Sunday, 31 January 2010

AT THE END OF THE DAY...

I just want to touch base with you about this to make sure we're singing from the same hymn sheet....
Is it just me or do some words and phrases that really hack you off? I noticed the trend for 'management speak' years ago when being sent under duress to corporate training events. Some twonk with a head full of American motivational psychology books would stand in front of a whiteboard (later a powerpoint screen) and say phrases like 'brain storming' and 'window of opportunity'. Hours passed by whilst I sat there with a glazed expression scoffing all the free biscuits with coffee. Thank God I took redundancy as I feared that the longer I stayed, the more I would become accustomed to using the same phrases. I took the money and went offline so to speak..

Nowadays, the influx of more and more talent-based programmes and US sitcoms have seen more Americanized colloquialisms creeping into the English language. Here's some of the words and phrases which makes me think I now live on the set of Friends / Hannah Montana / the X Factor / American Idol rather than good old Blighty.

Allow me to run these past you...

soooooo - as in 'that's soooooo last season'
random - as in 'wow, that's a bit random' Is it? Is it really?
guys - as in you guys, thanks guys, hey guys, wow guys.
briddish - used mainly in sports presenting for the word 'British'. That's British with a T.
basically - as in 'basically, I'm just a tosspot, basically'. You said it.
cool - particularly when pronounced 'kooo-ul'.
take a chill pill
chillax
dude
babygirl/ babyboy - particularly when used in the context of an adult male/female
OH MY GOD - said far too frequently especially by teenage girls
Whatever - see above
hun - as in 'what's up hun?' 'love you hun'
babe - as in 'what's up babe?' 'love you babe'
110% - as in 'I'm going to give it 110%'. No really, 100% is sufficient you tosspot
jedward - or any portmanteau words. See also garriage for gay marriage.
do you know what? - as in 'do you know what.. I gave that 110%'
lmao - as in Laughed My Arse Off. Really, is that anatomically possible?

I'm open to any further examples of toss-speak. Just keep me in the loop ok?


Saturday, 30 January 2010

A TALE OF TWO GROSVENORS

The top 10 dirtiest hotels in the UK were revealed this week by traveller reviews on Tripadvisor.com. Eight were in London, one in York, but the dirtiest and worst reviews went to the Grosvenor Hotel in Blackpool.


Some of the best reviews about the Grosvenor said things like 'sticky carpets', 'smelly', 'ceiling fell in on me when I was in the bath', 'filthy'. The reviews were from guests who were charged £55 for 2 nights and for 2 people. That equates to £13.75 per night per guest. If there's a hint of 'you get what you pay for' from the management of this hotel, then shame on them. Blackpool has always prided itself on its cheap and cheerful boarding houses and B&B's which are run with pride and high degree of cleanliness. They have to be. It's a long hard season made even worse for the hoteliers with a recession and competition from foreign holiday resorts. Anyone who lives in the Blackpool area gets disheartened about the town's much maligned image. Parts of the town are quite frankly a bit grim and plans for redevelopment are well underway. Bad publicity about dirty hotels like the Grosvenor hurts the town and hurts the people who live here and make their living in Blackpool.


And so to another hotel sharing the same name but very, very different in so many ways. I was lucky enough to stay at the wonderful 5 star Chester Grosvenor Hotel for a girlie nurses weekend spa treat. From the minute you walk through the door, you realise that you never want to leave. It was glorious, decadent, supreme and excellent in every way. It's so good, I'm thinking of having 'I've stayed at the Chester Grosvenor' tattooed on my forearm. I'm joking of course, but if you've never been, give yourself a treat and go and stay there.

The moral of this story? Staying in a cheap hotel doesn't mean it has to be filthy and smelling like a sewer. Providing clean, good value for money accommodation and good service will pay dividends. More visitors will stay and return back as the reputation increases.
Staying in a 5 star luxury hotel doesn't automatically mean it will be excellent. It doesn't always guarantee that as a paying guest you will receive special and courteous service. It doesn't mean that everything will work in your room nor that your room will be too hot or too cold or too noisy.

It shouldn't mean you get what you pay for. Sometimes, hotels just get it right despite the tariff....

OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN...

There's a media frenzy today following the furore surrounding the Chelsea and England captain John Terry's secret affair with the wife of clubmate Wayne Bridge. This follows Terry's lawyers trying to get a gagging order preventing details of the fling, but a judge yesterday overturned the court ban. The judge stated that he thought that the £170,000 week football star was concerned only with protecting his reputation and sponsorship deals. What reputation is that exactly?

The reputation that's seen numerous alleged romps with women? One in particular occurred in a nightclub toilet with a young lady on crutches. Classy

The reputation that cheats on your wife and family with a clubmate's wife?

The reputation that recently saw Terry organising a secret tour round the Chelsea training ground apparently in exchange for £10,000 cash?

The reputation that has seen Terry in the past being arrested for affray and wounding at a nightclub?

The reputation that saw him sobbing like a big girl when Chelsea lost the Champions League final to Manchester United?

For once in his selfish, childish and self-absorbed life, John Terry needs to do the honorable thing and stand down as England captain. He's a great footballer but it appears he is not a great man. Great men lead by example, not necessarily because they are saints, but because they have integrity, honesty and the respect of their peers. This latest infidelity is shocking not just because he has again cheated on his wife and family, but he has cheated on a team mate. That doesn't earn Terry the dressing room respect or support necessary for England's success in this summer's world cup.

The FA should oversee the England captaincy goes to a man who fully deserves to have the honour of leading his side out at Wembley and in South Africa. Someone who leads from the front and instills passion in others that sees England's best chance of winning the world cup since 1966. A family man who is not seen in nightclubs until the early hours sucking the face of some WAG wannabe.

Step forward Wayne Rooney...


Friday, 29 January 2010

MY TOP 10 FOOTBALL KITS

Some time ago, my brother's Pasta Paulie blog contained a cool posting on the colours of football kits and there were several suggestions for the worse kits. The grey kit of Liverpool, any kit from Bradford City, Newcastle United's yellow away kit instantly spring to mind. So, the bad ones have been covered here's my top 10 football kits. By the way folks.. I make no apologies for selecting quite a few nostalgic retro shirts before the days of corporate branding...

I know, I'm biased coming from Blackpool, but this tangerine kit from the 1953 FA Cup Final worn by the great Stanley Matthews is simply sensational. The new kit will also look great in the premiership next season when the 'pool get promoted through the play-offs.


The instantly recognisable kit of the great Brazil conjures up images of Pele, Zico, Socatres, Kaka, Ronaldo amongst others who match sublime skill and trickery on the ball. This kit stirs up my first memories of watching the 1970 world cup finals and seeing Brazil playing mesmorising football. I still love the kit and watching Brazil.


The purple kit of Fiorentina is synonomous with the Serie A team from Florence. I couldn't think of any other team playing in purple until I saw Malaga playing the other night and noticed their away strip was also a purple shirt with silver lettering and black shorts. It's a very cool and stylish kit. It doesn't surprise me an Italian team wears it with such panache.


The 1970's Ajax kit. During the early 70's Ajax were the instigators of 'total football' which took Dutch football to new levels of skill and left the rest of football in their wake. This kit was worn by the great Johann Cruyff, Johan Neeskens and Johnny Repp in establishing the Amsterdam team at the forefront of European football. Another distinctive kit from one of the great European teams.



Barcelona's kit is unique in that somewhat against corporate tradition, it has historically never contained advertising for a sponsors brand name. More recently, Barcelona signed up to an agreement to have the UNICEF logo on the shirts and in the bargain donate a few million dollars a year to the charity. For that alone, Barcelona's kit makes my top 10.


Some kits stir up images of passionate football in front of passionate fans. I'm not a great fan of kits containing the colour green, but make an exception with Celtic's kit. A major force in Scottish football and the first British club to lift the European cup.


Ok, I'm unashamedly biased and there's a hint of sentiment when I selected the Manchester United Munich Memorial shirt from 2008. United wore this one-off kit against the local Manchester City derby and it was iconic for a few reasons. The kit featured no logos, no sponsor names or player names or numbers the emulate the kits worn by the busby babes in the 50's. The Man City team as a mark of respect did likewise. Proceeds from charity auctions of the shirts worn by the players on the day was passed to the families of the players and staff killed in the Munich air disaster. Pity Man Utd lost that day!


Strange choice for a Man United fan, but I've always loved the Manchester City kit. I love the light blue shirt edged in white and the white shorts which doesn't seem to have changed throughout the years. The similar colours of the Lazio kit share the regal-like classy look.


I found out recently that when West Ham was first formed as Thames Ironworks FC, they wore dark blue. A player's dad was a bit of a sprinter in his youth and whilst working up in Birmingham, ended up having a bet with the players of Aston Villa that he could run faster. He won the race, the Villa players couldn't settle the debt so gave the gentleman a set of football kits instead. The claret and blue of West Ham was born (well...borrowed from Aston Villa). Some of the greatest English players of all time have worn the claret and blue of West Ham.


Inter Milan just shaded it into my top 10 kits over their derby rival AC Milan (similar kit with red stripes). AC Milan's kit has too much of the Dennis the Menace about it for me. Inter's 1970's kit with the overly large Italian badge and gold star just looks the epitome of Italian cool.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

HANG ON A MINUTE, I HAVE A HUNCH...

I've become a big fan again of BBC1's Silent Witness. I watched it years ago when Amanda Burton played the forensic pathologist Dr Sam Ryan, then recently caught the programme again and thought it was fab. Even the French and Saunders parody of 'Witless Silence' didn't put me off a great drama. This later series has the very sexy Tom Ward and Emilia Fox playing the two pathologists who put the pieces of the forensic jigsaw together with the help of professor Leo Dalton. Cue a little sexual frisson between the two main characters but it's ok because it offers a nice distraction.

The storylines are good with plenty of twists and turns and scary jump out of your skin moments. Silent Witness is not for the fainthearted as it can be gory with some pretty gruesome scenes. My nursing training gave me the opportunity to attend a few post mortem's and although fascinating, you need a strong stomach and a good smattering of Vick under your nostrils. Excuse the pun, but Silent Witness brings the forensic side of a death and the post mortem to life and it's very realistic (bar the smell).

CSI Crime Scene Investigation in New York, Miami etc are credible versions of Silent Witness whilst focusing on the forensics of crime scenes but having watched them a couple of times, they're just so... American. You know, slick, fast paced, whizzy gadgets and mumbling maverick characters filmed at weird camera angles. The daddy to these shows was the supreme Quincy ME played by Jack Klugman. He was a one man detective, maverick, forensics expert, doctor, pathologist. His tag line in every episode aimed at his trusty Chinese mortuary assistant was 'Sam, hang on a minute, I think I have a hunch'. So, Albert the 80 year old who we thought had died of old age, according to Quincy ME had actually been syringed with small traces of morphine mixed with amphetamine by his nephew who was set to inherit his million pound fortune. Not a hint of formaldehyde or dissected lungs in Quincy ME either...

Silent Witness is back on tonight and I'll no doubt be watching from behind a cushion and trying hard not to feel a little uneasy during the mortuary scenes...











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iPAD SCHMiPAD

Apple has now unveiled their new tablet device called the iPad. CEO Steve Jobs called the touchscreen iPad a cross between an iPhone and a laptop. To me, it's an iSore.

The iPad lets you watch films, play games and browse the web. Interestingly, the iPad will access Apple's launch of iBooks which will be an online book store. Apple's iPad will initially cost between $499 and $829.

I like my gadgets to an extent, but I can't see the iPad taking over the world. It looks a little Early Learning Centre - my first laptop. Time and sales will tell..
Today's technology is moving on at a rapid place, but I'm still a little old-fashioned in some respects. There's nothing I like more than rooting around old book shops. I love buying a book from a place I've visited or when I get one as a gift. Online book stores spells lean times ahead for little book shops, libraries and even Amazon I'd guess are a little worried. Music downloads has also helped in securing the demise of independently owned record shops. Huge HMV megastores on the High Street don't quite have the same appeal as my local Cobweb Records store from my local town which recently closed down after more than 30 years trading.

And just to finish off appearing as a total philistine, I don't get Playstations, Xbox or Wii either. They leave me cold. I especially cringe when I see the adverts for Wii of people strumming a little plastic guitar in front of a tv and thinking they're perhaps the next Jimmy Page. And the name - Wii! That's just urine from where I'm from....

THERE'S ONLY ONE TEAM IN MANCHESTER

There was a sensational game in Manchester tonight when the red half came out on top and went through to another League Cup final.

Winning any match is great, but winning in such emphatic style with the Stretford End roar behind the team and against City is supreme. It's so much sweeter when during the 1st leg, Carlos Tevez cupped his hands provocatively at the United fans like a petulant child. It's not big and it's not clever (that applies to you too Gary Neville). Mancini looked as sick as the proverbial parrot during the post match interview. Even his Man City scarf looked depressed. Never mind, you'll get over it, the good times are coming.


Rooney played like a club captain in waiting and led from the front before grabbing the third and final goal to win the game for United. Here's Rooney celebrating his 21st goal of the season in gymnastic style.
Bring on Aston Villa at Wembley...

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

ANNOYING TV COUPLES


Some things in life are certain - death, taxes, Simon Cowell's teeth getting whiter and programmes presented by annoying tv couples. From the early 70's, eccentric tv cook Fanny Craddock and her cuckolded husband Johnny started the ball rolling as the epitome of annoyance. She was a middle-aged fruitcake who whisked a lot of eggs usually into souffles, and Johnny would... erm... look at things through his monocle and pass Fanny an occasional paring knife. Through the 70's and 80's, there followed the gruesome twosomes of Donny and Marie Osmond (sugary sweet toothsome Mormons), Bruce Forsyth and Anthea Redfearn (Give us a twirl my love), Richard and Judy (dumb and dumber) and Richard Whitely and Carol Vorderman (Countdown conundrums).

Achieving the perfect TV coupling is not an exact science. For it to work, it perhaps needs an on-screen chemistry, a shared sense of humour, trust in each other's professionalism and maybe a hint of a sexual spark.

Here's examples where these elements have been completely ignored and we just end up with a bunch of overpaid, annoying tv couples...



Put an 80 year old rug wearing old hoofer with a 30 something attractive ex-model and let the annoyance begin... The formula here is for Brucie 'I'm in charge' Forsyth to run the show, do a little dance routine and tell a few jokes. Tess Daly is cast in the role of Anthea Redfearn - pretty, fluffy and peripheral. As any good Northern girl, Tess scrubs up well and looks great in a frock although she lets the side down when she laughs like a drain at Brucie's jokes. During the last series of SCD when Brucie had the 'flu and gave us all a blessed week off from his well worn Mr Showbiz routine, did the BBC let Tess move into the spotlight and run the show? Did they Buxton... step forward (and trip on the stairs during the intro) the 80 year old Ronnie Corbett as Brucie's stand-in. Truly awful.


Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley present BBC1's the One Show - a kind of millennium version of Nationwide. Adrian's background is as a football presenter and pundit with a deadpan Brummie delivery. Christine Bleakley was a runner in BBC Northern Ireland tv productions. I think the role 'runner' is the general job description for someone who willingly does all all the crap jobs like grabbing lunch and cups of tea for producers in exchange for £9k a year. Initially, Adrian took on the Brucie role as the more experienced presenter and Christine assumed the 'I'll just sit here looking pretty whilst laughing at Adrian's funny jokes' role. Although a dullish programme, it became more interesting when Adrian looked like he had a little crush on Christine and began his constant shuffling of his seating position to be within an inch of her personal space. Christine bless her, seems to take it all in good part and is perhaps a little more preoccupied with her alleged romance with Chelsea's Frank Lampard.



For a really annoying twosome, look no further than This Morning presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford. They bicker on screen and appear to 'flirt' with guests to ignite some element of jealousy in the other. They often drip feed items from their personal life to embarrass each other on air which is just nauseating. Eamonn looks mostly disinterested with guests unless they are female and good looking or they have any link to Manchester United. If the guests manage to get a word in edgeways, they are frequently interrupted when Eamonn tries to change any topic of conversation back to himself. He feigns mock disgust if 'women's problems' or sex if mentioned to the shrieking delight of Ruth. And to top it all, they're getting this year. Bet they don't mention that much...


There's a train of thought that perhaps Soccer AM on Sky 1 has run it's course? The original series presented by Helen Chamberlain and Tim Lovejoy was funny and a little edgy. Helen and Tim were true football fans who presented the programme in a blokey, good humoured and entertaining way. Tim has long since gone and Helen is now joined by the dufus Max Rushden. Obviously using Adrian Chiles as a role model, he seems a little in awe of Helen and shuffles non-stop to be within touching distance of her whilst reading the autocue. Helen, for her part seems a little bored these days both with the love-sick puppy Max and the constant stream of posse members such as Tubes and Baby Elvis doing the same old routines. Would love to see her as the token girl presenter on Top Gear as she's rumoured to be a bit of a petrolhead. Max just needs a girlfriend. And some bromide.


Justin and Colin won a few more fans after their recent appearance on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, but they're still an annoying pair of twonks. For evidence of this, check out 60 Minute Makeover. These two get very queeny and excited about doing a makeover with the help of 46 joiners and painters on a living room in a council house in Cleethorpes. Cue the arrival of the surprised owner with beaming style when presented with their new front room looking resplendent in the style of New York loft living or Cape Cod beach house. Cue Colin and Justin to go into full tears, hugs and shrieks mode. That's with each other by the way, as a way of self-congratulation at the wonder of their achievement. The owner is seen at the computer on the DFS website looking at a new brown and green sofa on interest free credit.

Examples of great, interesting and fun TV couples? Not many spring to mind outside the usual formula of older man and glamourous, giggly woman. See also Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole / Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. Thank God also we've seen the back of Katie and Peter as they would be numero uno in this list.

Can anyone come up with a tv coupling comprising of an older woman (who's sexy, funny and intelligent) with an attractive younger man who takes a backseat and makes her look good? No, me neither...

Monday, 25 January 2010

SPORTING BAD HAIRCUTS


I've often wondered how some of today's multi-millionaire, often image conscious sportsmen and women can possibly have such diabolical hairstyles. Do these people not have mirrors? Take Carlos Tevez aka Eddie Munster for instance. Now Carlos is not exactly blessed in the looks department, and has recently adopted an annoying Fatima Whitbread bum wriggle when he scores and cups his hands around his ears provocatively at the United fans, but that aside, he also sports a really crap hairstyle. Imagine Neanderthal man meets an oil slick of Torrey Canyon proportions... that's the hairstyle. When it's not reigned in by a nylon bandanna, it's let loose to mingle with his sweat and stick around his face and neck. Carlos, get down to Vidal Sassoon's on King Street, Manchester and sort yourself out.


What do these four have in common... Andy Murray, Susan Boyle, Graeme Souness and Moira Stewart? The answer is Scottish, dour, a bit loopy and all have the same crap hairdos.


The tough manly game of rugby can be enhanced by using Gavin Henson's example... wax off all traces of body hair, get a San Tropez spray-on tan and a little teeth whitening. Finish off by getting some lowlights in your hair, tousle it forward onto your face by the skilled application of L'Oreal hair gel and voila... Tyrone Dobbs from Corrie.


Everton's Marouane Fellaini who hasn't heard of GHD's, frizz ease, or tweezers for that matter for his rather disturbing monobrow. Looks to Tito Jackson circa 1973 for inspiration and style sense.



Dame Ellen MacArthur's haircut can at best be described as 'functional' and a look most likely to be seen on a 13 year old paperboy. During her solo record-breaking round the world record sail, presumably Ellen was a little busier with her spinnakers rather than her hair straighteners.


Brett Lee joins the long list of haircuts preferred by most Australian cricketers and indeed Australian men in general. Fair hair is lightened by bleached blonde highlights, cut by someone with cataracts and spiked up at the front by liberal use of hair gel in the style of Stan Laurel. See also Shane Warne, Crocodile Dundee and Cameron Diaz on 'There's Something Like Mary'.


Bet you'd thought I'd slipped in a footballer sporting the ubiquitous 1970's perm, but sadly Newcastle United's Coloccini plays in 2010. His hairstyle is currently starring with DCI Gene Hunt in Life On Mars. This hairdo should be confined to the Boston, Journey or Foreigner power ballad groups of the 80's. What's ok in Argentina doesn't travel as well in the likes of Gateshead or South Shields. Crap defender, crap hairstyle.

Shy and retiring golfer Ian Poulter has a penchant for wearing union jack trousers or pink plus fours. He finishes off the full flamboyant effect with a dodgy haircut, yellowy bleach and red dye combo.

I'm really struggling to think of a current sportsman who sports a good hairstyle. Most sporting hairstyles seem to be skinheads or spikes enhanced by lashings of hair gel. Roger Federer perhaps?



Saturday, 23 January 2010

BACK AT THE TOP

It's 5pm on Saturday and Final Score has just confirmed the following 3 items of beautiful news... Man United have beaten Hull 4-0. Wayne Rooney bagged all four of them taking his tally to 20 this season. United return to the top of the Premiership. It doesn't get much better if you're a red and an England supporter and I'm going to indulge myself in this glory for a few moments.

Glory over and so to the not so tantalising news around Old Trafford. Figures were published this week on the current financial status at Man Utd. Following the Glazer takeover, huge loans were secured to gain control of the club.Debts totalling £716m were published this week, but cash reserves made slightly easier reading following the sale of Ronaldo for £80m. Rumours are circulating that Rooney may be the next to leave Old Trafford for Real Madrid. A stock value of anything between £50m-80m would certainly ease the investors coffers. Can you imagine Rooney at Real Madrid? He can barely speak English let alone Espanol. 'Calm down, calm down there lad. Dos beers por favor ay ay?' And next year Kai Wayne has a new baby brother.. San Miguel Poncho Rooney.

Amongst the financial turmoil, the United players continue to enjoy rich pickings. Get this... In 2008, salary costs of £121m were shared between 68 players and 476 ancillary staff. Despite the input from 476 ancillary staff, United have recently endured a crocked defence and seen defeats to two of their greatest rivals - losing 1-0 to Leeds and 2-1 to Man City. 476 ancillary staff? I'm just going to take a few moments to try and imagine what 476 ancillary staff actually do.

Perhaps I'll just smile in the knowledge that we're back on top... Rooney plays for us and for England... Ferdinand is back.... and I'm filling out an application form to become the 477th member of the ancillary staff. I'm sure they'll need a mental health nurse / blog writer in there somewhere...

CAMPING IN MORECAMBE

I've been invited to a 50th birthday party and felt immediately queasy when I saw the words '70's theme fancy dress'. Fancy dress inspired parties do not rock my boat or give me the same amount of giggling pleasure as it seems to with most other people. I don't see the appeal of hiring wearing smelly clothes and wigs worn by many others and somewhere you'd never find me is by a sewing machine running up a flared blouse. My sewing kit consists of 3 needles and a black and white cotton reel.
I then have the added headache of never knowing what to dress up as. I've been on the internet looking for inspiration for influential female characters from the 70's. I've so far come up with Margaret Thatcher, Chris Evert, Nancy Spungen and Purdey from the Avengers. One of the girls has suggested the four of us (all nurses) go as the Village People. I suppose if you're going to look a prat, it may as well be done big style. So, four female respectable and professional nurses will be dressing up as stereotypical gay fantasy personas. I bagged the construction worker pretty much straight away as I already have a hard hat and caterpillar boots from my days at BT. The other girls are negotiating their roles between the Brokeback Mountain cowboy, George Michael's 'Outside' traffic cop, Minces with Wolves red Indian, or going commando. Somehow, I imagine the handlebar-moustached leather biker persona will be the hardest to fill. Especially with that much chest hair on show.

The party host has now got wind of our costume choices and has got all excited thinking we are going to do a full dance routine of Y-M-C-A in front of a watching audience of 80 party goers. She also mentioned a karaoke version and being filmed...

I think I'm going to be sick....


Friday, 22 January 2010

SEX, DRUGS AND BIRDIES...

After a weeks of lying low, Tiger Woods has been spotted in a rehab clinic in Mississippi to help 'cure' his sex addiction. This follows much media coverage on Tiger's car crash outside his home and speculation of his wife's hook shot across Tiger's face with a sand wedge. A little more control of her backswing and she'll be playing off a 6 handicap by May.
Speculation then grew about Tiger's various peccadillo's with up to 14 different women ranging from party hostesses, waitresses and prostitutes.
Last week, one of the alleged mistresses hinted at a new tell-all book with sordid details of Tiger's sex life including threesomes, sex parties and even sex with other men. Somehow, I don't think Colin Montgomerie will be contacting his lawyers in the next few weeks.

At a cost of £40,000, Tiger's six week rehab at the Pine Grove Behavioural Centre Clinic will include group work, a disclosure session with wife Erin, and the requirement to remain celibate throughout the six weeks. That should bugger up his wrist nicely in time for the British Open.

There is much debate about the medical term 'sex addiction'. There is considerable doubt whether the label 'addiction' can be used in the same context as being addicted to say, alcohol or drugs. It's argued that excessive sex is more of a 'compulsion'. Tiger Woods joins the list of other high-profile celebrities (Michael Douglas, Russell Brand, David Duchovny) who have been allegedly addicted to sex. Is it a coincidence that these men are exclusively heterosexual, as rich as Croesus and very famous? Perhaps they are simply in a position where they are bombarded with advances from women and they succumbed. Wouldn't the majority of men in the same position behave in the same way? The problems are always going to start a) when you're married and have a family and b) you're caught.

Still, there's always the option if you're caught that you can explain it away by saying 'I couldn't help it, I'm a sex addict'. And then there's always a clinic prepared to take £40,000 off you in exchange for a cure...



Thursday, 21 January 2010

DEEDS NOT WORDS

I had to call in to Preston today and parked in the very lovely Winckley Square where I noticed this blue plaque on one of the Georgian houses. Edith Rigby's name was unfamiliar and didn't immediately come to mind when recalling leading lights within the suffragette movement. I remembered learning at school about the Pankhursts and the unfortunate Emily Davison who became a martyr to the cause when throwing herself at the oncoming king's horse during the Epsom Derby. So with an inquisitive mind (or maybe because I'm a nosy sod), I made a mental note to find out a little more about Edith Rigby.

Edith was considered a beauty of her day and had quite a rebellious streak from a young age. She married a local doctor but the marriage was far from conventional. She didn't take on the expected role of a middle-class married woman preferring to striving to improve the working conditions of local mill girls and starting a club to provide educational and leisure activities for the women and girls employed within the mills. Her contemporaries grew increasingly uneasy about Edith's liberal ways when treating her maids as equals and began to shun her. Inevitably, Edith became drawn to the suffrage movement and to the Pankhursts who were becoming more and more prominent in the movement in gaining votes for women. Various imprisonments (and hunger strikes and force-feeding) followed for protest marching, planting a bomb in the Liverpool Corn Exchange and setting fire to Lord Leverhulme's property at Rivington. Obviously an early inspiration for ITV1's Ladette to Lady programme, although I drew a blank on further incidents of Edith's binge drinking and getting her baps out for the lads.

Once votes for women finally became a reality, here comes the good bit, Edith although still happily married and with the consent of her husband, buggers off and buys herself a bungalow to become an organic farmer. The secret to a successful marriage for Mr & Mrs Rigby? live in separate houses. History tells us she later wore men's clothing and cut her hair short whilst tending her parsnips. I think that's a quaint way of hinting that Edith was perhaps on the other bus.

Edith Rigby could have quite easily taken the more expected and comfortable option of a middle-class doctor's wife. She however, bucked convention during a time when women's lives were incredibly restricted in terms of freedom of choice and education. She became one of only a handful of female philanthropists in her attempts to improve the lives of Preston's female mill workers. This was during a time girls were mainly illiterate due to being 'educated' only up to the age of 11 before starting work in the mills.

There's something very appealing about a rebel, someone who's feisty and stands up for their beliefs and if necessary, is willing to go to prison for those beliefs. Because of women like Edith Rigby, I have always trundled off to the election booth despite the fact that the majority of the chinless and spineless wonders don't deserve a duck house on expenses let alone my vote.

History lesson over, back to frivolous stuff about tv and celebs tomorrow I promise...





CARRY ON NURSE

Finally and after many, many months of job applications, interviews and waiting for security clearance, the NHS has finally produced a start date for my new job after qualifying as a Mental Health Nurse. From the 1st February, I will be back on a 37.5 hour week and paying taxes again through having a full salary once more - yippee!

This will be my first posting since starting my 'journey' through nursing training later in life following redundancy. My previous life of working within the IT industry for twenty years seems a million miles away now. One minute Voice Over Internet Protocol at British Telecom, the next knowing the various drugs used to treat schizophrenia. Not an obvious link there I know. I'd always found the various facets of mental illness really interesting, particularly within a forensic setting. So when the opportunity came up for a complete change of career and being always up for a bit of a challenge, I thought why not?


Three years of training and many nights of study later and I'll be starting a new job in a couple of weeks time. Being back on a salary also helps - goodbye Aldi, hello Marks and Spencer's food hall...

THIS WEEK'S CRAP ADVERT...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVP5jcQYD3M


Further to my previous posting on awful tv adverts, I think I have finally found one which ticks all the boxes of sheer crapness.
I defy anyone to find a worse advert than this. I can only assume this was made by pupils at Huyton School as part of their CSE
Drama and Media Studies. Call me presumptuous, but something
tells me Saatchi and Saatchi didn't have a hand in this
masterpiece.

It's for double glazing and depicts a chavvy scouse family including two children with unfeasibly large foreheads.

Here's hoping the production people who invoiced for this
travesty have been put away for a very long time as a crime
against broadcasting. It's rumoured the young girl
has been signed up for Hollyoaks in 2017 ..

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

GIRLPOWER RETURNS TO THE BRITS


It's the girls who dominate next month's Brits awards. Florence and the Machine, Lady Gaga, Lily Allen and Pixie Lott have been nominated for three awards.
The quartet of high-flying females are worthy contenders for their musical originality and undoubted talent. Download any of albums from these four ladies and you'll hear good, honest pop music. My money's on Florence for picking up best British female solo and breakthrough act. They may even get the best album for 'Lungs'. Lily Allen will hopefully get the best single award for 'Fear'. Lady Gaga will no doubt pick up a few awards in the international categories.

The male artist category seems less inspiring with Calvin Harris, Dizzee Rascal, Mika, Paolo Nuttini and Robbie Williams. Muse, Doves, Kasabian, JLS and Friendly Fires fight it out in the best groups category. Kasabian for me, are head and shoulders above any British groups at the moment. Hot on their heels are Muse the Noisettes and Delphic (a group to watch for 2010). Robbie Williams is said to be receiving the Brit Lifetime Achievement Award.


Perhaps the glaring omission for this year's Brit awards is Susan Boyle. The Britain's Got Talent runner-up has seen a meteoric rise to fame this year and achieved the biggest-selling album of 2009 but was not nominated. Strange really given that I doubt there's many people who hasn't heard of Ms Boyle or could name the track that made her famous or indeed her follow up record. Could the same be said for Dizzee Rascal or Friendly Fires? Popularity contest it isn't, but having the best selling album does deserve a nod from the sniffy music execs. Another surprising omission was Paloma Faith who gave us the superb single 'Stone Cold Sober' from her very creditable debut album.

And this year's Brit nomination award for Tosspot Talentless Twonks with 'Something Like Mary' haircuts goes to.... Jedward
Ok, I made that up..






Sunday, 17 January 2010

DON'T JUST BOOK IT, THOMAS HUT IT...



Three weeks of snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures and thoughts turn to summer holidays.

With a little luck, this summer's holiday will find me lying in the sun, by a pool or on a deserted beach, complete with an ipod and a good book. Ice cold beers will be in the fridge. And in the evening, I shall sit in a little town square in the warm night air eating Mediterranean gourmet food with the Gypsy Kings serenading amusingly from table to table.

I can't imagine being tempted to buy the beach hut on Southwold seafront currently for sale. This little bijou beauty on the seafront in the popular Suffolk resort can be yours for a snip at £40,000. The estate agents say they've had a lot of interest for the beach hut and say that some of the huts can fetch as much as £100,000. The £40,000 asking price gets you the plot only. A new bespoke hut to replace this run down one will set you back £4000 plus £185 lease fees each year to the council. For the princely price tag, you get two benches, a gas stove and of course the sea view. Here's what else you'll get (based on last summer's weather)... RAIN, MORE RAIN, FLOODS, COLD & RAIN. And of course, the chance to sit in close proximity to upwards of 40 or so other weirdo's, sorry.. fellow beach hut owners.

I suppose living on an over-populated, soggy little island, we Brits have a jaundiced view of space. Our houses tend to be in close proximity to our neighbours in overcrowded towns and cities. Check out the Brits on holiday. They are at their happiest when herded together in hotels, on the beach or by the pool. If you ever need further proof of this theory, go to Rhyl in North Wales and check out the miles and miles of caravan parks. The Southwold beach hut sums up a large proportion of the British holidaymaker. If I was to do a CSI-type psychological profile of a beach hut buyer I'd guess at... middle-aged married couple. No children. Probably called Brian (retired school teacher) and Hilary (retired civil servant). Holidayed in the Dordogne in the 70's, but for the past 20 years on walking holidays in Skye. Stopped having sex in 1979 when Brian had a back spasm. Likes steam trains and Doctor Who. You get the idea right?
Anyway, if you have £45k to spare and get off sitting on a bench stewing tea on a gas stove wrapped in a tartan blanket watching sleet and snow in July, then beat Brian and Hilary to the estate agents. It's the one on the High Street, closed for 5 weeks each year whilst the owner relaxes in a five star resort in the Maldives on the fees earned from beach hut sales.

Just for the record, I don't get caravan holidays either but that's a whole different blog...