Sunday, 28 February 2010

CUPS, LEG BREAKS, AND THE IRISH

Good weekend of sport again but some aspects were all for the wrong reasons. I watched the Stoke v Arsenal match live and was feeling a little queasy after Aaron Ramsey's horrific injury. Arsene Wenger was positively apoplexic in the interview afterwards and made some unwise allegations that these injuries somehow always seem to happen to Arsenal players. The Chelsea v Man City was great viewing in the build up to whether Wayne Bridge would shake John Terry's hand before the match. Good old Wayne looked Terry square in the face and didn't shake his hand. Things hotted up in the match when Carlos Tevez got a little handbags at dawn with Terry and there was a coming together like two alpha male stags. Retribution for Bridge and pals when Chelsea capitulated, had two sent off and lost 4-2 at home. Man United and Arsenal fans rejoice - plenty of texts crossed last night between myself and Vic the Gooner laughing at Chelski's demise.
The not so good stuff saw England losing to Ireland in the Six Nations. Wales made a fighting comeback against France but couldn't quite win the game. And Italy beat Scotland!

Back to today's League Cup Final which saw Manchester United beat Villa 2-1 with Michael Owen getting Utd's first and Rooney scoring another header to win the match. World class Rooney is hitting some excellent form and let's hope he's injury free on the lead up to the world cup this summer.

CLEVELEYS... GOD'S WAITING ROOM

Had a frustrating weekend of trying to get my mobile phone upgraded, made more frustrating by the fact I had to go to Cleveleys to get it done. To avoid parking in Blackpool, I made the mistake of going to the O2 shop in Cleveleys. It's a nice little town but with a few flaws.. It's population has quite possibly an average age of 76. All of whom go shopping on a Saturday in their walkers, motorised carts, wheelchairs and Nissan Micras (on Motability Scheme). In order to cater for this aging population, Cleveleys has about 128 cafes on a half mile main street offering Senior Citizen afternoon tea specials. It has clothing shops named 'City Look' or 'House of Jeanette'. I often cast a glance at the crimpolene, elasticated waisted trousers and clothes on the racks outside 'City Look' and wonder what city exactly is this 'look' trying to portray? Warsaw, Minsk or maybe Tirana in Albania perhaps? Certainly not Milan that's for sure. Cleveleys must be the only place where you can buy all-year round fleece jackets with pictures of dolphins, horses, wolves or west highland terriers printed on the back. Do they sell? Are you kidding? They fly off the racks outside City Look. And for Cleveleys men? Tracky bottoms and white trainers accessorised by a zipped up cardy seems to be the fashion de choice. Talking of Cleveleys men, try walking behind one and time it to 38 seconds before he stops dead, turns his head and his body follows in slow succession until the 180 degrees is completed in 90 seconds while you're left pinching the bridge of your nose trying to stem the flow of blood after you crash into the skull of Mr Nosey Parker. That's beside the injuries sustained from motorised carts bumping into your pelvis or shin bones.
Anyway, I get into the 02 shop and a boy shop assistant aged 13 tells me I can't upgrade until my contract is up (the day after). So I go back again today and find the only parking space in Cleveleys (in M&S carpark which holds 6 cars), fight through the fleece jackets and wheelchairs and get to the 02 shop. All going well until I come to give my card details, and no card. Left it at home after buying some online Mothers Days flowers earlier. Another traipse to Cleveleys and managed to get parked in M&S again. Got my phone and splintered both shins on the walk across to Tesco Express - another haven for the Golden Oldies who clog up all the cashier lanes in order to buy a packet of PG Tips and some crumpets.

Here's the strangest thing.. I'm muttering to myself and nonchalantly looking at the latest offers on shampoo when I tapped on my shoulder and asked by a young and reasonably easy-on-the-eye Eastern European chappie which shampoo and conditioner I could recommend. Anyway, the conversation goes on a while with me using my dimpled charm and making witty reposts about dandruff and alopecia which to his credit, had him laughing in that polite Polish way. He had probably driven in from Gdansk sometime last week, taken one look at Cleveleys and was just desperate to speak to someone under 50 and with their faculties intact and their own teeth. So a bit of chatter and harmless flirting in Tesco aisle 4. Bloody hell, in times like this, what would Kim Cattrall do? Yeah, I know, I know. More's the pity, I mentally made a note that Polish Pete was aged about 26 which is a tad on the young side. Besides which, I hadn't shaved my legs for 3 days and Man United were about to start kicking off in the League Cup Final at 3pm. With that, I slinked out of Tesco with a toss of the hair, a friendly wink and a backwards wave whilst Peteski is left holding two bottles of Pantene Pro V for extra volume and a new respect for English women because they know their shit about shampoo.

I jauntily manoeuvred around the numerous mobility aids and back to my car parked in the M&S car park whilst whistling ZZ Top's 'Gimme All Your Lovin'. Sat in my car and waiting to go, I was stopped in my tracks by elderly man trying to park his car into the UK's smallest parking space. This caused a bit of a hold-up until patience ran out and drivers started sounding horns. The elderly driver then started to panic and the car was kangarooing in once direction, stalling, then lunging forward in the opposite direction. This went on for 20 minutes until a bloke behind me went to the driver's window and offered to park it for him in order to put him out of his misery, not to mention the other drivers misery. All traces of previous good mood soon evaporated when I saw that the footy match had started and I'd missed nearly all the first half.

Ah well, two years before I have to renew my phone contract which means I won't have to go to Cleveleys again for another 24 months or 104 weeks or 730 days. I think I'll treat myself to a leg shave and a dolphin fleece from City Look to celebrate....


Saturday, 27 February 2010

CAMERON ... D+ MUST DO BETTER

To counteract accusations of PM Gordon Brown being the new Bully Beef and Chips comic strip character including allegations of flushing Tomkins head down the toilet and taking tuck shop money from the the first form back benchers, journalists have uncovered a not so glittering academic record from David Cameron MP.

It appears his school report from the 1978 term at Heatherdown Prep School revealed David was second bottom in Geography and French and overall worst performer to year end. I doubt that will come as a huge shock to anyone. After all, the aristocracy, landed gentry and even Royalty are not renowned for their academic prowess. The term 'rich as Croesus, thick as pigshit' springs to mind when describing our upper classes. Winston Churchill is probably the best example of the school dunce rising to a position of immense power despite not being able to learn his times tables or to remember the rule to use i before e except after c. David did however, acquit himself later in his academic studies by going on to get a first class degree with honours from Oxford. So, is David Cameron a credible PM in waiting? A foppish man coming from extraordinary privilege, who was educated at the elitist Heatherdown, Eton and Oxford. Could he really be a man of the people, in tune with urban inner-city communities through to the regeneration of Northern industrial towns and cities following mass unemployment?

David Cameron's background of being able to trace his ancestry to the royal line through Queen Victoria, perhaps gives impetus to the notion that the aristocracy can be relied upon to breed generation after generation of halfwits wearing tweed suits and brogues from the age of 2, but not knowing a great deal about archimedes principle or trigonometry. The 'establishment' perpetuates the rite of passage for these numbskulls to glide effortlessly through elite educational institutions through to positions of power and influence in later life. David Cameron's initial failings at school is sadly the rule rather than the exception. Although he perhaps did a little better later on through his academic achievements, many more in banking, politics, stockbroking and the armed services are there by virtue of privilege rather than intellect. My own schooldays saw the less academic lads being put into the C stream and it seemed they spent 5 years doing metalwork and gardening. Had Dave been brought up just outside Blackpool instead of a 20,000 acre estate in Surrey, he'd know a thing or two about welding and bizzy lizzies and would probably give Charlie Dimmock a run for her money in the Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde allotments Miss Wet Compost T Shirt Contest.

And finally, this will make you laugh (or cry) .... on David's sports day at Heatherdown Prep School, it was reported that many parents flew in via helicopter and parked up on the third eleven polo pitch. To facilitate the need for extra washrooms, the school put up three lots of toilet facilities... One for Gentlemen, one for ladies and the other? ...for chauffeurs.

Laugh? I will if the Tories get in and David has to spell council estate.....



BULLET PROOF BOOBS

Who says plastic surgery is bad for your health? Lydia Carranza was working in a dentist's office in Beverly Hills when a gunman ran in and opened fire. He aimed directly at her but her size D breast implants took the full force of the bullet entry and prevented almost certain death.

Blimey, it must have been like a scene from Alien 2 when Ripley goes on a one-woman mission in search of viscous drooling aliens within the mothership.

The grandmother had the implants some years ago to change from a B-cup to a D-cup. When the gun was pointed at her, she told LA police that she 'didn't look or think about it...I just felt wet in my chest area'. I bet she did. I'd imagine her knickers were a little on the damp side as well.


Hold your horses....I can feel an email being sent to the 'New Ideas for TV gameshows' production team at ITV1... I can see it now; a new gameshow commissioned for Saturday night and hosted by Paddy McGuinness called 'Celebrity Nork Busters'. The premise is to strap Dolly Parton, Judy Finnegan, Katie Price and Holly Willoughby in chairs and fire various weapons of choice at their boobs. Starting with a peashooter and maybe working up to an AGM-65 Maverick surface-to-air nuclear missile for Dolly Parton. In the ensuing sticky mess, the girls would then be encouraged to 'silicon wrestle' in leotards whilst Paddy aims Greggs sausage rolls and pork pies from his overhead 'Mission Impossible' harness.

Hey, now that's what I call Saturday night entertainment....



PICK UP THE PHONE... NOW

Is it just me or does John Barrowman get everywhere these days? He's on every talk show, news bulletin, kids tv programe, talent show. I believe he's even leading out the Manchester United team at the League Cup Final this Sunday to the tune of 'It's Raining Men, Hallelujah'.

The ubiquitous star of Torchwood, Desperate Housewives and 'let's give the Joseph job to Lee Mead but string it out on free publicity for the next 13 weeks', was seen last week on a guest slot on the QVC shopping channel. Apparently, he stormed it. Whether he was selling Glass Master cleaning accessories, or raving about the cotton quality of the Northern Lights duvet set, he was on fire. The finale came when John flogged his own CD and used the rather nifty method of sealing it in a tupperware box and submerging it in water. Unusual 'David Blaine' selling technique, but apparently he shifted thousands of copies of himself singing 'Now That's What I Call Songs from the Musicals 68'.

I'm sure I'm probably alone in my middle-aged female thinking, but I just don't see the appeal of John Barrowman. He's undoubtedly talented and has a fine West End theatre voice, but I just find his over-exuberance and loud laughing with nifty dental work on show a little annoying (see also Tom Cruise). His ability to switch his American / Scottish accent is at times baffling, as is his unnerving ability to only wear blue shiny suits. I will forever be mystified why older women scream and swoon over him when he is openly gay. That mystification also extends to fans of Cliff Richard and Daniel O'Donnell. The word that sums these performers up I suppose, is naff.

Edgy, raw and sexy performers I like. I'm thinking... Elvis, James Brown, Michael Hutchence, The Stones, The Kinks, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page from Led Zep, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain. They sang about drugs, let's spend the night together and get up I feel like a sex machine. Cliff, Daniel and John sing about Living Dolls, holding hands my Irish Coleen and Copacabana.

NAFF, NAFF, NAFF.

And on that thought, I'll just nip upstairs and put my new Northern Lights duvet set on my bed...



Friday, 26 February 2010

GADGET WEEKEND

Last Wednesday saw my first NHS salary hit my bank account. That glorious feeling when you see your first pay slip after three years of university and training. It's getting framed alongside my nursing certificates and Manchester United autographs - sad, I know, but momentous occasions need big gestures. Four days off work to follow, catch up with all my buddies and to quote Frank Gallagher from Shameless ' ...the most vital necessity in this life is they know how to throw a PAAARTY! Scatter...'.
My first post-pay acquisition arrived today from Amazon. New Logic3 ipod travel speakers will shortly travel the short distance to my new desk at work but they've been christened in my bedroom, outside my shower and given pride of place on my car's dashboard. They're absolutely fab. Tomorrow sees the big prize in gadget weekend when my contract mobile phone gets upgraded and I can swing my 02 bag around town before I get the box ripped open and get to work on the settings, ringtones, wallpaper etc.

Later in the afternoon, I've promised to take my 10 year old godson to see Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakquel. Our day out at the pictures goes something on the lines of.... we go out for lunch and chat about football and relationship stuff concerning his girlfriend. We discuss hair gel, Adidas Predator football boots, music, the new Mini Cooper S 4x4, whether Katie Price and Alex's marriage will run the course... In his mind, I have always been his 10 year old mate that just happens to have boobs and a house on mortgage. We then head off to Vue cinema where the ritual of 'can I have... candy floss? NO... Slush puppy mega brain death? NO... Sweet and salty Popcorn mega bucket.. NO Ben and Jerry's funky fish flavour extra large carton with cherries and sparklers? NO... Bloody Hell, is there any chance I can have some M&M's and a diet coke?' I fell for it once before when I was £30 lighter after going to see some hideous Harry Potter film (which I loathe), fell asleep halfway through and had my godson poking me in the face with his mega brain death drinks straw to try and wake me from coma and asking earnestly whether I think Dumbledore will die and offering me the scrap ends of popcorn from a carton the size of a small family car.

Sunday sees Man Utd v Aston Villa in the League Cup Final and going out afterwards with my best mate A for tea. We've found this really cool place which is like stepping into the twilight zone. It's an ice cream parlour that hasn't changed since 1951 but the food is great. We sit there for hours with our Sunday newspapers, put the world to rights and chat to the 85 year old waitress about when electricity will finally be put into the village. She tells us it's scheduled for autumn 1976 and that she can't stop to chat as she needs to get home to her cousin who doubles up as her husband.

And then there's the lie-ins... oh happy day ...


Thursday, 25 February 2010

IT'S SNOW F'ING WHITE

Another dance practice night completed for the forthcoming Y-M-C-A Village People routine at the 50th birthday party. This time it was at T's house in Heysham and the usual suspects sweat a lot for a couple of hours whilst trying to master a dance sequence over and over again. T had put on some nibbles and then the wine comes out.
On my previous YMCA blog, I mentioned about R, one of the girls who's participating in the routine. By day, she's a fairy princess super-duper nurse. A great wife and great cook. She doesn't swear and is never crude or vulgar. She's blonde, has great teeth, keeps herself fit and has a figure to die for. She's one of those people who enters a room and it's like stardust surrounds her, baby lambs frolic and birds twitter. People begin to whistle, smile and pat dogs heads. She is goodness and light. She is Snow White, Walt Disney Inc. personified, a vision of loveliness. That is, until nightfall, and she has white wine....

After 2 glasses of wine, R she takes on a whole new personna. She burps like a bloke. Not a John Inman or Jeremy Paxman blokey burp, but we're talking hairy-arsed Parachute Regiment on 3rd tour of duty and after 18 pints of lager kind of bloke-burp. She expels a gutbuster so fearsome in its intensity, it could throw an experienced rider off their horse. The horse incidentally, would need to put down afterwards through going lame and being forever spooked and startled by a noise not too dissimilar to a car backfiring. That's if you could catch the horse. The rider on the other hand would be in Stoke Mandeville undergoing years of psychiatric care for PTSD and spinal rehabilitation...

Without a hint of warning or embarrassment, she positions her buttocks in a sideways tilt from her seating position and lets rip with a short volley of trumps whilst her facial features take on a look of total innocence. To complete the image, she lets her index fingers point out each trump in rhythm, similar to a musical conductor in headphones, closing his eyes and counting in his orchestra. Where is the shame? There is NONE, nil, zilch, nothing. No remorse whatsoever that she has let rip in T's beautifully decorated house whilst we all stand there in our YMCA poses with mouths gaping open in stunned silence.

R tends to announce mid-dance that she's off to lay some cable (have a poo). She thrusts her backside at the other village people dancers begging it to be slapped... Lapses into either pogo dancing or mincing morris dancing at inopportune moments.... Fails miserably to pour out diet coke into glasses and instead lets it explode into (my) face and crotch area whilst clutching her skinny jeans and claiming 'naaahghhh, stoppit, there's bloody spillage now, I think I've just wet myself'. Not so much Snow White, more Slush White. R is a complete contradiction. A regular Dr. Jekyl and Nurse Hyde. It doesn't bear thinking about what she's be like on Newcastle Brown...

Lavatorial humour aside, for all that I'm so glad I know her, have her as a friend and thank my lucky stars that she makes me laugh as much as she does.

One more practice night to go at R's house. I think there'll be spillage...



ICE ICE BABY

Why oh why do we get worked up into thinking that GB will be anything but crap in the Winter Olympics? I blame Torvill and Dean for giving us an unrealistic hope that we may just be good again in the ice or snow. Having Todd Carty in Dancing on Ice just doesn't cut the mustard... we want MEDALS dammit, not songs from Cabaret and headbangers. Great Britain has now become the equivalent of Norway's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest ie. lots of build up, hope, preparation, naff outfits, but in the end... nil pwa.
Apart from Amy Williams shock gold medal in skeleton, we've failed miserably at winning anything. Our big hope was Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke in the women's bobsleigh. BBC Sport's Clare Balding had whipped up some enthusiasm in doing a piece on Nicola and Gillian's training in England prior to the Olympics. The 'training' consisted of a second hand bobsleigh running on a rusty tram track on a farm in Yorkshire. Once the enthusiastic lasses had shoved it for 30 yards and co-ordinated their jumps into the bob, the carriage was prevented from derailing by a huge piece of elastic strung across two poles. It was roughly 7 seconds into Clare's report that alarm bells start ringing and you realise Oh Christ, here we go again....

During an event on the lead up to the Olympics, Gillian and Nicola were filmed from behind about to push their bobsleigh down the run when Gillian's pants split to show an expanse of spotty arse and black G string. Then it emerged that no-one had sponsored the girls (probably after seeing the training methods) so the girls bought their bobsleigh themselves for £9000 on, wait for it... a credit card. They'd have perhaps done better getting a tractor for their farm or at worst, trading it in for a Ford Ka on the UK car scrappage scheme.

So, last night and the inevitable happens. After much puffing out cheeks, leg stretches... helmet adjustments, high fives, hugs and genuflecting... they're off. A few turns in and at 80mph, they crash. Not surprising really when they only reached the giddy heights of 5mph on the 25 yards of rusty track somewhere outside Emmerdale.

If the dodgy training methods, lack of sponsorship and arse splitting weren't enough, I think I have my own theory on why the women's bobsleigh team failed so spectacularly...
If you want to sit in a tin box and hurl yourself down an ice tunnel reaching speeds of up to 90mph, you'd want someone to be a crack driver, someone who has 20-20 vision, nerves of steel, lightning reflexes and a touch of bravado bordering on an iron will to hold your nerve. You perhaps wouldn't want a boss-eyed 6th form head girl with a penchant for dodgy underwear. Ladies and gentlemen.. I give you.... Gillian Cooke - bobsleigh driver and the only contestant to have an airbag fitted to her G String. That's her on the left in the photo below.
And just when it couldn't get any worse for Great Britain and the cost of sending hundreds of athletes, trainers, team backups, BBC sports broadcasting, lottery funding etc etc..... Australia has won TWO GOLDS and ONE SILVER. Yes, Australia. The country with scorching deserts, beaches and kangaroos. It makes you want to puke doesn't it?

Sunday, 21 February 2010

ON THE BUSES

It's Sunday afternoon again and with an iron in one hand and tv remote in the other, it pained me to see ITV1 scheduling 'Holiday on the Buses' as afternoon tv viewing. This was a film version of the popular tv programme 'On the Buses' from the 1970's. For those lucky enough to born after the 70's, thank your lucky stars that you weren't subjected to such puerile nonsense the first time round.

Here's the plot.. Stan (played by Reg Varney) plays a bus driver and his mate Jack plays a bus ticket collector. They're both randy, jack the lads who try to 'pull birds' usually unsuccessfully. Stan and Jack are pitched against Blakey, the bus company inspector who sports a Hitler-style moustache and is usually at the receiving end of Stan and Jack's escapades. He generally ends up covered in paint or having a large red bus run over his foot and him shouting 'eeee.. I'll have you Butler'. Stan lives at home with his mum and Olive his sister (who's overweight, wears thick glasses and is desperate to resume a sex life within her marriage) and brother-in-law Arthur (who pours scorn on his wife and avoids sex with her at all costs).

Holiday on the Buses sees our unlikely middle-aged lotharios (looking like leering 50 year olds) working summer season at a Pontins holiday camp. The film captures Stan and Jack working on mystery tour bus, with their bus caps perched jauntily on their heads, fag in mouth, and looking at the various provocatively-dressed 'birds' getting on their bus and saying quips like 'Corrr, blimey. Look at the bristols on that. There's more than 3 helpings there plus extra custard naaa-hhhhh'.

It was bad in the 70's, but is just plain wrong in 2010. It's bawdy, seaside postcard 'fun', dripped in innuendo and nudge-nudge wink-wink 'humour'. It's of its kind and of its day joining Carry On films, Benny Hill, Love Thy Neighbour, George and Mildred, amongst many others. At the risk of sounding like a card-carrying feminist, what's so galling about On The Buses and the like, is the way women are so negatively portrayed. The female characters in these programmes generally fitted into three categories...

The dollybird - short skirt, boots, cleavage on show, blonde and not very bright. Pursued relentlessly and without much success by the male characters for a bit of 'slap and tickle or how's your father'. (see any character played by Barbara Windsor, Sally Thomsett in Man About the House)
The old battleaxe / harridan - stern, shouting, severely dressed and the scourge of the male lead character (Peggy Mount, the headmistress in Please Sir, Hattie Jacques in Carry On Nurse)
The sex-starved, desperate, middle-aged, unattractive woman (Olive in On The Buses, Joan Simms or Patsy Rowlands in Carry On, Miss Jones in Rising Damp).

Did I watch Holiday On The Buses. No - I got off at the first stop and watched a dvd box set of Frasier instead. On the Buses and programmes of that ilk are nostalgic yes, but don't have a place on the tv screen at Fishfingerbutty Towers. Back to ironing my feminist dungarees and laughing to myself at that sweeping generalisation.....



I TOLD YOU I WAS ILL...

During the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray the medic at the centre of the death of Michael Jackson, it's emerged this week of the last words uttered by Wacko Jacko prior to his death. Without a hint of irony, the immortal words were 'I feel completely comfortable with him, I trust this guy with my life'. Sham-ooh

Here comes some more famous last words from the erm.. dead and famous...

Codeine...bourbon (Tallulah Bankhead d. 1968)
I should never have switched from scotch to martinis (Humphrey Bogart d.1957)
Oh, I'm not going to die am I? We've been so happy (Charlotte Bronte, said to her husband of 9 months. d. 1855)
Et tu Brute? (Gaius Julius Caesar. d 44BC)
I am bored with it all (Winston Churchill d 1965)
That was the best ice cream soda I ever tasted (Lou Costello d.1959)
Dammit... Don't you dare ask God to help me (Joan Crawford d. 1977)
That was a great game of golf fellas (Bing Crosby d. 1977)
My God, what's happened? (Diana, Princess of Wales d. 1997)
KHAQQ calling Itasca. We must be on you, but cannot see you. Gas is running low. (Amelia Earhart d. 1937)
All my possessions for a moment of time (Elizabeth I d.1603)
I've never felt better (Douglas Fairbanks d. 1939)
Let's cool it brothers (Malcolm X d. 1966)
Go on, get out - last words are for fools who haven't said enough (Karl Marx)
Get my swan costume ready (Anna Pavlova d.1931)
They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist... (General Sedgwick d. 1864)
I've had 18 straight whiskies, I think that's a record (Dylan Thomas d. 1953)
Either that wallpaper goes, or I do (Oscar Wilde d. 1900)
Curtain! Fast music! Ready for the last finale! Great! The show looks good, the show looks good! (Florenz Zeigfeld, showman d. 1932)

And some last words from criminals prior to execution...

How about this for a headline in tomorrow's paper? French Fries (James French, executed in electric chair d. 1966)

I did not get my spaghetti-O's, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this. (Thomas Grasso, killed by injection d. 1995)

Such is life (Ned Kelly, executed by hanging d. 1880)

Let's do it! (Gary Gilmore, executed by firing squad. d 1977)


Saturday, 20 February 2010

KING TUT 60 MINUTE MAKEOVER

No it's not a picture of Little Richard age 20 and Albert Steptoe overdoing the sunbed, but the computer-generated face of Tutankhamun taken from his profile from the mummified remains. Using bone structure from his skull, scientists have recreated Tutankhamun's facial features to quite an unnerving effect. King Tut has been in the news this week because scientists studying his remains over the past two years, have found evidence supporting how the boy king may have lived and eventually died.

It seems the boy king who died around the age of 19, could hardly have been nicknamed 'Lucky Tutty'. It's thought he had Marfans syndrome which partly accounts for a feminine and curvaceous appearance. He had a rare bone disorder affecting the foot called Kohler disease causing a club foot and curvature of the spine. Prior to his death, he had fractured his leg which scientists think led to his demise due to not healing properly and leaving him susceptible to infection. The malaria parasite was found in his DNA and this was thought to be a likely cause of death, although some scientists point to the fact his ribs and chest were also caved in and falling off his chariot being a likely cause of death. I bet his boyfriend had just dumped him a week before as well...

So, the most mysterious and famous Egyptian after Mohammed Al Fayed was a limping, sweaty, clumsy, stooping, ladyboy. Probably a good candidate for working the bars at Funny Girls Blackpool had it existed 3000 years ago. Certainly a definite candidate for Egyptian X Factor 1000BC. Imagine his sad story from the heats? 'Well Simon, I was born with this clicky hip and by the age of 12 had size 38C bosoms which is a bit of a hinderance especially as the sports bra hasn't even been invented yet. And I never got picked for the Cairo under-11's football team because it was embarrassing when we had to swop shirts at full-time. My dad disowned me as he wanted me to be king of all Egypt, have 500 wives and be a cruel master. But all I wanted to do is sing and wear Max Factor eye liner. Simon, I'll give 110% on this journey, I want it soooo much. Tonight Simon, Louis and Cheryl, I'm going to sing an old favourite of mine by the Bangles... Walk Like an Egyptian. Danni, can you just put that asp down while I do my intro? Ow, who left that bloody zimmer frame there, I think I've bust my bloody leg?'.....



BARBIE COBOL PROGRAMMER

She's been an air hostess, a showjumper and bizarrely, even an astronaut. Barbie, the perennial favourite doll with the tiny waist and impossibly long legs has now become an IT computer engineer. This follows an online vote hosted by Mattel, Barbie's makers for a new Barbie for 2010.
Her new outfit which is replicated worldwide in the offices of IBM, Microsoft et al is black spangled leggings, a lime-green fitted top patterned with binary code under a slinky waistcoast. Accessories include hot-pink glasses, watch and shoes. Barbie conducts her business on a pink laptop and has a bluetooth headset. And whilst she's crawling under desks cabling computers to IT sockets, Barbie gets down to practicalities with a pink bobble to tie her hair back into a ponytail, and pink wedgie shoes. Mattel got that bit right.. 6 inch pink stiletto heels are sooo last season in the IT industry. To me, the new Barbie just looks like Katherine Jenkins doing a promo for Dell (have ITV done laptopstar to Operastar yet?).

Call me cynical and with some previous experience in IT, this doll doesn't exactly represent a typical female IT professional. Sadly, this doll looks more like one of the HR admin girls who after a few cheeky vimtos at the work's christmas party, can usually be seen straddling and sucking the face off the IT Commercial Director before skulking off to the hotel bedroom on expenses for a bit of drunken rumpy-pumpy. Here are my suggestions for the next Barbie which I think is far more representative of today's young woman who inspire girls everywhere....









Barbie WAG. Complete with surgical breast enhancements, designer clothes from Cricket in Liverpool or Selfridges Manchester, and designer handbag and shoes. Blank, botoxed expression and limited vocabulary versions optional. Comes with premiership footballer doll called Jermaine (black ethnicity), or Wayne (white and neanderthal ethnicity). Jermaine and Wayne come with tattooed arms and clothed in hoodie, jeans and trainers. Convertible Bentley and VIP pass to Spearmint Rhino optional. To complete the Barbie WAG collection, there's Jermaine and Wayne's 'bit on the side' dolls which look very similar to Barbie WAG, but a little less well polished and wearing clothes from Primark.


Barbie Paris. Highly coiffured Barbie with high quality designer clothes with fun option of knickers falling to the ground at alarming regularity. Barbie Paris comes with vacuous expression, which lights up when a camera flashes in close proximity. Use with caution when Barbie Paris is playing with 'Ken' and there's a handheld video camera nearby. Accessorise Barbie Paris with an ugly, hairless small dog called Tinkerbell. Optional extras include a free hotel pass to any Hiltons worldwide (including continental breakfast), a TV series and a gay new best friend called Sasha.













IT'S FUN TO STAY AT THE Y-M-C-A...

It's the morning after the night before which had four nurses having YMCA dance practice at fishfingerbutty towers. The 50th birthday / 70's fancy dress party is looming and as the host has put an unexpected proviso on us to perform a dance routine, we thought we'd better get some practice in. We also can't let our fans down...

So in preparation, what could be easier than downloading the video of YMCA by the Village People from the internet and onto a DVD? I tell you what's easier... finding a cure for cancer, solving third world debt and establishing why Peter Andre keeps getting record deals. With a late night plea for help from Download Dave, we were rockin and rolling on flatscreen and surround sound.

Cue the arrival of R, J and T down from Lancaster and the dance routines were kicked off in my lounge. After about 8 attempts, we established some kind of rhythm in our claps although I lost a ceiling light fitting. 14 attempts, and we had two dance steps co-ordinated. 35 attempts in and with wine and takeaway food coming into play, we started getting cocky with J and R introducing back dips, jumping high 5's, and a mincing walk. T, bless her, takes it far more seriously and is writing down all the moves and using a stopwatch to synchronise the moves, lyrics and steps like clockwork. After 47 attempts, more wine is consumed and the home cinema system is at breaking point after the dvd is on constant pause and rewind. At this point, I'm seriously considering restarting smoking or at best using recreational drugs, and then the inevitable happens...hysteria sets in. It started with R declaring she needed to go for a poo (It used to happen all the time to Michael Flatley during Riverdance)..

Our routine then took on all these mad improvisations including elements of morris dancing, Michael Jackson crotch-grabbing thrusts and rather alarmingly, lap dancing. T was busy scribbling away on her dance pad adding steps then crossing them out furiously if they didn't fit into the stopwatch slots. R, after her comfort break and no doubt 2lbs lighter, then decided to lie on her back and do the Y-M-C-A movements with her legs (mostly stuck on 'Y' we noticed). Anyway, this soon turned into a double act with J joining her on her floor in synchronised leg opening movements. Although reasonably innocent in intention, from mine and T's perspective on the sofa, it could only be described as a girl on girl Amsterdam sex show minus the ping pong balls (although I did notice a worrying number of maltesers on my carpet this morning). T was very earnestly stating 'no,no, no I'm sorry girls but it's just too crude' whilst manually bending R's legs back behind her ears. The four us, it has to be said, were laughing until we cried. Very, very funny.

So, after six hours of practice, we've got a routine consisting of uncoordinated side claps and hands in air movements during the lyrics to Y-M-C-A. R collapsed on my sofa and was falling asleep. T (aka Arlene Phillips) has got an A4 pad full of scribbled notes and dance steps. J has carpet burns on her backside which may take a bit of explaining, but her sphincter held up despite having two children and being nearly able to somersault whilst trampolining. I have aching ribs and backside muscles and a new found respect for all types of dancers having to learn numerous and intricate dance routines.

We practice again next week. I think there'll be spillage...

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

THE LETTER J

In the early hours, I sat bolt upright in bed, sweating profusely and troubled by the letter J. At first I thought I'd perhaps contracted malaria and was hallucinating because of raging fever, but then realised my hot water bottle had worked it's way up to the side of my head which accounts for my weird delirium over the letter J. Perhaps malaria is a little difficult to contract in the middle of February especially when you live just outside Blackpool. Anyway, after considered thought, I came to the conclusion that 'J' is a really crap letter of the alphabet.

Here's the evidence against the letter J....

No British football team starts with a J. The only decent club starting with a J is Juventus and they're a little on the corrupt side. As a Scrabble player, I hate getting a J. Although it's a high scorer, I always end up getting 10 points with J-E-T. I'd love to get a smart-arsed 7 letter word on a triple word score that included the letter J, but however hard I try, it always ends up with JET or JOT. I much prefer Z or Q. It was the last letter to join the modern alphabet joining the Latin version from the Germanic language. So we have the Germans to thank for Kraftwerk, hairy armpits, lederhosen and the letter J. Rubbish words start with the letter J.... jockstrap, judder, joggers-nipple, jalopy, jealousy, Jemima, jodphurs, jizz and Jordan. Incidentally, did you know the word Jordan means chamberpot? Could there be anything more incongruous than Katie Price and the contents of a chamberpot? I doubt it.

And the compelling argument against the letter J? J.J..J..J....Jedward.



Sunday, 14 February 2010

OOH LA LA....

Here comes some shameless plugging for a little French takeaway close by to where I live. Monsieurs, run by Guy and Anita Jenkinson is Poulton-le-Fylde's best kept secret. The food is freshly prepared using excellent quality local produce.
Typical main courses include beef bourgignon, Moroccan lamb tagine, pork dijon, coq au vin, Basque chicken and a plat du jour. The chicken livers cooked in sherry are well recommended as are the home-made desserts which are to die for.

Don't believe me? Have a look at UKTV's Good Food channel review...
Guy and Anita Jenkinson have run this unique takeaway for 13 years, providing piping hot, homecooked, French-orientated dishes for the lucky denizens of Poulton-le- Fylde. Produce is as local as possible, and you can expect dishes like beef bourguignon, navarin of lamb, pork dijon, chicken à la crème, as well as spaghetti bolgnaise and lasagne. New this year is sloe and apple duck and there's a daily plat du jour. A little gem. Open evenings only, closed Monday.

Tonight I called in and as a Valentine's day special, was treated to a huge profiterole with the best choux pastry, the yummiest filling of whipped fresh vanilla pod infused custard and cream, hot chocolate sauce, toasted almonds and fresh strawberries. Damn sexy food which was so good, I had to go and lie in a darkened room as I was struggling to breathe following the food-fest.

Check out Monsieurs at 12d Blackpool Old Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancs
Tel: 01253 896400

SPORTING WEEKEND

It's been an action-packed weekend of sport starting with the opening of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The death of the young Georgian luge competitor during practice sessions threatened to overshadow the opening ceremony. I managed to watch a some of the ceremony and it was quite spectacular. I'm looking forward to seeing the downhill skiing and Team GB trying to beat our 4 medal haul in 1924. We've a good chance with Shelley Rudman in the skeleton and the women's bobsleigh team. The men's curling and dare I mention in the void left by Torvill & Dean, the Scottish siblings Sinead and John Kerr may have an outside chance in the figure skating.

No premiership football this weekend due to the FA Cup matches. Stoke City managed an impressive draw against Man City who looked a little shaky without the presence of Carlos Tevez. Birmingham, Portsmouth and Chelsea cruise through. Results still due in for mighty Spurs v Bolton, Villa v Palace and Fulham v Notts County. I'm hoping for a Spurs v Man City final which brings back some great memories of Ricardo Villa scoring that magnificent goal for Spurs in the replay. Other matches this weekend saw Blackpool get a draw against their arch rivals Preston and Newcastle go back to the top of the Championship.

In the Six Nations, England are favourites to beat Italy in Rome this afternoon. Whilst typing this and with an eye on the rugby, all I can hear is Brian Moore's commentary getting more and more exasperated with the England performance. We can't lose against the Italians and allow France a foot in the door can we? Aside from England's initial woes, the Welsh snatched a last minute win over Scotland and the Irish were outclassed by France. Good rugby on show and a fantastic Six Nations tournament.

Tuesday night sees Manchester United take on AC Milan in the Champions League and the debate hots up as to whether David Beckham will play and whether he'll celebrate if he scores. Old Trafford is a superb arena for the greatest players to ply their craft. I hope Beckham plays and I hope he gets a great welcome. Not sure I'd like him to score though....



SIMON BARLOW - CUTE OR CREEPY?

Corrie's Simon Barlow (played by Alexander Bain) has breathed new life into the dreary Barlow family. He's certainly a better actor than most of them - yes Deidre, that means you. The late Maggie Jones who played Blanche was possibly the only exception. I miss her put downs and acerbic wit.

The latest storyline sees Simon's father Peter Barlow struggling with lapsing back into alcoholism. Corrie got it badly wrong with the Joe McIntyre disappearing man on lake the plotline, but the writers and actor playing Peter Barlow deserve much credit for tackling the issue of alcoholism so realistically. The drama is building as Simon is at the centre of a tug-of-war between his grandparents and Peter's drunken attempts to get him back. Scenes shot at Blackpool are imminent...

Whatever chaos is going on around him, Simon just manages to steal every scene he's in by managing just to look up with those cute cat from Shrek 2 big brown eyes. He also seems to have a natural acting ability way beyond his years. Lines are delivered in helium-pitched, Rochdalesque perfection.

However, to coin Ann Widdecombe's phrase, 'there's something of the night about him'. It's a feeling that I can't quite put my finger on it, but he just reminds me of an old man who's very, very short. A miniature Charlie Chaplin or a cross between Benjamin Button, Stewie from Family Guy and Damian from the Omen. Call it a hunch, but I've noticed that birds don't fly over Granada Studios when Simon does his outside scenes. Chesney's Schmeichal runs round in circles baying at the moon. And another thing...I'm going to ask for a second post mortem on Simon's pet rabbit Liane (shown looking a tad apprehensive in the photo above). Liane allegedly died in the flat fire from smoke inhalation, but I'm sure Simon was seen stuffing a box of Swan Vestas and an ether-soaked hankerchief in his school trouser pockets....


Saturday, 13 February 2010

SHOWERS IN FEBRUARY

Phase 3 of the shower saga gets underway at fishfingerbutty towers this morning.
This follows yet another water leak from a hole in the tile grouting. Fortunately, it wasn't so serious and there was no soaking carpets and water like the christmas tsunami.

Anyway, trusty Mike is here and cracking on with fitting new plasterboards, tiles and shower tap. I don't always see eye to eye with the building trade. Call me skeptical, but previous experience of half-a-job Johnny who drinks your tea and scoffs all your biscuits, does a half-finished job then drives off into the sunset in their white van with a healthy wad of my cash in their back pocket never to be heard of again, does do your head in somewhat.

Mike is one of those rare breed of builders who takes his shoes off when entering your house. He goes and sits in his van when he wants a cigarette. He's pleasant and does everything you ask of him with a smile on his face. He cleans up after himself and his work is fantastic. Best of all, he puts the toilet seat down after use. This man is too good to be true.

As mentioned before, I don't have the best of luck with water. In fact, Joe McIntyre from Coronation Street has better luck around water than I do. None of it is due to bad management like leaving taps on or by dodgy DIY jobs. It just decides periodically to drip then spurt from valves, gush furiously from central heating pipes cut by workmen or seep from fractured drain pipes. I've begun talking to my washer and sending it black looks and warnings to not even think about flooding my kitchen. I'm becoming a little obsessional about my kitchen U bend and launching my hand into the darkness whilst feeling for wet patches. Water gets you like that, it makes you a little barmy. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner had it sussed. Is that an albatross I see circling outside my bedroom window?....