Monday, 30 August 2010


The Peter Pan of pop, Cliff Richard reaches the ripe old age of 70 this year. To commenarate he has just released his calendar showing that despite reaching his eighth decade, he still has a body that retains his youthful image. 
Sir Cliff says that the secret of his eternal youth and owning a great body is playing tennis 3 times a week, having 2 glasses of red wine a day and a daily dose of lecithin - that's a supplement derived from soya beans, meat and eggs which apparently prevents the body from forming fat. 

Now I'm no great Cliff fan. His music and performances leave me colder than an Eskimo's testicles during a skinny dip, but even I have to salute Cliff on his longevity and for keeping himself so fit and healthy Ok, I daresay he adds a little L'Oreal to his roots every few weeks. Probably because he thinks he's worth it. I daresay he also has a little nip and tuck he and there and the odd botox has been tried along the way.  

But I think I have the real secret to his great body, good looks and youthful image... Stacks of money and no children. 

Sunday, 29 August 2010


Phew.. just got back from a weekend of museums,  history and shopping in York. It's a few years since I last went to York and it never fails to live up to expectations. The B&B was a last minute booking and although oxygen was needed to climb the stairs to the bedroom, it was lovely. First stop was hitting one of York's sightseeing buses. I love the city open top sightseeing buses, not for the fact that you get your blown about and your face sticks in that Amanda Holden botox look, but because they give you a whistle stop tour of the city's prime locations and historical nuances. I also love being able to jump off and on and leisure. Not literally of course.. more's the pity. First stop was the Castle Museum. I remembered the Victorian Street from a school trip about 140 years ago and it's still there in all its glory. Fab-u-lous. Also great was the old York gaol and the cell holding highwayman Dick Turpin before he was executed. Then it was a quick look round York Dungeon which was very macabre but perversely very interesting. After an hour or two of looking at exhibits of torture and maiming, it was time to grab something to eat in a small eatery which supplied great food and a very cool live jazz band. Nighttime activities were finished off by going on the very wonderful Ghost tour. You are taken on a twilight tour round York's streets by an actor luvvie who tells very creepy stories whilst other actors jump out on you at opportune moments. Cue screaming and much laughing, it's really great fun. 
Today the Railway Museum was given the once over simply because it was free which made a pleasant change as you get used to dipping your hand in your pocket on numerous occasions in York. The railway museum was good, but made even better by people watching. Sit back and watch old men, young men and young boys mesmerized by steam trains. Occasionally, an older man would wax lyrically to his eyes-glazed-over wife about 'big ends' or the 'Scotsman V1-453 engine shaft'. And you watch in wonder at how a man lovingly caresses a steam engine's axle and then imagine when he last did that to his wife's thigh. 1974 probably. The same date British Rail first started selling shite sandwiches. After seeing many, many steam engines and after sitting in the carriage of a Japanese Bullet train, it was back to the all together more pleasurable and girlie pursuit of shopping in the Shambles. York has some great shops and many are independent, classy outlets which tempt you inside at alarming regularity. After a few miles walking on York's castle walls and taking photos of the Minster from every angle, it was regrettably time to leave York as a month's salary had already gone on one of York's car parks. 
Heading home and a quick stop at Saltaire in Bradford. It's a place I'd read about and always fancied a look at. Salt's Mill dates back 150 years or so, back to the days when Titus Salt owned a woollens mill employing over 4000 of Bradford's weavers and spinners. Old Titus was a bit of a philanthropist and rather like the Cadbury's dynasty in Birmingham, he built Saltaire around his factory containing decent housing, school, infirmaries and playing fields for his staff. Being part of the 'do as I say, and not as I do' school of philanthropy, old Titus feels the need to own his employees completely by ensuring total abstinence from alcohol for all his staff. Of course, old Titus had a few drams of whisky on the side, but heaven forbid his employees should have a glass or two of beer after working a 60 hour week in the mill... 
Anyway, interesting place all the same. It now contains a David Hockney art exhibition and many floors of art, books and a very good restaurant to boot. There was also a contemporary home section with funky furniture and funky prices to match. You could seriously spend some dosh in here, the goods are THAT good. It was with much regret that I left Saltaire. I like the place very much. And I suppose despite his stance of alcohol, old Titus Salt did improve his workers lives considerably. It was also with a heavy heart as you drive away that you remember despite all the social problems of our Northern industrial heritage, there still remains these reminders (albeit these days in different forms) of how great we once were as nation. The railway museum at York containing supreme examples of our engineering prowess, and Salt's Mill which employed 4000 and made Worsted wool which was exported across the world. Legacies indeed of a once great manufacturing nation. Sadly, as you drive through Bradford, there are constant reminders of past greatness replaced by call centres and boarded up and tatty buildings. Still, that's history folks, as sad as it is. Back to the present and back to remembering how great it is to escape for a weekend away. Can't wait 'til next month...


Tuesday, 24 August 2010


GMTV and BBC Breakfast are covering the GCSE results this morning. As with the coverage they give A level results, it's painful viewing. Painful in that like death and taxes, it's so predictable. Remember the days they were called 'O' Levels and CSE's? Remember the days you walked or cycled down to school for your results and were underwhelmed by their crapness? Straight down to the local cafe with 28 of your mates and 3 cups of coffee to chat about Top of Pops, boys and what we were doing that weekend. Not very high of the agenda was exam results, university or career choices. And where were our parents? At home shrugging their shoulders saying 'oh well'. How different it is today. 
Here's what happens today when our little prince and princesses go for their results (NB. GMTV and BBC will also report the same scene next year, and the year after...)

1. Reporter sets the scene from 7am at the school. Only the caretaker grumbling in the background is present. 

2. 07:20. After 14 separate items about GCSE results, the reporter is now joined by lots of spotty teenagers holding their envelopes without actually opening them. Reporter asks a few of them usual questions on the lines of 'are you excited?' 'are you nervous?'

3. 07.30. Reporter gives permission for envelopes to be opened by selected few and cameraman hones in on one of the group. The anticipation is high whilst Chloe or Jack scans their results then screams out 'I got 17 A's, 3 A stars and a B in woodwork'. 

4. 07.32. Reporter congratulates Chloe or Jack and says 'well done' a few times. Meanwhile in the background, other 16 years olds are opening their envelopes. 

5. 07.33. Cue screams, jumping up and down, hugging, crying, texting on mobiles, more crying. And that's just the boys. This lasts for approximately 20 mins. 'Oh my God, I can now do media studies at 6th form...wicked'.

6. 07.35 - 09.15. Reports of the GCSE results continue every 10 minutes with the same repetition of screams, hugging, crying. 

7. Crying and excitable teenagers get collected from school by stretch limo.  

Monday, 23 August 2010


It's that time of year again which heralds the staging of the Edinburgh fringe festival. Comic Tim Vine has just been crowned as king of the one liners after one of his gags was named the best joke at the fringe. Tim, pleased with his award said 'I'm going to celebrate by going to Sooty's barbeque and having a sweepsteak'. Corny, but great. I like Tim Vine very much. He's a clever comic who delivers one-liners quickly and with much humour. His jokes are never smutty or crude but are just really funny. His jokes are similar to those written for Tommy Cooper, Eric Morecambe or Les Dawson, but he has no gimmicks or 'image'. He looks like any bloke you might see in the pub and he's just very likeable. He's also the brother of Radio 2 and Panorama presenter Jeremy Vine, so he'll do ok in my book. If you ever get chance to see him live, go and you'll have a great night and laugh a lot. 

Anyway, here's what the critics deemed the best lines from the fringe, and the worst. Enjoy...

The best...

Tim Vine: I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I'll tell you what, never again.
David Gibson (as Ray Green): I'm currently dating a couple of anorexics. Two birds, one stone.
Emo Philips: I picked up a hitchhiker. You gotta when you hit them.
Jack Whitehall: I bought one of those anti-bullying wristbands when they first came out. I say 'bought' - I actually stole it off a short, fat ginger kid.
Gary Delaney: As a kid I was made to walk the plank. We couldn't afford a dog.
John Bishop: Being an England supporter is like being the over-optimistic parents of the fat kid on sports day.
Bo Burnham: What do you call a kid with no arms and an eyepatch? Names.
Gary Delaney: Dave drowned. So at the funeral we got him a wreath in the shape of a lifebelt. Well, it's what he would have wanted.
Robert White: For Vanessa Feltz, life is like a box of chocolates - empty.
Gareth Richards: Wooden spoons are great. You can either use them to prepare food, or if you can't be bothered with that, just write a number on one and walk into a pub.

....and the worst 

Sara Pascoe: Why did the chicken commit suicide? To get to the other side.
Sean Hughes: You know city-centre beat officers... Well are they police who rap?
Gyles Brandreth: I've got nothing against lesbians. I mean, that's the point isn't it?
Doc Brown: I was born into the music industry. My dad worked in Our Price.
John Luke Roberts: I made a Battenberg where the two colours ran alongside each other. I called it apartheid sponge.
Sarah Millican: I bought a cross-trainer to keep fit. I suppose that it's not enough to just buy it.
Bec Hill: Some of my best friends are vegan. They were going to come today but they didn't have the energy to climb up the stairs.
Dan Antopolski: How many Spaniards does it take to change a lightbulb? Juan.
Andi Osho: Floella Benjamin is in the House of Lords. How did she get in, through the round window?
Gareth Richards: My mother is always taking photographs of me - she said if you disappear tomorrow I want you to look good on the news.
Emo Phillips: I like to play chess with bald men in the park although it's hard to find 32 of them.

Thursday, 19 August 2010


Peter Andre was in Blackpool today unveiling his new waxwork at Louis Tussaud's museum. Rumour has it that Katie Price is considering marriage to the waxwork effigy as it scored 14 points higher on the MENSA IQ test than her current squeeze Alex Reid. 
I can't put my finger on it, but there's something very endearing about Peter Andre. He has not a great deal of discernible talent and was all but forgotten after his dreary one hit wonder 'Mysterious Girl'. And then how fickle fame and celebrity is in this country when he goes in the jungle, hooks up with the lascivious Jordan, and the rest they say, is history. I think his endearing qualities lie in his humbleness and amazement that he is one lucky bastard to lead an incredible lifestyle from doing nothing more than looking longingly into Katie's eyes and producing two children under the relentless coverage of ITV2. Anyway, he seems a nice enough bloke and good luck to him for making a few bob and having a nice life. I'd rather he had it than some of our illustrious premier league loutish footballers. 

Which brings me on nicely to Louis Tussaud's in Blackpool. As a kid, visiting the Tussaud's used to thrill me and scare the beejeepers out of me in equal measures. The Royal Family waxwork section didn't seem to change in years. They all gazed out with their dead eyes and resplendent in their British Home Stores clothing and Claires Accessories tiaras. Plenty of waxworks were also on display from the worlds of showbiz and sport. But the best sections and the ones causing the most anticipation were the Chamber of Horrors in the basement and the Medical / Disease Section on the top floor. Both had massive warnings about the the awfulness of the displays and how they may affect people of a sensitive nature. You had to be accompanied by an adult in both sections, but to be honest, we just used to sneak through and whoever worked there turned a blind eye anyway. The medical section contained exhibits of diseased bodies, Siamese twins and one memorable waxwork of a foetus that was found to be growing in a man's body. Typical me with my nose up to the glass ooohing and aaaghing at the sight of the effects of syphilis on the face of an adult. Blimey, I was so macabre.. it's no wonder I became a nurse! 
And then came the Chamber of Horrors. I remember it starting off with the usual suspects.. Frankensteins monster, Boris Karloff's vampire. And then it got worse. You were taken through a dark corridor containing famous murderers  from the past and scenes from cutting up bodies in the bath. The one scene that gave me absolute nightmares was the motorway car crash. It was an old scrapped mini with the windscreen smashed through and the driver and occupants sprawled out over the bonnet. I also remember lots of fake blood and sirens playing loudly on loudspeakers. It was utterly gruesome and it must have made a big impression on me because I can still vividly recall it many years later. I'll probably return to Louis Tussaud's this summer and see it evokes the same memories from my childhood. I'll probably not sleep for weeks....

Monday, 16 August 2010


Ok, I've written plenty of blogs about my take on good music and gone all dewy eyed with nostalgia over the greatest albums in my collection. How do you fancy seeing some truly awful album covers? You do? Oh good. Feast your eyes on these little beauties and if you have any of them in your collection, I'd be surprised if you owned up to it....

Great title for an album I think you would agree. Call it a hunch, but I wouldn't trust this quartet with a bunch of choirboys.  

Yeah, baby! I think Gary perhaps needs a little more self-confidence and maybe some help with his body language in order to appeal to the pretty laaadies.  

I'm sure the Castle Family were appearing live on Fleetwood Pier the night it got burned down. Unfortunately, all survived but sustained 1st degree burns to the legs when their lycra trousers caught alight. The arsonist was caught later and was heard to say 'I don't regret a thing, that bunch of permed hair, trombone-playing bastards had it coming'. 

Dave Boyer's music wasn't so bad, but as a bloke... my God, he was two-faced. 

It's just wrong on every level isn't it? Amen

Do gay dogs exist? If they do, Paddy Roberts has obviously spotted a niche market for the type of music they might like. I'm guessing there's some George Michael and Pet Shop Boys tracks on there. 

I don't know about Jesus using you..Released prisoners on parole having been locked up for years and with 15 pints of Stella inside them would wince at the prospect... And forget hairdressers... car sprayers have set those barnets. 

You have to wonder how many requests the red-headed, ginger eyelashed, handlebar-moustached, safari suit wearing Ken actually got? 

More like Priscilla Presley and a shrink-wrapped Elvis. Or maybe it was Tattoo before starring in Fantasy Island. I always thought his acting was a bit wooden...

I've Got Confidence? Somehow I doubt it. What you do have is greasy hair pinned back with horrendous hair slides and no tits to speak of. I call that bad judgement and bad genes. 

Sunday, 15 August 2010


If Blackpool FC had taken notice of any of the pre-match talk and media speculation, they wouldn't have bothered to get on the coach bound for Wigan. Instead, they turned up, kicked the arses of Wigan and in true smash and grab daylight robbery tradition, walked away wit ha 4-0 win. Sensational start by Ollie's lads and a big warning goes out not to underestimate the mighty 'Pool. Of course, it's a long season and it's a uphill battle to keep up with the big hitters of the Prem, but who knows? A couple of certainties are that Blackpool have a fighting spirit matching with some of the best and most vocal fans in the Prem. And secondly, Ollie is always good value for money in the post-match interview. He was unusually subdued on MoTD yesterday, but expect more from him as the season progresses.  
As for Wigan. It doesn't bode well for their season or for the manager Roberto Martinez. As good as Blackpool were yesterday, Wigan were woeful. But for now... The future's bright....the future's tangerine.


Nostalgia time again. Being a Blackpool girl, as a teenage kid this time of year was a time of great excitement because it meant school holidays and earning a bit of money and the big one... the highly anticipated arrival of the Radio 1 Roadshow. Forget T4 on the Beach and the Radio 1 Big Weekend (yawnsville), the Radio 1 Roadshow was THE big one. Radio 1's DJ's back in the day were huge personalities in their own right. Each summer, Radio 1 hit the UK's holiday resorts to broadcast live and to treat the screaming fans to some music and fun. And talking of fans, at Blackpool there literally thousands and thousands of them. The actual roadshow itself seemed to be a big trailer festooned with the Radio 1 logo, parked somewhere on Blackpool's prom. If we were really lucky, Blackpool would get one of the 'big' DJ's ie. the Breakfast Show host. In those days, the most famous DJ's and therefore the most wished for in their Roadshow role were Noel Edmonds, Peter Powell, Dave Lee Travis and at a push, Mike Read. The crowds were warmed up at 10am ready for broadcasting live at 11am. The two things I remember from the roadshow are Smiley Miley and Bits and Pieces. Smiley Miley was this permanent fixture at the roadshows (I think he was a Radio 1 producer) who looked a little like Justin Lee Collins. Am I right in saying he also had a stong Bristolian accent? Anyway, Smiley Miley would select someone from the audience to guess the miles from the previous day's roadshow (in Blackpool's case, from Southport) to the current site. The winner was given a Radio 1 'goody bag'. That's a Radio 1 mug and a car sticker then. The arrival of the Bits and Pieces quiz was heralded by a jingle of the Dave Clark Five hit with the lines 'One more record to Bits and Pieces'. The quiz was nothing more than about ten snatches of chart music edited together where a couple of lucky selected members of the audience had to identify. The booty for the winner? A Radio 1 goody bag of course. 
The old Radio 1 Roadshow stirs up some good memories of seemingly more innocent and fun times in listening to music. Today's Big Weekend trips to Ibiza seems to place the emphasis more on image and being 'cool' rather than having fun and connecting with an audience.     

Monday, 9 August 2010


I make no bones about it, I'm a big chocolate fan. The second day of the weekend jaunt to Birmingham saw the Sat Nav pointing our car to my spiritual home - Cadbury World at Bournville. It's a wacky place. Only in England can you tour a fully-operational manufacturing conglomerate factory complex and pay for the privilege. The welcome is American and Disney-esque in application with cordoned and barricaded queuing areas with happy, smiling greeters. Best of all, the greeters give out free samples of chocolate. The tour starts with a history of Mr Cadbury opening his chocolate shop in Birmingham and moves on to the choccy making process, production and packaging processes. And then horror of horrors, we found ourselves in the cadabra area where we had to sit in a toy car and pootle along a track to be entertained by singing, animatronic cocoa beans. When you're from Blackpool and cut your teeth on the rides at the Pleasure Beach, you tend to get used to more hard core rides so sitting in a kids car and listening to day-glo cocoa beans singing in helium-pitched madness is a little vexing to one's street cred. 
And so we continued in our journey through the factory where we were given 3-D shows telling us how the fab philanthropic Cadburys were to their workforce and just how marvellous the Cadburys brand is. Pity then, those damn Yanks did a Glazer takeover earlier this year and Cadburys is now part of the Kraft food group. Seriously though, the tour was really rather good. The tour guides were genuinely pleased to help and very friendly. For the ultimate chocoholic experience, visit 'The Essence' area where you receive a cup of melted milk chocolate poured over a filling of your choice - in my case marshmallows. It's just sheer hedonism and I was genuinely upset when my cup was licked dry and there was no more left. Ah well, there's always the Cadburys gift shop which is chocolate heaven and saw my bending my plastic just a little. 
Just to complete the tour, take a small diversion to the little town of Bournville for a glimpse on the Cadbury workers homes, churches, school and hospital. It is truly glorious and it gladdens the heart to see it. Well down Mr Cadbury, you did a good job with your chocolate. You made the lives of your workers a little better. You also gave women a mighty damn fine alternative to sex and dentists the opportunity to buy top of the range Porsche Boxsters. I salute you sir! 

Sunday, 8 August 2010


Weekend away in Birmingham? No, not my first choice for a destination for a getaway either.. However, I'm just back from 2 days in England's second capital and was mightily impressed with Birmingham. On a whim, my mate and I had booked England v Pakistan Test Match tickets for Edgbaston. Tickets booked, we then sorted out a last minute internet hotel booking and off we went. Edgbaston was my first surprise. Although it's the home of Warwickshire CC, it's actually located in quite a swanky borough of Birmingham - always handy to get to and park. Talking of parking, we weren't too impressed with £15 parking and a mile's walk to boot. The cricket was great for a couple of reasons:- 
1. England were the far more superior side
2. England have some world class totty - check out Pietersen, Trott, Anderson, Broad and Strauss. 
3. The Barmy Army. 

Let me tell you about the Barmy Army. Football fans are sometimes amusing, mostly they are a drunken bunch who wear their polyester shirts and shout abuse. The Barmy Army support England with passion and humour. They bring trumpet players who serenade the many fancy dress supporters who cheer on England relentlessly. Yesterday's Barmy Army devotees consisted of men dressed as Elvis, as Marilyn Monroe's, as sailors, as Arab sheiks, and my personal favourites... The BA Barracus's from the A Team and old ladies in nighties, dressing gowns and slippers. As the play trundled on, and more and more alcohol is consumed, the Barmy Army start their naughty pursuits much to the delight of the 21,000 other spectators. The BA Barracus's stacked about 100 plastic beer 'glasses' and run through the stands being pursued by angry stewards. It's childish but incredibly funny and it's done with such humour whereby everyone joins in. 

After the cricket, we showered and got a taxi to the Brindleyplace area of the city centre. My goodness, what an amazing transformation of a run down area to an area of restaurants, bars, coffee houses and the new Sea Life Centre all located around Birmingham's canals. We walked on cobbled pathways by the canal side and stopped in busy bars and ate in a lovely little bistro. It was vibrant and classy and we were very impressed. Bravo to the architects who have captured the Victorian canals and retained the towpaths and nooks and crannys and complimented this with contemporary bars and restaurants all accessible by bridges adorned with fresh flowers. Oh, and get this.. it's spotlessly clean and no smoking is allowed except in few designated areas. We strolled down the canal system and came across The Mailbox area which again has more bistros and upmarket bars with a backdrop of a pretty damn fine shopping area. We sat outside in a bar area and took in our roles as people watchers extraordinaire and were pleasantly surprised to see what appeared to be a prostitute plying her enticement skills rather provocatively and with much subtlety at the single men taking in the view. Her strategies looked well-honed.. talk to an imaginary friend on her mobile whilst her sly as a fox eyes scanned for eligible men and security who may alert the police. Great to watch and passed the time most pleasantly whilst vodka and beer were consumed. We then staggered through the streets and found a taxi whose driver tried to understand our accents and our wish to return to our hotel. After about 5 minutes and tear-arsing through Birmingham's streets at 80mph, he starting to give signals that he was slightly in the psychopathic personality disorder department. After 15 minutes of being on the receiving end of a worrying set of questions and taking corners at 70mph and on two wheels, we did a handbrake turn into our hotel car park before bidding a fond cheerio and legging it through reception and towards our rooms at breakneck speed. After pushing a wardrobe across my door, my head hit the pillow and after ignoring the room spinning, I drifted off to a well-needed sleep.... 

Friday, 6 August 2010


Sorry folks, but here comes another nostalgic blog about a song track. I blame Magic FM for playing music from my youth and the fact that certain tracks evoke such good memories. The first time I heard Womack and Womack's 'Teardrops' was when I was pootling along the East Coast of America in 1988. A mate and I had booked a flight to New York and we spent a few weeks jet setting around Washington DC, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. I love cities and they don't come much better than NY, Washington and Phillie. Pre 9/11, you could actually take helicopter trips around NY and hover around the Twin Towers with a birds eye view of Manhattan from the air. Washington had some of the best museums I've ever been to - the Smithsonian was unforgettable. And Philadelphia was memorable for the Liberty Bell and the most amazing phillie steak sandwiches. And then we pootled around the New England states and managed to come across the town of 'Intercourse'. Memorable name and memorable for the Amish community living there which I found fascinating (if not a little weird). We then headed up to Niagara Falls and took a death defying helicopter ride over the falls which I honestly thought I would never live long enough to see us land safely again. 
Anyway, whilst travelling through the numerous counties and states of our American trip, we listened a lot to the American radio stations, which back then were a little on the junk side (a bit like American tv at the time). The track which seemed to be getting lots of airplay was Teardrops by Womack and Womack. So in Washington DC, a record shop was located and I bought a picture CD copy and still have it as a treasured CD reminder of a great holiday and a classic track. Question is, the blonde backing singer in the video... is it a very young Ellen Degeneres? 

Thursday, 5 August 2010


During my weekly shop at Morrisons the other night, I stopped by at the toilet tissue section. Why is it I can't just pick the nearest 4 pack and be off to more interesting parts of Morrisons? The chocolate section for example...
Trust me, I don't find toilet paper that interesting a subject - something that wipes your front or back bottom is not the most riveting subject at a cocktail party, let's be honest. It's just a strange phenomenon that draws me to loiter around the aisle, picking up toilet roll packs and reading the packaging. It's a compulsion that I can't shake off. Maybe it's because there's just so much choice. Since when did toilet rolls take up an entire aisle?  Am I right in thinking that years ago you were given two choices? Izal medicated hard toilet paper which repelled everything smeared across it and transferred the contents onto your sleeve or Timex watch. Izal was consigned to public lavatories or the houses of cheapskates. It was to be avoided at all costs. Choice two was white and soft... well, it wasn't that soft.  It chaffed like buggery but at least it wasn't Izal medicated. 
Nowadays we have roughly 73 colour choices. There's floral prints, animal prints, designer prints. Then there's the additives.. toilet roll containing aloe vera, cocoa butter, shea butter, lurpack butter. There's quilted toilet rolls, paper containing air pockets, recycled toilet rolls, environmentally friendly eco-rolls, ultra absorbent toilet paper and labrador puppy and kitten endorsed loo paper. There's moist, wet wipe paper and 99.9% antibacterial paper. There's child-friendly loo rolls and toilet rolls for those with a sense of humour containing a photo of either Bruce Forsyth or Katie Price (ok, that's a joke but you get my point?). See what I mean?.... TOO MUCH CHOICE. And rather than accept it and move on quickly, I get annoyed with myself for staying in this aisle for far too long contemplating this or that. And then after weighing up cost v style for a staggering amount of time, I go and choose a 4 pack of white loo rolls which incidentally is the same frigging choice made for the past 25 years. 

Monday, 2 August 2010


Feeling in a nostalgic mood today after blogging about my first ever record and vinyl LPs, I've been sat having my evening meal whilst watching University Challenge. UC is one of those programmes which I tune in to occasionally and marvel at the students knowledge base which can answer questions like What precise type of quadrilateral is formed by lines drawn in order from the centre of the squares occupied by antimone polonium radon iodine and back to antipony? That was an actual question folks. The answer was of course... Rombus. EVERYONE knows that. Not only are the students very clever, they are generally also very nerdy, very twatty and very much short in the sexual experimentation department. You get the impression that they are destined for lives of scholarly research into 13th century Patagonian Hymns of the Upper Mongolian Virgin panpipers rather than media executives or investment bankers. 
And then I began racking my brains trying to remember the name of the predecessor to UC and it came to me in a moment of inspiration.... Ask The Family. Anyone of my generation will remember this quaint little quiz show running from the late 60's to the early 80's. As a kid growing up with Starsky and Hutch and programmes of equal excitement, even back then I thought Ask The Family was exceptionally dull. But dullness aside, I remember watching it for the same reason I watch UC... the twatty contestants. Here's the format to ATF... 

1. Robert Robertson - the quizmaster. Bespectacled. Rug-tastic comb over. 
2. Mum and dad - usually teachers. Mum - crap pageboy hairdo, tends to be called Janet, crooked teeth. Dad - wearing glasses, smoking pipe and last had  sexual relations with mum when they accidentally rubbed together whilst crossing on the landing. Fits the bill to the question 'how would you describe the looks of a paedophile?' Usually called Brian.  
3. Teenage children - Oh My God, where do I start? Spotty, nerdy, bespectacled, naff clothes and the type of kids who were either bullied at school or had their heads flushed down the toilets for no other reason than being called Nigel. Usually had red hair, brushed forward and cut by mum. Ambitions include working for the council, having a pension and owning a shed. 

Make your own mind up with the clip from You Tube....


I work in a small office with all-female health professionals who get by in their day (when not out visiting in the community) by listening to the radio in the background. We listen to Radio 2 and love Chris Evans and the Ken Bruce show. Just lately we've been listening to Magic radio which predominantly plays music from the 70's, 80's and 90's. It plays some great stuff and it's funny to stop to listen to nurses, OT's and support workers singing away (badly) through a variety of tracks mainly from the Motown era. This afternoon, for the first time in yonks, I heard the first record I ever bought. Well actually I bought two records that day. Picture the scene... it's 1974. I'm in Woolworth's on Bond Street Blackpool with my dad and I hear playing in the record department... You Little Trustmaker and Ms Grace by The Tymes. Each 45 vinyl single was 35p I think. It took all my pocket money and as a 9 year old I realised that despite taking vast amounts of my money even into my 40's, I would be forever hooked to music and the pursuit of owning numerous tracks. Initially, my obsession began with vinyl singles and bought one of those lockable bendy plastic storage carrier boxes for them. And years later when I began working in a Saturday job, I would begin my love affair with vinyl LP's starting off my collection with Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. I would literally nearly cack myself with excitement at buying an LP during my lunch hour from work then poring over the album sleeves on the bus journey home. Most of my musical influence came from my older brothers or from from listening to Radio 1 or Radio Luxembourg and setting my tape cassette to record the top 20 on a Sunday night. My LP's were often played to death and I remember being on a one-woman mission to learn all the lyrics so that I could show off my repertoire of skills to my schoolmates on Monday morning. Of course learning the song lyrics was supplemented and helped by purchasing the 'Disco 45' magazine and if I was really flush, I might stretch to an NME and a Jackie. Do young people today get the same thrill from downloading from iTunes? Perhaps they do. But I doubt they will feel the hairs stand up on the back of their necks in 30 years time when they hear N-Dubz or Ne-Yo. And I doubt they get that same rush of excitement going through racks and racks of albums in a record shop whilst some geeky shop assistant plays jazz one minute or soul music the next on a top of the range Denon sound system - with turntable! 

So, here's for another hair-standing-up-on-neck-when-I-hear-the-rather-fabulous-but-sadly-forgotten.... The Tymes singing You Little Trustmaker. 
Ahhh.. pure nostalgia. Feel free to share your first ever record (the more embarrassing the better).. I'm thinking my colleague Ms Smith and her rather daring first record 'Like a Virgin' by Madonna. Wanton hussy...


What can I say about George Lamb the former controversial BBC 6music DJ, son of actor Larry Lamb, presenter of Big Brother's Little Brother... erm... how's wankwipe for starters? 
I had the unfortunate experience of switching on to Channel 4's BBLB and my flabber was gasted at the presenter George Lamb's total crapness. His image is as contrived as his presenting style. His clothes style must be London chic - suit jacket and waistcoat mixed with bright purple rolled up trousers with hessian shoes with no socks. Think wanky Miami Vice in a studio car park in Hertfordshire. This is topped off by the ubiquitous greasy mop of wild hair and unshaven stubble. So that's George's 'style', and now to his presenting....he doesn't so much talk as sort of shout at the screen in a tone and pitch which makes dogs run around in circles before eventually needing to be shot. His voice is so monotone and so mockney schmockney it is a wonder he ever made it into the echelons of BBC radio. Channel Four seem adept at 'discovering' moronic presenters and showcasing their questionable talent on programmes generally in the T4 genre. Could it be that the C4 talent spotters / producers trawl the Home Counties sixth form media studies students with a questionnaire on the lines of...

1. Are you a pretty boy? 
2. Do you have no discernible talent? 
3. Do you have a funny accent and laugh at your own absurd wit? 
4. Can you ask guests stupid and puerile questions? 
5. Can you work with an equally dull and stupid female presenter? 
6. Is your dad famous?
7. You're in.... 

C4 must have a few bob on their protege because he continues to be rubber stamped for more and more exposure on tv (last time trekking through somewhere hot on a 'journey' with dad Larry Lamb). I have this aching realisation and grudging acceptance that the networks are promoting him for great things ahead on itv2. My goodness, it can only be a matter of time before the big one... the X Factor's little X Factor or whatever it's called. George will no doubt join the club of mediocre 'personalities' with a string of presenting jobs, a talkshow and a few million in the bank. 
Sorry George, yes you are very pretty and score quite highly in the eye candy stakes but I fear your presence on tv has me switching over rather than revelling in your skills and charisma as a tv host. Truly awful..

Sunday, 1 August 2010


Just when I thought TV couldn't reach any lower into the depths of seven shades of crapola, along comes Sherlock to gladden the heart. BBC1's latest series is a modern version of the Sherlock Holmes story brought alive in 21st century London. It stars the very watchable Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr Watson. It's fast-paced, contemporary and a bit macabre and it sort of works! The BBC just produce drama of this genre to the highest standard and they have a real gem with this three part series. It has that feel of Life on Mars or Ashes to Ashes once had in that you know you're watching great television. The acting and production is superb and I'm looking forward to more series. 

Another series I'm enjoying at the moment is The Hotel Inspector on Channel Five. The Hotel Inspector in question is Alex Polizzi who just happens to be the granddaughter of the chap who started the Forte hotel group, so she knows a thing or two about the hotel industry. I caught this week's episode where a 21 year old clueless spoilt brat called Justin was left to run a hotel in Brighton for his mother. Despite being an educated Business graduate (?), he'd turned the opulent abode into an 'art boutique hotel' which loosely translates to allowing sixth form art and design students to run amok painting crap in each of the rooms. It was the most hideous display of art I or indeed Alex had ever set eyes upon. Quite rightly she lambasted Justin and his ineptitude at running a successful business into the ground and told him in no uncertain terms to pull his socks up and indulged him in some home truths like 'clean the place up you idle little shit'. With a shedload of good advice and some expert help in the field of art curating, the penny finally dropped with little Justin and improvements were made. The reviews were good and paying guests passed through the doors in droves. The programme is great but even better is the arrogance of the hoteliers and the indignation of someone pointing out that the reason they are losing money hand over fist is because they provide such inadequate and frankly dreadful accommodation. It's common sense stuff, and Alex Polizzi doesn't hold back in her appraisal of the hotel. 

So it's a five star rating for both series from me....



Post pay day usually sees me in HMV casting an eye over CD's to add to my car listening collection. I still love record shops (are they still called that?) and checking out latest releases and looking nostalgically at the albums from my youth.  I'd seen the new Ministry of Sound 80's Groove (Old Skool Funk Soul Classics) advertised on tv, but reading the listing on the back of the CD, soon realised that I already had most of the tracks. I then saw that Earth Wind and Fire had brought out a CD of their greatest hits. When looking through their tracks, you sometimes forget what a superb, yet possibly under-rated band EWF actually were. Possibly with the exception of Ken Bruce on radio 2 who I think is a big fan, EWF tracks rarely get played on the radio. 
Considering EWF had about 56 band members, I can only ever remember the names of the lead singers Maurice White who had a massive forehead and the falsetto Philip Bailey (who sang with Phil Collins on 'Easy Lover'). Unlike today's hip hop's lyrics voicing rape, drug use and gangsta stabbings, EWF glorified the virtues of grooving, boogie on down, and lurrve. And they had some pretty nifty stage outfits too - gold lame and big shoulder pads I seem to remember. And ahh, the memories evoked from remembering the tracks After the Love Has Gone, Boogie Wonderland, September, Got to Get You Into My Life...  

Anyway, EWF and Plan B's The Defamation of Strickland Banks was added to my collection and made a debut on my car cd player at very loud volume. 

And for sheer Sunday morning indulgence, I give you EWF and Let's Groove... horrendous video but dig that groove thang mo-fo's.