Saturday, 31 July 2010


Day off today which saw the BF and I hit the heady heights of Fleetwood. Now Fleetwood has so much more to offer than the smell of fish and a population so insular it's positively incestuous. My goodness yes.. for Fleetwood has a McDonalds and a KFC, the Freeport shopping experience and a ferry service to Knott End. After a few burps following a McDonalds summer chicken deluxe meal and McFlurry, we decided that a good walk down Fleetwood's front would kill off some cholesterol. Fleetwood's Lifeboat station were having a fundraising day so there were stalls, a folk band and trips out on the lifeboat. There was a huge queue for the lifeboat so in a fit of impulsiveness, we headed towards the Knott End Ferry. Don't ask me why, even we weren't sure why we did it. We were joined by passengers with an average age of 72, about 23 dogs, a captain with a jaunty hat and ruddy cheeks and his very heavily tattooed and slightly deranged looking first mate. Halfway across the Wyre estuary and the boat was rocking quite significantly in the really choppy waters and looked a lot like it was drifting. I had a slight pang of worry mixed with biting my bottom lip at the prospect of being winched up by a Coastguard helicopter just off the Isle of Man. It got considerably worse when I looked up and saw the first mate looking in my direction with a crazed look in his eyes whilst stabbing the back of his hand with a compass. It was with much relief he was finally distracted when we landed on the slipway and he had to chuck out a big rope and secure the boat. We made our way up to the village of Knott End which let me say is nice.. nice in that you would live there as a form of euthanasia. It feels like the end of the road and to some extent it is. To drive there takes an eternity from anywhere. There simply is no reason to go there except live very quietly and slowly die of boredom. We strung out 30 minutes walking and looking out to sea before hitting the one and only coffee shop which was surprisingly busy with little white haired people in wheelchairs. We made our way back to the ferry and my heart sank when I saw Fleetwood's answer to 'Heeeeere's Johnny' licking his lips as he cast a homicidal glance towards my direction. Back to Fleetwood and we had a look round Freeport. It's a shopping outlet area built in the design of a New England  village. It also has four of probably the greatest outlet shops ever:- GAP, M&S, Next and Cadburys World. Replenished of GAP hoodies, we head off for a Costa coffee and then home to reflect on why our clothes stunk of fish and sea water....

Sunday, 25 July 2010


I love a good parody and not many come better than this... Alicia Keys and Jay-Z sang eloquently about the joys of their home town New York in Empire State of Mind. But sit back and enjoy the alternative version ... 

Saturday, 24 July 2010


Anyone (like me) who was a big fan of the Enid Blyton Famous Five (and later, Famous Seven) books will be sorry, but not wholly surprised to see that the language within the books has been given a 21st century makeover. In order to appeal to today's children, the publishers have attempted to drag the language from the 1940's into words and phrases more suitable for today's readers. No more awful swotters, dirty tinkers and jolly japes. Instead, the old-fashioned language and dated expressions are felt to be preventing today's children from enjoying the stories. Expressions like 'mercy me' will change to 'oh no', 'fellow' to 'man' and 'it's all very peculiar' to 'it's all very strange'. 
Other changes include 'housemistress' becoming 'teacher', 'awful swotter' becoming 'bookworm', 'mother and father' becoming 'mum and dad' and 'dirty tinker' to 'traveller'. The new contemporary books will be out in August and will still contain siblings Dick, Julian and Anne spending summer with their tomboy cousin George (Georgina) and Timmy the dog.  Even Nobby the circus boy has been updated to the more palatable 'Ned' although conversely, Dick and Fanny remain. I have written to the publishers Hodders with my further suggestions on the language used by the Famous Five which may appeal to todays' kiddywinkies....

'Oh My God Dick, that's sooooo wicked'
'Anyone fancy some lashings of Lambrini and a drag of my Marlboro light?' 
'I can't really be arsed going out looking for treasure, Hollyoaks is on'
'Anyone seen my GHD's' 
'Oh my God, that's soooo gay'
'Where's my f*ckin mobile you bunch of sh*theads?'
'Look I've got my period right so I'm not in the mood OK?'
'Does my arse look big in these skinny jeans?' 
'Oh My God I hate you' 
'F*ck the picnic, where's the nearest McDonalds?' 

Rumour has it, other classics are being brought up to date and dragged into the 21st century. Scrooge and Mr Bumble run a paedophile ring in Oliver Twist from an Amsterdam workhouse. Heathcliff runs an advertising agency and Cathy Earnshaw is his lesbian PA. Mr D'Arcy is a premiership footballer who has string of women at his disposable but gets caught out when the press reveal his 10 hour sex sessions in Chinawhite with a lapdancer.  

...Or perhaps the books could be left as they are and publishers should realise that young and old might just have the intelligence to realise that the language contained within the books is appropriate for the time and are more than capable of understanding the text without help of translation to modern language and in this respect, should be left intact. Enid would be turning in her grave. 


Blimey what's happening to the cast of Corrie these days? They all seem to be writing autobiographies exposing their long-standing mental health problems. Beverley Callard who plays Rovers landlady Liz McDonald has revealed she has received treatment for depression following a nervous breakdown.  Former landlady Natalie Barnes played by Loose Women's Denise Welsh has also spoken publicly of her long history of clinical depression stemming from post-natal depression suffered after the birth of her son. She speaks of previously being driven to the point of suicide and suffering numerous panic attacks. And now, Ian Puleston-Davies who plays the Street's newest character builder Owen Armstrong, has revealed he has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I read one newspaper account that when the actor plays a scene in the Rovers, he firstly checks his pint glass numerous times to confirm the glass rim won't tear his lip or chip his teeth. 
I'm pleased that 'celebrities' are open about mental illness. So often, it is still perceived as a stigma and something to be ashamed of. By bringing it into the open, it's hoped that mental illness is 'normalised', it knows no boundaries and it affects 1 in 4 of us. Publicity reveals that celebrities are not immune from it either. 
I shall wait in baited breath for the christmas autobiographies and chat show circuit revealing Betty Driver's schizophrenia, Jack P Shepherd's alzheimers or Schmeichal's brush with Bipolar disorder. Now that would be interesting....


Thursday night heralded our first ever work's night out and we managed to all get into work the next day unscathed if not a little tired and hungover. It's been a bad week work-wise as we've moved offices which brought out the grumpiness in most of us when crates went missing and computers and phones were left unconnected. Good job then that the Social Secretary of the Foo-Foo Club (ie. me) had arranged a night out as a welcome distraction. The local Italian restaurant provided our meeting point and the suitably impressive £7.95 for a 3 course special. There was a group of teenage girls in the bar area on our arrival chattering and giggling in that decibel range only achieved by 13 year old girls. After a few minutes of having to lip read my work colleagues' conversations, I leaned over the bar and asked the owner he if would be a good fellow and not sit us within a 50 yard range of those bloody annoying, loud and obviously spoilt little gobshites. Thinking he'd agree with my mature and thoroughly researched viewpoint of my reasonable request, imagine my consternation when Luigi told me that one of these gobshites was his daughter and the rest were her friends. I sat down, pulled the menu up to cover my face and vowed never to open my big fat gob for the rest of the evening. I'm sure there was a taste of soap in my pizza. 
After a really good meal with the usual innuendo swapping over the huge pepper mill with the waiters, we ambled our way down to a local bar where we would be entertained by a superb local band. First round of drinks in and we found a corner spot with a bit of room where our dance routines could be showcased to their best ability. And boy were they showcased. Unfortunately, as the band played, the bar became more packed and the temperature rose even more. Why can't bars invest in some air conditioning? It was hot, hot hot. 
The night reached dizzy heights with one of our group dancing in the style of Louie Spence meets poledancer. All the wares were displayed using the bar as a prop for the amusement of the young barman trying to fix our drinks. And then the inevitable happened... the youngest nurse amongst our group was hit on by a young boy-band looking German sailor called Herman. Herman the German - priceless. They swapped 15 minutes of small talk and then she nonchalantly slunk over to tell us she was 'going outside for a snog'. Ten minutes later, they sheepishly walk back in, Herman wanders over to his German Navy friends and Foo-Foo L returns to us claiming the snog-fest had been a disaster - Herman had asked for a bunk-up in the bushes of the car park. Classy nein? He glanced over in that 'Fraulein, my bratwurst needs some loving, nein? but our young intrepid nurse was having none of it, concentrating her efforts instead on her double vodka, blackcurrant and soda. 
I got to bed ridiculously late and struggled like mad the next day at work. 

The next night out is in planning stages. Watch this space for the Foo-Foo Club's next outing...

Sunday, 18 July 2010


It's my dad's birthday today. I had my parents round for a birthday meal yesterday and made a bit of a fuss of my great dad who often gets overlooked in the 'making a fuss of' stakes. My dad is absolutely impossible to buy birthday presents for. He has no usual dad hobbies like golf, fishing or DIY. We've bought him numerous shirts, pullovers, pj's in the past which usually end up in the back of dad's wardrobe never to see the light of day again. This year, my dad was treated to some pretty snazzy and trendy leather slippers which when opened, dad made all the right 'ooh and aah noises. They were tried on and admired from the vantage point looking down towards his size 9's resting dad-like on the footstool. As we both get older, I realise how many of my dad's genes I've inherited. Our sense of humour is identical. When I was a kid, my mum worked evening shifts in an off-license which meant my dad used to let me stay up and watch either comedy (Taxi, MASH, Rhoda) or scary programmes (Armchair Thriller, Tales of the Unexpected). I recently bought my dad dvd sets of Little Britain and Phoenix Nights which reduces both dad and I to tears of laughter much to my mum consternation at the sheer silliness of it. Put a meal in front of my dad and he'll be happy. He loves food and likes nothing more than a good Sunday roast and a great big pudding afterwards for no-one has a sweeter tooth than my dad. He also loves his house and garden and works tirelessly in maintaining both in tidiness and good order. He loves his RAF past and tells us all (with our usual glazed expression) about his time on Anglesey and Lincolnshire. Each year we take him to Blackpool Air Show and he'll tell us about Lancaster bombers and Spitfires but goes very quiet and wipes an embarrassed tear away when he sees his personal favourites - the Red Arrows. He also loves sport and in particular football and golf. He's a Manchester lad originally hailing from Gorton and politely refuses to nail his true colours towards the blue half of Manchester in case it upsets the red half of his sons, daughter and grandchildren. Give my dad a book and it will be cast aside to the nearest bookcase. Give him a newspaper containing crossword or a sudoku puzzle and he'll be in raptures. 
I shall call in to see my dad today in his new slippers and leave him in peace to watch the British Open Golf whilst I take his lovely wife and my gorgeous mum out shopping to her favourite shop- TK Maxx. Happy days! 


Let me introduce to the winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2010... Gavin Henson. Wow, cha cha cha or va va voom when you look at this cheeky little photo.
Some of the celeb names lined up for series 8 of SCD have already been announced. Alongside Gavin Henson (or Chavin as he was known before his recent split with Charlotte Church), is Patsy Kensit, Felicity Kendall, Matthew Wright, GMTV's Penny Smith, Richard Madeley and wait for it... Ann Widdecombe. With Ann and Felicity's signature on board, Anton de Beke and Darren Bennett will no doubt be thinking it's not their turn to win it again this year. 
This year's SCD sees even more changes from the controversy of the last series particularly in the BBC budget. The celeb dancers will be paid on their performance throughout the competition so that the dancers who progress to the finals could earn up to £100k. In the past, celebs such as Martina Hingis received a fee of £50k despite being voted out in the first round. The BBC have revealed that the professional dancers receive only £30,000 per series whilst the judges earn £90,000. And here's the clincher.. Brucie Forsyth has agreed to a 15% pay cut which is good of him considering he's picking up £550k. The phrase money for old rope springs to mind. 
SCD still remains one of my all-time favourite tv shows. Here's some of the reasons why I love it so much..

- The campness. 
- The skill of the dancers and the 'journey' of the celebs.
- It's great all-round family entertainment. 
- Brendan Cole's pairings with models and his yearly hissy fits with the judges.
- The variety of the dancing and blimey, there's been some memorable, show  stopping dance routines - Jill Halfpenny & Darren Bennett's jive, Alesha Dixon & Matthew Cutler's cha cha cha and Mark Ramprakash & Karen Hardy's tango to name but a  few. 
- The dance partnerships that perhaps should have won the series but fell at the last hurdle - Austin Healy & Erin Boag, Colin Jackson & Erin Boag and Ricky Whittle & Natalie Low.
- The awful celeb dancers who painfully keep get voted in - Fiona Phillips, Kate Garraway, John Sargeant and the very deluded Craig Kelly. 
- The ubiquitous romances each series.. Natasha Kaplinsky & Brendan Cole, Joe Calzalge & Kristina Rihanoff and Ali Bastian & Brian Fortuna. 
- Claudia Winkleman on SCD It Takes Two..  fresh, edgy and fun. 
- The judges. Len 'SEV-EN' Goodman, Craig 'dahh-ling' Revel-Horwood, Bruno Tonioli are great, but please bring back Arlene Philips. 
- The SCD special from Blackpool's Tower Ballroom... the spiritual home of dancing. Please God I can get tickets this year.  
- The BBC. I don't care what anyone says, the BBC are the mutts nuts are producing quality tv programmes and pull out all the stops for SCD. Visually, it is superb. 

The downside? - Bruce Forsyth of course. It can't be too long 'til Anton de Beke takes over can it? Pleeeeease???   

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Watching Channel 4's Cutting Edge Series 'Living With Brucie' confirms everything I had thought about  Mr Showbiz. The programme showed a day-to-day glimpse into the 'real' Bruce Forsyth and his wife (ex Miss World) Wilnelia Merced or Winnie for short. It didn't so much capture the real Bruce as Brucie was very careful to script every move and even rehearse speaking to the camera. In his scripted moments, Brucie seemed careful to cultivate the image of the Mr Bruce Forsyth - chivalrous romantic, consummate professional, championship golfer. In his unguarded moments he appeared vain, self-absorbed, tetchy, age and appearance obsessed, a little OCD-ish and a little boorish. His wife comes across as genuinely lovely if not a tad too patient for her own good. She indulges Brucie his foibles but the pay-off appears to be a lack of having to do anything other than look perfectly magnificent at all times for Brucie to admire. Winnie after all has a Miss World and catwalk model reputation to live up to. She met Brucie when she was 21 and he was a twice divorced 53 year old with a dodgy taste in rugs and catchphrases. They must be doing something right because they've remained married 30 years. 
It's like Mrs. Merton once said to Debbie Magee.. 'So Debbie... what was that first attracted you to millionaire Paul Daniels?'. 


I noticed in this week's papers that Kim Cattrall of Sex and the City fame has been awarded an honorary degree. Kim flew over to her English hometown to receive her degree from Liverpool John Moores university. Also in the news were honorary degrees for Orlando Bloom from the university of Kent, and golfers Padraig Harrington, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson from the university of St Andrews. At my own graduation ceremony last December, no other than actress Liz Dawn aka Corrie's Vera Duckworth was on the stage receiving her degree. I have absolutely nothing against Ms Dawn or Ms Cattrall or any of the other celebrities personally. But I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking do they really deserve it and who actually benefits from their receiving these prestigious awards? Here comes the violins, but my graduation was the culmination of three years of study slumped over books and writing essays until the early hours combined with working full-time in nursing. Here's where I have a problem with giving honorary degrees to celebrities:- 

Universities are places of scholarly learning. Places should be hard earned and seen as a privilege. Gaining a degree is generally a hard slog. Gaining a Masters degree or Doctorate is even more of an accomplishment. Many scholars devote their life to research in order to use their knowledge to improve the lives of others. Giving celebrities Mickey Mouse degrees simply for their notoriety demeans the importance and 'honour' of gaining a degree through hard work and diligence. If the university is so hard pressed that it needs celebrities to don a cap and gown and provide free advertising in the papers, then here's a novel suggestion... Stop providing Mickey Mouse courses in Media Studies or Complementary Medicine and rather than be interested in earning money from students or from 'celebrity' publicity, far better perhaps to try to retain academic integrity. 

There, I've said it. 


If you have read any of my blogs, you may have gathered by now that I'm a big fan of music and in particular how it is interpreted by bad dancing. I'm not stating for one minute that I'm a Dame Margot Fonteyn or Beyonce in the dancing stakes. Far from it. I love a good boogie on the dance floor and acquit myself quite well by keeping in rhythm at least. I have a massive appreciation of professional dancers who are often so good, they make it look effortless. Anyone who has had even a smidgen of dance experience will know how hard it is to maintain the fitness, stamina and agility for dancing not to mention having to remember all the choreographed moves. 
It's therefore with much amusement, and a huge dollop of perversity that I watch people hitting the dance floor at family parties or weddings and trawl You Tube for examples of bad dancing. I just love it. 
I found this little beaut of a clip of Nigel Lythgoe (the original Pop Idol judge who famously called Kym Marsh 'fat') who used to be in a dance troup called Young Generation. Anyone from my era will recognise Young Generation as the backing dancers and latterly an act in their own right on 70's shows such as Seaside Special, The Rolf Harris Show, The Cilla Black Show, Lulu etc etc. I don't want to be unkind, but boy, they were mightily crap. Not quite as crap as Pans People, but still pretty crap.
This clip just beggers belief. Nigel is playing the lead dancer and provides an early inspiration for Mike Myers as Austin Powers. And if Nigel isn't bad enough, check out the blond, long haired dancer mainly at the forefront next to the nodding lead dancer. He's generally off-time, forgets his routine, forgets his lines and just gets in the way. I'm guessing he's the son of a BBC producer who got a summer job in Young Generation in his gap year. He probably grew up to be Michael Grade. Or Craig Revel-Horwood. 

And check out the song lyrics 'He's the one, he's the one, the one they call....Nigel'. Enjoy the camp awfulness of the routine.


I was looking through some old school photos the other day which not only brought back memories, but got me thinking on the people I went to school with and their names. Being one of the 1960's baby boomer generation, it seems that most of the names were definitely of that time and very rarely feature in the notices for new arrivals. 
Consider these girls names from my schooldays:- 

Alison, Anne, Barbara, Carol, Carolyn, Denise, Gaynor, Jackie, Jane, Julie, Karen, Kay, Lesley, Lyndsay, Marie, Michelle, Sandra, Susan, Teresa, Tracy and Wendy. 

And these boys names:- 
Alan, Andrew, Anthony, Brian, Carl, Christopher, Craig, Graham, Ian, Jason, Kevin, Lawrence, Martin, Mark, Peter, Paul, Stephen and Wayne. 

I doubt whether many of these names would feature in today's new baby top 10 listings of names. It's funny how many names rise in popularity for a decade or so, then wane when a new crop of favourites become popular. It seems TV and film have a big part to play in naming your baby. In the 60's, songs, tv, character names or actors and actresses helped in the popularity of names. Michelle by the Beatles, the character 'Jason King' in Department X, Diana Rigg playing Tracy Bond in Her Majesty's Secret Service. 
Nowadays, traditional names are still popular with a resurgence of Victorian names (particularly for girls) such as Martha, Beatrice, Florence. There's also the big influence again from tv and film.... Chardonnay, Chantelle, Madison, Alfie, Phoebe, Harrison. 

And whatever happened to the names of my grandparent's generation? Will the likes of Mildred, Edgar, Dorothy, June, Margaret, Edna, Enid, Joyce, Walter, Harold, Ernest, Leonard, Ronald, Gladys, Gertrude, Edith, Pearl, Lena, Hilda and the unfortunate Fanny, ever be popular again? I doubt it somehow. 

Monday, 12 July 2010


At last it's over. Spain are World Cup champions beating the Dutch in a scrappy final. It's a pity that the Germany v Uraguay game for the third place slot wasn't the final. Both teams went out to win and there were goals a plenty. Last night's over-hyped game was far from pretty and mostly ugly in some of the tackles particularly from the Dutch. 
And so the WC ends for another four years. I can't say it was memorable. I can't think of any great stars that shone or any great teams that emerged. For me it will remembered mainly for the grumpiness of the players. Was it just me or did the players and teams just look unhappy to be there? The tournament simply didn't take off or have the excitement build up through the stages like previous tournaments such as Italia 90 or the Euro 96 games. We saw the Republic Of Ireland get cheated out of a place and the tournament was poorer for it. We saw France implode and Italy capitulate. And England... well, they were just awful. Spain were worthy winners and I'm pleased they won. 
I'm also pleased I spent the evening with mates at Vic's having a chilli special with home-made chocolate mousse. The match was pretty awful to watch but at least the food was excellent! 


Had an absolute blast on Saturday when I met up with my mates from Lancaster and we went to see Spamalot. I hadn't seen my friends since the infamous YMCA dancing night in Morecambe last March, so a meet up was well overdue and much anticipated. I hadn't heard of Spamalot previously but found out it was written by Eric Idle and in his own words 'lovingly ripped off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. We trundled off to Manchester and walked through hot and humid streets with perspiration leaking through my head faster than a United Utilities burst water main. We walked down Oxford Road and saw loads of people gathered outside the Radisson Hotel and was told it was Nicole from Pussycat Dolls just leaving. Our showbiz sources told us that the X Factor auditions were taking place at the nearby G-Mex and Nicole (otherwise famous for schtomping Lewis Hamilton) was a guest judge. And so on to the Opera House which was mercifully air conditioned and packed out. Spamalot was surprisingly good and very entertaining. It starred Marcus Brigstocke as King Arthur, Todd Carty as Patsy (a sort of Baldrick character) and Blackpool girl Jodie Prenger in the Lady of the Lake role. I know I'm biased, but Jodie Prenger was excellent - there's a really good comic actress lurking behind the West End musical voice just waiting to be picked out by some up and coming comedy production. After the show, like a troup of giggling groupies we hotfooted it round to the stage door and met all the cast and had our photos taken. Jodie and I chatted about our Blackpool connection (like you do) and we all flirted a little with Todd (like you do). 
After a quick review of the photos, we stopped for a refreshment stop in a open air plaza and just watched city life at its best. Manchester really is a cool city. The city centre has a continental yet young, wealthy and metropolitan feel about it. There's loads of bars, coffee shops and restaurants all doing very well. We sat out in a small plaza and saw people relaxed and enjoying the weather with glasses of wine and chatting surrounded by Victorian buildings of old and modern glass fronted buildings post Arndale IRA bombing. We then pootled off to a little Asian restaurant in Albert Square and enjoyed a bottle of bubbly and some pretty sensational Indonesian/Thai food. Great day with great company with plenty of laughs as usual. 

Friday, 9 July 2010


Today's visit to the hairdressers went well. Well in that my greying hair has been dyed back to mocha brown with golden highlights, I got two cups of coffee and a read through four OK and Hello magazines. I love going to the hairdressers. It's a couple of hours of relaxing and catch up with the latest goss on Katie Price and Alex Reid. Of course nowadays, the colouring process seems to occur more often than I'd like. Only the other night at the pub quiz, my hair was scrutinized by my fellow quizzers with witty reposts such as 'ooh, aren't you grey?', 'have you left those roots in on purpose?'. The bastards. So, I hotfooted it down  to my usual sanctuary and left two hours later and £62 lighter. 
Nowadays, the colouring process is so easy. I sit there whilst my hairdresser sort of weaves a comb through a tress of hair and paints on the colour over a kind of hand-held paddle. It's come a long way since the bleached highlights or 'streaks' of the 1980's. Eee, those were the days. You had a great big rubber cap covered in holes stretched over your head and a crochet hook would pull your hair through whilst you sat there gently sobbing through the pain. And if you were really lucky, the bleach would soak through to your forehead causing a red burnt head which would itch for weeks. And then you'd end up looking like a cross between Wincey Willis and Myra Hindley  with big hair and a cocktail fag and huge shoulder pads for your accessories. 
Good to see hair colouring and products have moved on since the bleach-ridden days of the 1980's. So, it was with a slight surprised look and my eyesbrows raised that I spotted this little ad in one of my hairdressers magazines. Fun Betty (Color for down there) is.. yes you've guessed it... an American product for dyeing your pubic hair. Only the conservative Americans can market a product with the term 'color for down there'. I dread to think of the wording the Swedish or Dutch would use. 'Mocha your muff' or 'tinge your minge' perhaps? 
Anyway, Fun Betty comes in the usual colours of blonde, brunette and black plus hot pink which I'm sure would only appeal to:- 

a) Barbara Cartland 
b) Katie Price aka Jordan 
c) Pink (the singer) 
d) Betty 'Fun' Turpin 
e) Zandra Rhodes
f) Christiano Ronaldo - if the rumours are to be believed.  

Thursday, 8 July 2010


No-one in Germany was too surprised when they were knocked out of the World Cup by Spain because it had been predicted live on tv. Paul the octopus has achieved celebrity status due to his uncanny predictions. Dubbed the psychic octopus, Paul has correctly predicted all Germany's results so far. Two glass canisters are dropped into Paul's tank containing a mussel and a country's flag.  Paul hovered above the container before finally selecting the mussel of his choice which so far has been the winner of each of the German matches. 
Not everyone however is a fan of Paul. After Argentina lost to Germany in the quarter finals, the Argentines threatened to kill Paul and put him in a paella. Argentine newspapers even gave a recipe for anyone daring to capture Paul, including the tip 'you need four normal potatoes, olive oil and a little pepper'. 

Paul, by the way is British born although I don't feel inclined to welcome him as a fellow countryman. Never mind his football gambling predictions, where's that sick squid he still owes me? 

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


I met up with some mates last night for the local pub quiz night. Tuesday's are also grill night in my local so a steak and drink for £5.99 usually brings in the punters who stay on for the quiz. Fed and amply watered on an 8oz rump steak and with pens at the ready, it was eyes down and we were off. My mates and I have quite a good knowledge base. My younger mates have new music / cinema / entertainment pretty well covered. I'm just an old bugger who reads boring stuff on history and politics. We also have sport pretty well covered so it's with much enthusiasm we start the quiz with that heady expectation that we'll win some money somewhere. All was going well until the connections round when you need to get 4 answers and solve the connection between the four answers. Last night's questions stumped us yet again:- 
1. Who was the British PM in 1967 when the pound was devalued?       Harold Wilson
2. Which actor played the lead role in the 1970's film Mean Streets? 
    Burt Reynolds (we put Steve McQueen) 
3. Which British athlete won gold in the triple jump event? 
    Jonathan Edwards
4. Which Big Brother contestant thought Saddam Hussain was a boxer?
    Jade Goody 

Getting one of the answers wrong obviously didn't help our cause but the best we could come up for the connection between all four was (brace yourselves...)
They all had a lesbian mother with a withered arm. 

Shameful, I know. The correct answer was the surnames were all great train robbers from the 1960's. Of course it was, bloody obvious really. 
We trundled on through the various rounds and many rounds later came a credible fifth. A good night was had by all. 

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


Luxuriating in a long hot steamy bath would never be the same again with this little beauty. This crystal bathtub was carved from a single block of the purest white crystal rock mined from Brazil. It's perhaps not suited for the average semi-detached bathroom as it's seven feet long and two feet deep. And getting up the staircase might be a bit of a problem too. 
Anyway, if you have a few bob spare and fancy a bathroom with a difference from the usual B&Q or Plumb Center specials, then this little beauty will cost you £530,000 from Harrods until the end of July. Blimey, that's about the cost of my ice cream budget for the year. Or a month's salary for Ashley Cole. Or employing 25 nurses for a year. Or give Sarah Ferguson a nice little earner for introducing HRH Prince Andrew to some businessmen. Or keeping Pete Doherty in drugs or Amy Winehouse in alcohol for a week. 
It's a lot of money, but I'd still love one. My ajax or CIF is at the ready....


I've managed to catch up with a few early morning episodes of Frasier on Comedy Central. It has always been one of my favourite comedies - superbly written and brilliantly acted. American comedies and dramas are very different from ours. They're usually very slick, well produced, containing 'clever' and quickfire humour. The plots usually have a fallguy and a wiseguy and the American writers tend to make the characters likeable. I remember watching American comedy of the past and always finding it very funny. I love quick, dry and often slapstick humour which the American's are so good at producing. I'm thinking the Lucille Ball Show, Bilko, Taxi, Cheers and more recently Friends and Will and Grace. Our best comedies often include a grotesque leading character who is unlikeable, yet is so appealing in their awfulness, they are instantly watchable. I'm thinking Fawlty Towers, Absolutely Fabulous, The Office, The Royle Family to name but a few. 
Frasier sort of transcends the best of American and British humour. The character of Dr Frasier Crane was a spin-off from the highly successful Cheers series. Frasier is a slightly neurotic, snobby radio psychiatrist who lives with his father, his father's dog Eddie and a live-in physical therapist called Daphne. It often lapses into farce with intricate plotlines and sub plots, but always delivers a superbly crafted comedy. And yes, it gets a Sky+ in my house. 

Here's my top 5 facts about Frasier...

1. John Maloney who plays Frasier's dad Martin, is actually British born and bred from a little place called Blackpool! 
2. Jane Leeves who plays Daphne Moon starred in the Benny Hill Show as a Hills Angel.
3. The show won 37 Emmys during its 11 year run. 
4. Kelsey Grammer who plays Fraiser has had a turbulent personal life. His father and sister were both murdered. His twin younger brothers were killed in a scuba diving accident. 
5. David Angell who produced series 1-8 was killed in the 9/11 disaster. 


Sunday, 4 July 2010


Those damn Germans go and do it again. England's bogey team went and  did a very impressive demolition job on my tip for the tournament , Argentina. Maradona was inspiring the team to greatness. His enthusiasm and fan-like exuberance on the touchline was a joy to see. Messi, despite not scoring was mesmerising on the ball. We all knew the Argentinians had defensive frailties, but with that attacking line, you always felt they would strike back and score on the break. And then came Germany. Before the tournament, with the exception of Klose, I had struggled with any big names in the squad. Even Jurgen Klinsman in his pre-tournament talks and doubts over their progression given their youth and not so convincing qualifying stages. But wow, have they got better and better or what? I thought their demolition job of Australia was perhaps a one-off against one of the lesser teams in the World Cup. And then they went on to stick four past England and made them look pretty dreadful in the process. If there were any doubts about Germany, they were dispelled last night when they swept aside the glorious Argentina making them look like an ordinary second division team. Their precision, work rate, and finishing is extraordinary. They provide a benchmark for all teams to aspire to in their preparation and all-round excellence. They may not have the flair and swagger of the South American teams but they know how to win and that's what makes them so.... erm.... German!  So, here's my summary on the Germany team's performance at the WC...

Good things:
1. Klose - brilliant goalscorer, 100 caps and going for the overall golden boot
2. Schweinsteiger - instrumental in midfield 
3. Muller - another Muller to scare the life out of defences. Great player
4. Lahm - inspirational young captain.
5. Ozil - probably the find of the tournament. Premier League next season?  
5. Team work - jaw-dropping masterclass in incisive counterattacking football. The total package with a youthful zest combined with a purring ability and tactical discipline. Why oh why can't we play like them? 

Bad things: 
1. Joachim Löw - great manager but very dodgy dress sense and a porn star 1970's haircut
2. Neuer - a dodgy German goalie? I think so. Oliver Kahn will be crying in his gloves. 
3. Why, oh why, oh why are they so GOOD? 

Saturday, 3 July 2010


Forget Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches, Brooklyn and Romeo, a new book 'Frou Frou Frisby & Brick' by Russell Ash lists the worst baby names ever. The book was compiled whilst he was trawling through official records across the world for the most unfortunate, embarrassing and downright comical names. When you read through some of the names, you have to wonder whether the parents have a mental illness or just a perverse sense of humour.  
Some of the more bizarre names include Placenta Hightshoe, Plegm Click, Hysteria Johnson, Wanton Coward and Smallpox Tommy. 
Then there's the names which are simply priceless in that sniggering, lavatorial humour sort of way .... Pedor File, Ophelia Balls, Fanny E C Lay, Ima Gay, Nancy Boy, Juan King, Dick Bellend, Eric Schon and my personal spoonerism favourite - Pat Fenis (didn't she once play Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street?). 
Then there's Rusty Pipes, Seymour Butt, Joy Rider, Justin Case, John Thomas Willy, and Fizzy Allgood. Eva Faithful is included as is Booby Ogle, Wiggy Piggy, Drew Peacock, Chris P Bacon and Lettice Pray. 
Then there's the people with questionable taste who change their names by deed poll to something altogether different... 

George Garratt decided he would rather be known as Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine The Hulk And The Flash Combined. Gary Brett changed his to Hong Kong Phooey and Steven Lane is now Jellyfish McSavaloy. And why be Martin Smith when you can change it to Martin Felix Oddsocks McWeirdo El-Tooty Fruity Farto Hello Hippopotamus Bum?  
Growing up, there was a lovely lad in my class called Martin Balmer (pronounced Barmer) - no great shakes there until it's shortened to M.Balmer. And a bloke I used to work with whose dad was called Tom Bowler. And the perennial favourite work colleague with the unfortunate moniker - Nobby Jelley. 

So with some creative influence and maybe because of the hot weather which has turned my mind a bit, my new name as of Monday will be Fishfingerbutty Rawsie Webster Knickerbocker Glory Spagbol Nurse Ratchett Converse Allstars Jockstrap Blackpool Rock Lipschitz. That's Fishyfingers for short...


Still smarting over England's awful performance at the World Cup, my mood got considerably worse when Fabio Capello claimed that the reason England were unceremoniously dumped out of the WC was that the players were tired. 
It's always been the complaint of many an England manager that our footballers play too many games in the domestic English Premier League season which includes two domestic cups. 
However, looking at the stats of the actual games played between the 22 players of the Germany and England sides playing at Bloemfontein found,  shock of horrors, the German starting XI had played more matches. 
Some would argue that the Germans have a mid-winter break in the Bundesliga and arguably, the English Premier League is faster and more intense. 

But here's my theory:- 

a) If the England players spent a bit less time womanising or endorsing products, the pampered princes might have a better chance of not being too tired over 90 minutes 'work' a week. 
b) Note to Fabio; please don't use tiredness as an excuse when people from the Armed Services or nurses and doctors are present, because they will probably be able to tell you a little more on what real tiredness feels like. They might also tell you a good tale about living on £20,000 a year. 
c) There are no excuses... England are just crap. 

Friday, 2 July 2010


Oh happy day... Two weeks off work yippeeeee. No foreign holiday booked this year but plenty of relaxing, day trips and a hopefully a few days away will do just the job to recharge the batteries. I can honestly say, I have never been so brain-tired in all my working life. I've been irritable and a right bloody nightmare at work so a big cheer went up tonight as I left the office. Of course I will do my best to enjoy every single moment of...
- staying up after 10pm
- not having to be up at 7am
- wearing shorts and t shirts almost constantly
- not having to have a cheese sandwich every day
- not having to answer a phone or emails
- not having to do hours and hours of care plans and risk assessments 
- catching up with old friends and go out for a really long pub lunch or shopping
- being off before the school holidays 

So here's for hot sunny weather. Two weeks of peace and quiet when I want it, and rip-roaring socialising when I want that too. Plenty of blogs to follow....