me of the kookiness of Kate Bush and the voice and presence of Siouxsie (and the Banshees). Dog Days starts simply with harps, builds up with the handclaps and then assaults your senses with the drumbeat and infectious chorus. Brilliant.

Alicia Keys feat. Jay-Z - Empire State of Mind part II
Superb vocals from a massively talented singer / songwriter mixed with the magic from Mr Jay-Z. Classic. 

Eliza Doolittle - Pack Up 
This song reminds me so much of my working life this summer, moving offices and being part of a small team of raving looneys who sang and danced along to the lyrics whilst it was constantly on the radio. Great pop song and great stress buster for nurses. 

Plan B - She Said
A track from the concept album 'The Defamation of Strickland Banks', this track took us back to the 1960's but with a contemporary feel. It's seriously good and very catchy. 

Adele - Make You Feel My Love
Originally written by Bob Dylan and recorded by Billy Joel, Adele puts her unique voice to it and turns this track into a masterpiece. Simple song, heartbreaking lyrics, outstanding vocals. Ooh, it's so good. 

Kings of Leon - Radioactive 
Hard act to follow after Sex on Fire and Use Somebody but Radioactive is pretty damn good even though I'm hearing a slight nod in the direction of U2. 

Take That - The Flood
The boys are back with Robbie Williams making it the fab five once more. I'm not a big fan of boy bands but these oldies just keep getting better and better and recording some decent music. I really like this track and the sharing of vocals between Robbie and Gary Barlow

Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dog - California Girlz
Oh blimey, part of me is embarrassed to include this one as it's girly, slushy and even a little bit slutty. It's also an unforgettably good summer pop record and hear it once and it's in your head all day.  

THE ICE QUEEN MELTETH....


Outside there's a blanket of snow. Temperatures have plummeted again and it finally fells christmassy at Fishfingerbutty Towers especially now the tree festooned by lights has finally made its yearly appearance. I feel (nicely) trapped indoors with only a roaring fire, a fully stocked fridge and a zillion tracks on my iPod for company this morning. I've exhausted all christmas opportunities by watching Jimmy Stewart in 'It's a Wonderful Life' and eating 14 Quality Street strawberry creams and a tangerine for breakfast. I'm a little restless, I've got a few butterflies in my belly and my mind is wandering whilst I find myself smiling wistfully. Call me sentimental (no-one normally accuses me of that), but Corinne Bailey Rae and her beautifully moving version of 'Like a Star' sums up my mood. Oh my goodness, what is going on? 

THIS WEEK'S TV FINALS...

Wowsers, what a week for the telly addicts.  It kicked off with the 'I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here' final with the win going to Stacey Solomon (who previously came third in  last year's X Factor!). This year's IACGMOOH surpassed previous years due to some key celebrity moments - generally from Gillian McKeith who fainted and screamed all the time, and Shaun Ryder whose encounter with the snake was tv gold. The snake has certainly never been the same since. 
Last weekend we were treated to hours and hours of the grand final of the X Factor. This year has seen more than its fair share of controversy with tales of fixing, fall outs, and fabrication. Matt Cardle screeched and cried his way to the winner's title and a million pound recording contract. Matt, on nearing the final and through yet another tear-filled performance, told the viewing audience that his song was a tribute to a family friend who had died tragically leaving her 4 boys to be looked after by his parents. Of course the British press have exposed the real story bearing no resemblance to Matt's sob story. Tut tut the X Factor publicity machine and tut tut viewing audience for churning out this crap and actually believing it. Matt won the title but I still maintain that Rebecca Ferguson (who came 2nd) was the star. Pure class and I'm sure her star is in the ascendancy.  




Wednesday night saw the semi final of The Apprentice and we now know that this year pits the ultimate man v woman final. Posh boy with the polished academic background Chris is up against ex council estate girl done good, the very corporate, cool as cucumber and very competent Stella. Of course I'm rooting for the girl to win the top prize of the £100k contact working for Lord Alan Sugar's multi-billion pound corporation. This week the rather odious and gobby little upstart Stuart Baggs whose self-proclaimed moniker 'The Brand' finally got caught out in the interview stage for the annoying little twerp he is. Stuart Baggs, for all his huffing and puffing and claims of global brilliance and being sent by God, was superb television. Finally watching him squirm and try and blag his way out of trouble was the stuff of legend. Best ever series BBC - well done for a series that just gets better and better. 




Tonight it's the biggie in Fishfingerbutty Towers as it's the Strictly Come Dancing Final. Three couples left and thankfully, the best three are fighting it out in the final. There's Pamela Stephenson, who at 61 is doing a brilliant job and showing that grannies can be sexy, fun and strut their stuff probably better than women half her age. There's Matt Baker who is the Mr Nice Guy of the competition. A superb natural dancer who mixes gymnastic ability with a pretty easy on the eye cha-cha-cha. And then there's Kara Tointon. A girl who has just got better and better and is now receiving plaudits that she is actually as good as a professional dancer. There's been some on and off screen chemistry with her brooding Russian professional partner which has added an extra spice to their dance routines. I think any one of these dancers could lift the trophy tonight as they've all been utterly superb to watch, however I'm hoping that dancing prevails and the best dancer wins it. Kara and Artem - my money is on you two. 



Friday, 17 December 2010

TURKEY AND TEQUILLA'S....

It's christmas party season and employees up and down the land will be tripping the light fantastic on the lead up to christmas eve. Our lot are no exception. Today's the day our team hit the tiles to a swanky restaurant for a christmas meal followed by an impromptu conga around Blackpool's hotspots. 
My experience of past christmas parties prior to my nursing career tended to be the stuff of legend. We were provided with lavish parties with cabaret acts, disco's and free bars. And then the fireworks started. Ordinarily professional and respectable people (generally married) would turn into mad disco-dancing love-Gods/temptresses with a bellyfull of free booze in them. And then there was the fighting. IT and business is a testosterone-busting environment and when drink is consumed at disproportionate levels, young bucks tended to get a bit gobby and found the christmas party an ideal forum to air their grievances towards their boss. Plenty of brawls were witnessed whilst 'So here it is, Merry Christmas.. everybody's having fun' is banging away through the disco sound systems. And how could I not mention the sexual shananigans of a quick snog on the dancefloor followed by couples heading off upstairs to enjoy the hotel's other facilities. 
And so today's christmas party I'm sure will be much be subdued. I mean, a bunch of nurses heading off towards Blackpool? What could be more innocent than that? 

Friday, 10 December 2010

HAVE YOU HEARD THE ONE ABOUT...

   
Britain has produced some brilliantly funny and innovative comedians both past and present. And then there's Frankie Boyle. Glaswegian Boyle is renowned for his controversial stand-up routines and regular appearances on Mock the Week. He's now back in the news for complaints to Channel 4 following comments made during his recent show Tramadol Nights. The disabled son of Katie Price (aka Jordan)and Peter Andre was the target for Frankie's humour after saying 'Jordan and Peter Andre are still fighting each other over custody of Harvey - eventually one of them will lose and have to keep him'. He then added 'I have a theory about the reason Jordan married a cage fighter - she needed a man strong enough to stop Harvey from f****** her'. 
Katie Price and her nice but dim ex-husband Peter Andre are not exactly shrinking violets when it comes to publicity. Their private lives are over-exposed to the media for all it's worth and they have made a very tidy living off the back of very little in the way of discernible talent. Love or hate this couple, but you can't ignore their contribution to today's celebrity culture. Whilst still married, much of their  appeal was the couple's devotion towards their children and in particular the love towards Katie's disabled son Harvey. Eight year old Harvey suffers an eye disorder which has left him blind, he has a condition that has made him gain excessive weight and he also suffers from autism which has led to behavioural problems. 
After Tramadol Nights was aired, Katie's management team initially requested that Channel 4 apologises for airing the programme. If no apology was received by yesterday's 5pm deadline, a complaint will be lodged with OFCOM followed by a visit to the Price lawyers. Katie has subsequently made the following statement...
'Harvey Price is a little miracle. Every day he overcomes so many difficulties with the help of family and medical experts and has so many battles to win'. 'I love him and am deeply proud to be his mother. If Mr Boyle had a tenth of his courage and decency he would know that to suggest, let alone think funny, that Harvey may sexually attack me is vile and deeply unfair. To bully this unbelievably brave child is despicable'. 
I'm not a big fan of Katie Price or her choice in partners. I'm dismayed that women look to her a role model for basically getting her baps out, having lots of cosmetic surgery and getting as rich as Croesus in the process. However, I admire her lioness protecting her cubs stance against Frankie Boyle's comments masquerading as 'alternative, cutting-edge and satirical comedy'. 
It's not the first time Frankie Boyle has courted controversy. In another section of Tramadol Nights, Boyle says Jade Goody's widower Jack Tweed is 'the luckiest guy in the world'. 'In the three weeks they were married she got thinner, better looking and her p**** got tighter'. Jade Goody died of cervical cancer aged 27 leaving behind two young boys. A previous stand-up routine saw many complaints after 'jokes' about downs syndrome children.  


Boyle's fans claim he target celebrities because they are over-inflated, overpaid and fair game because they court publicity. They also claim his comedy pushes boundaries.  




I've nothing against free speech and like most people, I enjoy comedy and like nothing more than listening to a comedian who is on top of his/her game and provides the kind of material that gives me a few belly laughs. However, Frankie Boyle's material is at best distasteful and at worst, to coin Ms Price's words, 'vile'. Mysogany, and racism is nothing new - Jim Davidson made a good career from it, however disabled children and cancer sufferers are not great comedy subjects I'm afraid. I thought we'd moved on from targeting people weaker than ourselves but it seems that anyone is fair game for poking fun at. There are topics that although controversial, should be faced and talked about, but never for the sake of cheap laughs. Perhaps Frankie should volunteer to work side-by-side with nurses on cancer wards or stand in the shoes of parents who care for a severely disabled child and survive on a pittance of social security benefits and then come back and continue to make a fortune from stand-up routines,  DVD's, book sales and tv appearance fees. And if after that he still manages to sleep at night with his conscience intact, then shame on him.    

Monday, 6 December 2010

ASHES TO ASHES....

There's an exhibition just opened in London showing an array of Ghanian coffins. Not a topic of art or interest which instantly springs to mind, but when you see them, you realise these Ghanians like a good send off in pretty elaborate style. The most elaborate coffins are for the chiefs or businessmen and are traditional amongst the Southern Ga people. I absolutely love the kitsch factor and have an order placed for a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk coffin. Call me old fashioned, but you can't beat a bit of purple at a funeral. Here we go then for a tour of Ghana's finest...






    

Thursday, 2 December 2010

NOT YOUR AVERAGE CHARITY CHRISTMAS CARD.....



Christmas is approaching and you're looking for inspiration for you christmas cards? Brace yourselves for the latest internet sensation of embarrassing festive photos that have actually been used on their christmas cards. Quite why the photo above has the female members dressed all in matching pyjamas and the dad topless is simply grimsville. What were they thinking of? 




It beggars belief doesn't it? I'm not sure how I'd feel if I got this landing on my welcome mat. I'd probably think that the parents were incredibly naive or just very stupid to allow their children to be photographed in this way. Very, very strange and a little unnerving...  




I bet I can hazard a guess as to whose idea this was. Here's a clue... check out who's holding court at the centre of the photo. Yep, funtime daddy. Prick




The posing, the tartan, the mismatched chairs, the carpet, the curtains and the cheapskate christmas tree...Stick to Hallmark scenes of father christmas and reindeer p-leeeze. 




It was all going well... happy, smiling faces.. relaxed and spontaneous feel to the posing of each member.. and then you look at the baby and where he's resting his hand and it all goes a bit un-christmas-like. He has a great expression though.. 




Ok, you're on holiday and minding your own business on the sun loungers.. oiled up and bedecked with latest chick read and iPod.. then suddenly Brian and Brenda park themselves next to you and for the next thirteen days you can't shake the gruesome twosome off despite every effort to disguise yourself  and feign illness. And then you make the fatal mistake of swopping addresses thinking nothing will ever come it and then this appears on December 1st with a message inside on the lines of.. 'Hiya! remember us from Spain? We thought we'd drive over the 320 miles to see you. We'll arrive on December 1st and stay a couple of nights with you. Would love to share our 280 holiday snaps with you to remember the great times we had at the Playa de Dia Rio. Hope you like dogs!!!'. And then you reach for the pump action shotgun...





Love this one the most particularly the discarded bottle of booze. 



WHAT'S IN A WORD?


It's approaching the end of year when I look back on new words that have entered our consciousness over the past 12 months through media over exposure. The Oxford English Dictionary has now added the 'new words' of 2010 which include many influences from the internet. Here's the additions...


Staycation  - staying at home money saving alternative to holidaying abroad. 
Zombie bankers, paywalls, freemiums, bossnapping - rich pickings from the City's financial meltdown. 


Unfriend, defriend  - taken from the practice of dropping a contact from your Facebook account. 


Tweetup - organised gatherings through Twitter. 


Simples - enbedded in the nation's consciousness following the 'Compare the Meerkat' advertising campaign.  


Jeggings - another portmanteau word when jeans and leggings are combined to describe a new fashion style. 


Here's my suggestions of words which have driven me mad during 2010. Rather than include them in the OED, please can they obliterated and never to be spoken about again? 


Wagner - the new word for looking like a 70's pornstar and singing badly 
Vevuzela - getting the horn was never this annoying. Also reminds our nation of the abysmal performance of England in South Africa this summer. 
Wikileaks - I still haven't got a clue what is means 
iPad - aka rich man's toy for people who need to get out more
Justin Bieber - another word for excrement 


Any other words  you find yourself using but really wish you didn't? 

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

CHARLIE, COFFEE BARS AND CUCUMBERS....

It was around this time a few years back that on a whim and a Ryanair jet, myself and a mate took ourselves off to Amsterdam. If I thought it was cold here at the moment, Amsterdam was positively arctic. We caught a train into old Amsterdam and from the minute we set foot onto the platform, were asked by unsavoury characters whether we needed 'Charlie'. Why the hell would I want a crappy, cheap perfume from the 1970's I thought until I reached for my 'Urban, Language of the Street Mo-Fo dictionary' and found 'Charlie' also means cocaine. Head down and trying to look shocked that anyone could be so rude as to assume we had similar tastes to Amy Winehouse, we scuttled off to a nearest taxi with the name of our hotel. The driver took us on a 20 minute journey of places of interest ie. the Red Light District before plonking us outside the hotel. With a cute smile and saucy wink, he extracted a wad of Euros from us and bade farewell. The next morning's orientation walk confirmed that the train station was about a 5 minute walk away from our hotel. Good tip no.1 - never trust a winking Dutchman and do your research first. Good tip no.2 - Pre-trip, learn the Dutch phrase 'rip me off you Dutch tosser and I'll remove your testicles using the sharp point of my wooden clogs'   Our first day was spent shopping, trawling round coffee bars and then we decided to take a tram to see the Van Gogh museum. We asked the hugely moustached and smoking tram driver to let us know when we were near the Van Gogh as we were new to all things Amsterdam. Being chattering women, we got carried away in girly conversation like you do before Magnum PI breaks the gossip, looks towards our direction and with a bored expression and pointed finger, pipes up 'You...Fack Off'. Both looking perplexed, I point to myself and innocently enquire 'me?'. He repeated again 'You...Fack Off'. With a pulsating neck and my blood boiling (I have a reputation for a quick temper), I made my way forward through the hushed carriage and said something on the lines of 'now just you hang on a minute mister. Just because we were talking a little louder than usual about handbags, that doesn't give you the right to be rude. I'm sorry that our countrymen couldn't save Anne Frank a bit sooner, but just you remember that Denis Bergkamp and Ruud Van Nistelrooy have made a very good living in English football and you should remember that before pointing your bony Dutch finger at me in that tone'. He took another drag of his cigarette and rolling his eyes upwards, a fellow passenger then intervenes with 'excuse me ladeesh, but the driver ish trying to tell you that you are now outshide the Van Gogh museum'. So with a gulp and a nonchalant turn of our trainers, we mustered a very small 'sorry about that' before alighting to mutterings of 'Bloody English' in the background. Van Go? Van Goff? Evidently not, for it's pronounced 'fack off'. (How to say Van Gogh ?)
The Fack Off museum was brilliant, as was the Anne Frank Museum. Slightly obscured view however when observed through sunglasses and hooded tops so as to remain anonymous in case we bumped into Tramcar Van Driver. That night, we hit the Red Light District and it's as tacky and as gloriously voyeuristic as I'd imagined it to be. Purely for research purposes, we visited every sex shop and giggled our way through trying on gimp masks, asking the assistants 'excuse me, what is this used for?' whilst remaining as straight faced as possible. We headed back to the hotel with picnic food and decided to watch Moulin Rouge on the hotel tv pay cinema view thing. Movie selected, food prepared, beers cooled, duvets and pillows sorted, pj's on in dizzy expectation of a good film. TV switched on and the screen went dead, followed by a snowy and buzzing screen. Muttering 'buggering bollocks' all the way to reception in my comfy pj's and matching slippers, I asked whether someone could come up and fix it so that we could watch Moulin frigging Rouge. Ten minutes later and a young, blond and very good looking young man enters our room and turns a few knobs, points the remote at the screen, adjusts the aerial and we finally get a picture. Unfortunately, not the expected Moulin Rouge but a rather distasteful and couldn't-take-your-eyes-off-the-screen-no-matter-how-hard-you-tried porn film. We're squirming as Dick Van Dyke is doing the business to a grunting bored looking lady and this young Dutch man is still fiddling with knobs to improve the colour contrast. Then he turns up the volume whilst the female porn star brings herself to boiling point. Cue us two sat on the edge of our beds, colour drained from our faces and with heads in our hands. At last, the picture was fixed and we then had to negotiate with blondie that this wasn't actually the film we ordered and pointing at the screen expressed that arse certainly didn't belong to Ewan McGregor. With disbelief and a shake of the head, Rudy tuned us in to the non-porn film channel and I'm sure I heard a vague whispering of 'bloody English'. We missed the first 20 minutes of MR, but were made aware of new and unusual things to do with cucumbers. And I don't mean making Indian raita....
Amsterdam? I love it yet feel uneasy at its in-your-face, all consuming tolerance. Well worth a visit to see its uniqueness but go with an open mind and a sense of humour to laugh at the absurdity. We certainly did (and still do)...


    

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

BY 'ECK IT'S BRASS MONKEYS OUT THERE...

Brrrr... the big chill continues in the UK this week with roads shut, schools being shut, airports nearly shut and trains not departing ie. shut. This morning at stupid o'clock ie. 7.20am, I walked out of my front door with toast and jam stuck nonchalantly in my mouth only to be met by a frozen windscreen and iced-up locks that refused all help to open via my frantic waving and pointing of my central locking fobbed keyring. Rather surprisingly, despite my high-pitched pleading of 'open up NOW you bastard', the door still refused to open. Once over that hurdle, I get into my car and after thawing out my fingers and losing three layers of skins from peeling them back from the steering wheel, I noticed the temperature dial was showing -7c. The journey to work was 30 minutes of hell mastering black-iced roads and spinning my wheel furiously to avoid skidding off into mothers with prams, old ladies in wheelchairs and other cars that probably don't smell of wet dogs. Hyperventilating and sweating at the prospect of coming close to losing my no claims bonus, I left my car and made the treacherous walk across the car park. What is it about age that robs you of total fearlessness? Years ago I would have walked across that car park without a care in the world. I would have done some exhibition glides and skids to the general amusement of my friends. If I fell I would have done a couple of showboating somersaults, dusted myself down and laughed it off. Nowadays, I walk with arms extended for balance, legs totally stiff and kind of shuffle with a grimace akin to a condemned man about to meet his maker on the gallows. I grip cars, fences, walls ANYTHING so long as I stay on my feet. And all the time I'm talking to myself in that mad old woman way 'I'm gonna fall, I'm GOING TO FALL'. It's not pretty. 
And the hazards of being a community nurse is that I have to leave the sanctity of my office and go and visit people which means I have to start the whole stressful process again, brown paper bag at the ready. It's been hell, total hell. 
Of course if you live in somewhere like Norway or Canada, this is all very commonplace and normal. In Britain, we are totally useless at any weather which is different from grey skies and moderate rain. Heatwaves close schools and kills lots of old people through dehydration. And that's when the temperature goes above 20 degrees C. Floods are a nightmare - not on the scale of the tsunami you understand. We're talking floods that gives an opportunity for Brian and Lucinda Crappingly-Forbes (retired teachers) to free their canoes from their garages or from the roof rack of their Citroen Picasso and go kayaking down the high street in search of a Warburtons loaf and to post a couple of letters. 
And then there's snow and ice. We have the finest meteorology technology powered by satellite and very clever people at the Met Office. They predict the weather with alarming accuracy and yet we're still massively unprepared for it. There's never enough gritters, pavements remain untreated and forget the notion of snow ploughs as it doesn't happen. A bit of snow (and we're talking a couple of inches here) and London is practically on its knees. Commuters can't get into the city and no-one gets home. Chaos, total chaos. This is November and they're predicting worse for the next 3 months. 
I'm tying two squash rackets to my boots as I type and taking out insurance for a broken hip. In the words of the Scout movement...Be prepared