Tuesday, 28 September 2010


It's back next week! Oh yes, the Apprentice is back on our screens next week and I for one, can't wait. The 16 candidates have just been unveiled and this year's line up include a Marine, a surgeon and the usual smattering of investment bankers and PR consultants. Each year, I lick my lips in anticipation that heralds the start of another great series of the Apprentice. Each series, it showcases a group of people, some of whom are simply beyond stupidity. Many start off with outlandish arrogance... 'I'm world-class in sales', 'I won't take any prisoners in my drive and ambition to win', 'I'm going for world domination' and before long they are exposed more suited for 'Do you fries with that?'.  Each year, they come swaggering in with their £3000 business suits, hand stitched Italian shoes for the boys, killer heels for the girls. And very evidently, and almost instantaneously, they get overwhelmed by their own testosterone or egotism and demand to become project leaders and lo and behold, they f*ck it up. And generally, it's not a little f*ck up but it is so spectacular in the extreme, you want to scream at their total and utter f*ckwittedness. And of course, there's Lord Alan Sugar who has been round the block a few times making squillions in the process, who is ready to pounce and go in for the kill in exposing these numbskulls. It's tense, it's voyeuristic and it's extreme, but boy it's great tv. This series sees the introduction of Karen Brady to replace Lord Alan's matronly, but very astute right-hand man, the silver fox Margaret. Dara O'Brian also takes over from Adrian Chiles on the Apprentice You're Fired. 
Casting an experienced and well-honed eye over the new contestants, I'm predicting these two will cause a few eyebrows to be raised...


No it's not Dennis Pennis or one of the tossers from Jedward, but 24 year old Melissa Cohen. An ex-hairdresser, she now works for Tesco and claims she has increased Tesco's share of the kosher market by 75%. Melissa claims 'I generally get people quite scared. I don't know why' I have my suspicions as to why people might think that Melissa, starting with the barnet and some roots that need some major touch up work...

Meet 22 year old Raleigh Addington. Yep, 'fraid so.. he's named after a bike. Time will tell whether he turns out to be a Raleigh Chopper. Raleigh is described as 'bumbling and posh, similar to London Mayor Boris Johnson'. Oh Christ.. he'll get mullered. 

Sunday, 26 September 2010


Check out this little 1970 beaut from Pickettywitch. Now, see if you agree that it's sort of wrong on most levels. The girl lead singer looks pretty, cool and timeless. The latest little pop star from last year's X Factor Diana Vickers, looks very similar - it's just a look that transcends the decades. But then move on to her band and that's where your face becomes numb with that mouth aghast 'is this for real?' moment. Watch her male effeminate co-singer who has obviously talked her into participating in a dance routine which is so awful it's laughable. As the song progresses, our man (who looks more suited to working in Greenwoods Gentleman Outfitters than on Top of the Pops) gets very campish and starts getting carried away with his moves. And then every now and again, he swishes his hair from side to side in the style of David Ginola in the L'Oreal hair adverts. The drummer looks like he's been sedated with a date rape drug. The boredom extends to the two guitarists - one looks like a reject from the band Sweet, the other looks embarrassed and no doubt desperately wishing he was playing with Hendrix or Cream rather than strumming away to this horseshit. And if you're really sharp-eyed, when the camera scans the go-go dancing audience, check out Mr Hipswinger with the beard and black top. He reminds me of a nerdy teacher at my high school who wore very tight pants at our school christmas disco and danced like a cross between a dad and a very-in-the-closet vicar. I think he was called Brian which of course he would be wouldn't he? And he had bad breath.

Anyway, I digress. Enjoy the clip. It's so bad, it may give you nightmares. You've been warned....


Last night I watched Simply Red - For The Last Time on ITV. The band are bowing out gracefully for a good old rest with this last tv appearance and an upcoming tour. The band, and in particular their lead singer Mick Hucknall, has a marmite reaction with most people. You either love him, or hate him. I am cemented, nailed down and never in a month of Sundays would I ever be shifted from the 'I love Mick Hucknall and Simply Red' camp. His music provided the backdrop to my late teens, early twenties and beyond. His songs evoke huge memories of those heady times of being in love and having your heart broken. Out of all their own songs, I included the cover version video clip which  brought back the 'heartbroken' period but it stands up as an important milestone in my life in the 80's and I think it showcases Mick Hucknall at his very best. Simply superb. 
I've seen him live on four occasions (yes, I am that big a fan). He is on the money each time, giving the audience a fantastic night. I defy anyone who stays in their seat during a Simply Red concert. And here's another couple of reasons why Mick Hucknall is my number one...
A few years back, I bought one of his CD albums when it first came out. I filled out the insert inside the CD cover with my details and gave a quick review of the album. Not long after, I received two free complimentary tickets to a Simply Red concert at the MEN arena in Manchester. And get this, the seats weren't up in the Gods and 3 miles away from the stage, but front seats and within touching distance of Mick gyrating on a stage built in the shape of a guitar which led out towards the audience. 
My second reason? Mick's a Manchester lad and a die hard Manchester United fan. He'll do for me. 
Last night's show on itv was great television and a fitting tribute to a talented and superb musician and performer. And of course, I shall now be booking tickets for the Simply Red concert in December, no doubt accompanied by the other three members of the Jolly Girls Outing Club from Lancaster. Swanky hotel booking and shopping the day after in Manchester? Simply compulsory. 

Saturday, 25 September 2010


I've been in a grump today. The day got off to a bad start when my mum suggested we go shopping to Cleveleys (God's waiting room). I've previously blogged about the vagaries of shopping in Cleveleys. It's a hell-hole of wolf-print fleece jackets and wall-to-wall crap. We had only just got out of the car and walking towards our first stop on the crap shop trail (New Look) when my day went downhill faster than Franz Klammer at the Winter Olympics. Allow me to fill you in on living all my life on the mighty fine Fylde coast. Living by the sea gives you plenty of fill-your-boots ozone-busting fresh air. It gives you some great views and some perfect walks along the beach. The downside is seagulls. They are total bastards when it comes to leisurely eating your chips on the prom. They don't take any prisoners in their greedy pursuit of any old food items - and they have rich pickings from the tonnage of discarded kebabs and KFC around Blackpool's prom after a Saturday night. In all my years of living here though, it has taken until today until one actually shitted on me. This particular bird must have stored up his junk food diet, had some All-Bran for breakfast, washed it down with syrup of figs and thought to itself 'here comes a right one.. face like a slapped arse... I think I'll do the biggest dump in living memory right on her head and new jacket mmmmwhhhhaaah'. And so, with great aplomb, this bloody seagull lets rip with a quantity of poo that a wildebeest would have been proud of. It landed in my Pantene Pro-V clean and shiny hair. It landed on my watch. It covered my right shoulder, right sleeve and half the collar of my new Berghaus jacket. It smelt of doner kebab with a haddock undertone of blueberries and lemon grass. It was a green slush of immense and utter hideousness. Only a recent goey dental impression has made me gag more. I stomped into the nearest cafe and in true stroppy hormone-induced and crying bratness, sponged off a huge amount of bird shit with a sloppy mess of the world's worst toilet paper (just behind Izal Medicated). 

I then removed the pump action shotgun from my very expensive handbag and returned to the crime scene in order to shoot the bastard as a warning to all other seagulls... Don't mess with a woman on a mission to buy a wolf-print fleece jacket...


I've often thought that doctors and dentists surgeries have some pretty dire selections of magazines. This week whilst sat trembling with anticipation at the prospect of a tooth extraction, I reluctantly gave the 'Trout and Carp Monthly' a bit of a body swerve. With a discerning taste in educational supplements and keen intellectual eye, I selected a girls teen magazine for plugging my gap in knowledge of hair straighteners and Justin Bieber. Can't remember the title, but it was on the lines of 'Whatever!', 'Oh My God!' or 'That's soooo random!'. Well, a few pages in and my eyebrows were raised to dizzy heights and I began to shuffle uncomfortably in my seat in that huffing and puffing early onset middle-aged sort of way. Amongst many, many riveting features, it depicted an article on 'sex position of the week' which in graphic detail showed a female being escorted round a bedroom in the style of a wheelbarrow. I will obviously be trying this new technique in my local B&Q this weekend although the 5 litre bag of compost I need to transport to the checkout might bugger up my lower lumbar region.  
Which brings me nicely to reminiscence corner (cue the Simon Bates 'Our Tune' music)... Those naive and innocent days of the late 70's and early 80's when teen girl magazines was led firstly by Jackie and latterly by the very glorious My Guy. The Guardian recently included a supplement of an anniversary special edition of a reprinted Jackie magazine from the 1970's. Reading it again brought back some lovely nostalgic memories and a sad reflection that it was so cack when imagining how it would stand up in today's culture from the perspective of a teenage girl. Of course the answer is it wouldn't stand a cat in hell's chance. Jackie contained features and pull out posters of pop stars of the day - generally the Bay City Rollers, Donny Osmond, David Cassidy, or David Essex. Jackie had a high emphasis on romance and how to get a boyfriend through the beguiling courtship rituals using the principles based on Mr D'Arcy and Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. It had the Cathy and Claire problem page where I'm still convinced the 'problems' were simply made up by the editorial staff. They featured seemingly angst-ridden teenage problems such as 'Colin, my boyfriend has long hair and won't go to the barbers. My dad says he looks like a big pansy and it really upsets me. I love my dad and I love Colin so much. I just want him to be accepted by my dad and get his hair cut. I can't sleep or eat for worrying so much. Please help me before I do something silly with a razor blade. Yours truly, Bernadette x'. And the reply from Cathy or Claire would be something on the lines of 'Bernadette - Colin obviously loves you but just wants to be an individual. Look love, your dad is just protecting you and wants the best for you. Carry on with your studies my darling, and show your dad you are responsible and you never know, you might get into secretarial college and a future job in the typing pool for £1200 a year. Just think of the wedding you and Colin can look forward to, and you never know, Colin might get his hair cut for the big day! Good luck love. Cathy x'. 

Anyway, can't stop I'm just off to B&Q. Must stop at Boots first for the morning after pill and some muscle rub in cream.......

Friday, 24 September 2010


I've already purchased my Friday's Euro Millions lottery ticket in the foolhardy expectation that on Saturday I'll be ordering this little beauty. The SA Aperta has just been unveiled to mark Ferrari Pininfarina's 80th anniversary. It boasts a 6.0 litre engine which will probably get you 15 feet per gallon. On first glance it looks a like it gives a nod in the direction of the designers over at Porsche, but blimey, it's lovely. 
And you don't get much change out of £340,000 so it's a bit a steal.  But in the meantime, I shall be content with driving my 8 year old car which is due a service and smells of wet dogs which is a bit odd as I don't even own a dog. 

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Fabio Capello gets bad press these days not only due to the FA paying him a £6m contract and for England getting ceremoniously dumped out of the World Cup, but also for the fact that Mr Potato Head can barely string together a sentence in English. Bit of a drawback that when you're living in England and trying to coach a side full of Englishmen. At least with Fabio, he doesn't try to talk with an English accent. He just speaks in befuddled tones with a high emphasis on the Italian drawl. 
It is with deep regret then I ask to cast your mind back to Steve McLaren. Remember him? ex England coach? Wally with the brolly? Dumped David Beckham and did for English football what Ann Widdecombe does for ballroom dancing. After his sacking from the job as England Manager, Yorkshireman McLaren found a new vacancy in the Dutch League at FC Twente. During this time, Eeee, by 'eck lad McLaren developed a strange Dutch accent when being interviewed. He has since moved into the Bundesliga in Germany, managing Wolfsburg and surprise surprise, he has been interviewed this week adopting a German accent reminiscent of a Colditz SS Stormtrooper. Oh yes, no more Yorkshire dialect for Herr McLaren, more Vorsprung durch Technik. 
The video clip sees Steve in his Dutch 'Van Der Valk' period.  You can't help thinking.. a) what a pillock b) imagine Steve managing a Japanese side?  

Monday, 20 September 2010


Eek, any credibility I've managed to accumulate up to now will now go spiralling down the pan when I mention that I absolutely love the re-run of Footballers Wives the CBS Drama channel on Sky. I watched it briefly the first time round when it started in 2002 before it finished a few years back. It always struck me as far fetched and a touch on the trashy side for my previous tastes in drama. Nowadays, stuff the intellectual programmes and give me the trashy Footballers Wives any day. A few years on and it's strange how life replicates art. There are obvious nods in the direction of the the Beckhams, but it's the stories of  footballers paying for hookers, having affairs with team-mates wives, and the shenanigans of agents hushing up tabloid stories that hooks you in. There's stories of footballers going to Spain for golfing 'relaxation' breaks and finding themselves embroiled in rape allegations with girls drafted in privately for the clubs own brand of relaxing entertainment. There's also a footballer who's a bully and control freak who's a bit handy with slapping his round a bit before he schmoozes the VIP clientele at his exclusive nightclub... ring any bells so far? 
I'm sure it's a huge exaggeration of the the lives and wives of footballers, but you tend to think that much of the content actually does goes on. It is true escapism tv and despite being slightly ashamed to admit it, I have enjoyed every minute of it. Zoe Lucker of course, is the star of the show playing an absolute monster as the bitch come nymphomaniac Tanya Turner. Her character gets her kit off at very opportunity and is totally ruthless in her pursuit of men and huge wealth. Ah yes, it's awful stuff but blimey it's fun to watch. 

Saturday, 18 September 2010


Autumn finally came today to Fishfingerbutty Towers. I quite like autumn as a season. The leaves change colour, there's still sun around, and all the good programmes start on tv. I love going to the Lake District in autumn and in particular, driving through the Winster valley. As well as being very picturesque, you can also pick up some very fine and very in season damsons. Local damson jam from Winster valley is just yummy. 
I sat out in my garden this morning for breakfast and thought to myself that there would be very few (if any) more weekends I'd be able to dine alfresco in pj's and with a newspaper without it blowing towards the Irish Sea. Whilst sat drinking my coffee, I heard a rustling in my bushes and started twitching with fear and dread in my heart. I was imagining toads (my phobia) or worse - a rat. And then, a hedgehog (Tiggywinkle) comes trundling out and does a circuit round my garden sniffing out the delicacies of a hedgehog breakfast. With a sigh of relief, I watch this cute little creature pootling about at breakneck speed. It ate some bread left out for the birds before ducking back in the bushes before making an appearance again to hotfoot it across my lawn to another border. I began smiling thinking isn't nature wonderful and how blessed am I that I can sit watching Blackpool's answer to the Serengeti plains right in front of me. 
All of a sudden, Tiggy took a detour and headed towards my newly jetwashed patio. Staring defiantly in my direction, he grunted and did an enormous poo.... 

I then shot him. 


A few weeks ago during my lovely weekend in York, I made the fatal mistake of buying some Thorntons toffee. I knew I shouldn't have, but temptation got the better of me. Two bites in, and a sickening crack later, I discover a fractured front tooth stuck into the toffee. That sickening feeling then extends to your stomach because you suddenly realise that you will have a couple of weeks of looking like a female wrestler, and that you can kiss goodbye to hundreds of pounds in dental fees. I'm not a great fan of going to the dentist. It's a necessary evil and I always keep my teeth up to scratch with check ups and hygienist appointments. As I've said before in this blog, I have an usually low pain threshold which sends me into a sweaty gibbering wreck at the prospect of local anaesthetic needles (ouch) and worse to come... the prospect of having the fractured tooth extracted. Last week at the dentist got off to bad start. I had to have impressions done - not the kind where my dentist put on a fez on did a Tommy Cooper, but those goey denture-shaped things that harden after a couple of minutes to provide a replica of the shape of your teeth. Well, it was popped in and I did well up to 3.5 seconds before the gagging started. Horrendous. 
And so to yesterday's visit to the dentist when I'm faced with the inevitable tooth extraction. Awful is the only word to describe it. I'm then fitted with a temporary denture until the bridge work can be done next month. A DENTURE! OMG I feel I have now reached old age status. I shall take up wearing Damart thermal directoire knickers next and start singing along to Vera Lynn records. Because I'm a total fool, I go straight back to work with a bleeding cavity,  wobbly legs and £200 less in my bank account. 
Does the body go into shock after teeth are removed? Last night I was a  shivering and thoroughly out of sorts grump who crashed out on the sofa at 9pm only to be woken in the early hours by by tv and the lights all still on. The denture has been removed this morning to find a ground zero-type cavity and a very sore and swollen mouth. 
And it all starts again in 4 weeks. Can't wait.... 


You've got to feel for George Michael... He's crashed another car for the umpteenth time, this time under the influence of a cocktail of cannabis and anti-anxiety prescription medication. The court case judge warned him that despite numerous incidents with crashing cars etc, George had still not taken steps to sort out his drug problem and was therefore a risk to the public. The judge branded him a drug addict and sent him off to Pentonville prison for a month. George was led away sobbing and I daresay has been sobbing ever since..
Pentonville's other residents have allegedly been taunting George their own renditions of 'Freedom' and so George has been put on a wing dedicated for vulnerable prisoners and sex offenders. 
Rumour has it, George has been forced to give hand jobs to other inmates before having to make them their evening hot chocolate drinks. He's currently working on a new single about his time inside called 'W**k me off before your cocoa'. 

Terrible I know, but it made me laugh... 

Friday, 17 September 2010

1968 GIRL POWER.......

It's already being billed as this year's surprise blockbuster. British film Made In Dagenham on general release in a fortnight is tipped for the same success as Billy Elliott and the Full Monty achieved. Made In Dagenham is my kind of film - based on a true story of a group of women from Ford's Dagenham plant who went on strike for their jobs as sewing machinists to be graded as 'skilled'. On paper it doesn't sound inspiring, but this was 1968 and the days before equal pay legislation. Women's work and pay was graded way below that of their male counterparts. This film takes on the social injustice of those times and we get a glimpse of how these women took on the fight for equal pay right up to parliament. 

The underdog taking on authority? Sounds like a surefire hit doesn't it? 

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Can't think of a better way of spending a Tuesday night than with watching six men strip off, eat some pizza and enjoy the company of three of my funniest female friends. Well, that happened last night when I was asked to join my nursing buddies up in Lancaster to enjoy the delights of 'The Full Monty' staged  at the Grand Theatre. We met up in a swanky little Italian restaurant and enjoyed a pretty decent little pizza before taking our seats at the very lovely Grand Theatre. The Grand incidentally is the 3rd oldest theatre in Britain dating back to 1782. Just thought I'd mention that little bit of historical trivia. Anyway, this production was put on by a local amateur dramatics group so our expectations were as low as the ticket price. The theatre was full of excited women bedecked in lip gloss and Impulse. There was a frisson of excitement as only the prospect of having males getting their kit off can muster before it was curtains up and the binoculars were out. The production was actually very good. Yes, it had some cringeworthy set changes and 'actors' that were bloody awful (think Hollyoaks meets El Dorado level), but it seemed to add to the night. There were plenty of genuinely funny comedy moments which had all four of us and the rest of the audience in roars of laughter. And then came the finale. The little old ladies in the audience suddenly dropped their knitting and polished their specs at the expectation of some male nudity and could be seen working their way up to a frenzy. Our 'actors' didn't disappoint either. Tanned, toned and nubile bodies they weren't. Far from it. But it didn't seem to matter, as trousers and shirts were peeled off, followed by the infamous thongs/posing pouches.  I looked across to my three friends who are all respectable married women who given the sight before them turned into giggling and slightly shocked teenage girls watching the proceedings through covered eyes. You would think this audience had never seen meat and two veg before, but it didn't stop most standing to their feet dancing and cheering for the kit to come off. I somehow get the impression that women enjoy this spectacle purely as good fun. Female strippers, poledancers and lapdancers seem to be viewed by men in a purely sexual and titillating way. Correct me if I'm wrong?

Anyway, great fun was had by all and I salute the group their enthusiastic production which lifted the spirits of many of Lancaster's female patronage. Big credit also to the six men who got their kit off with such aplomb. It must have been a nerve-wrecking experience and I suspect quite a few cigarettes were smoked and double brandies gulped down beforehand. 
Unfortunately, I am now left with the legacy of being unable to remove the song 'You can leave your hat on' from my brain this morning....  

Sunday, 12 September 2010


Right, it's sounding off time. After a day traipsing round the shops with my mum we stopped at Costa Coffee for a refreshment stop. Costa's coffee is really good, and their raspberry and almond cake is worth a try, but OMG.. the service is dire. It's not just the Blackpool branch that employs drongo's, it seems to be a nationwide trend at Costa Coffee. Here's the job requisite/description for working at Costa...
1. Are you young?
2. Will you wear a tight black shirt? 
3. Will you chat incessantly with your colleagues? 
4. Will you ignore customers and a growing queue whilst wiping round?
5. ...chat a bit more with colleagues? 
6. ...allow tables to be left overflowing with cups and plates and saucers? 
7. ...ask 3 times what you had just ordered? 

You lose the will to live by the time you get your toytown, Early Learning size cup of espresso and fight past prams and tables strewn with dirty crockery and sit down for two minutes whilst in two gulps, your coffee is gone. And you pay heavily for that privilege. You then yearn for the days of tea or coffee houses where you have a private booth and staff are trained properly, are quick and serve you at your table. A bit like the rest of Europe and North America where this seems to happen with consummate ease and speed. 

And then we went to H&M to pick up some jeans for my nephew. Jeans selected.. find the tills, two staff serving and one customer ahead of us. Couldn't be simpler? Think again. The lady ahead of us talks incessantly to the shop assistant and gets into a big discussion over her credit card that had disappeared from her purse. And if by magic, the other sales assistant skulks away to fold jumpers. After 5 minutes of queuing the veins of my neck are throbbing. After 9 minutes and I'm at breaking point. I then go into full strop mode and tell the sales assistant to get back on that till NOW before I start unfolding all her jumpers and jamming them in her NVQ level 2 in Twatty Sales gob. Through gritted teeth I kindly asked her why she chooses to ignore customers queuing, and to kindly remember that in a global recession, money through tills and customer service is a tinsy-winsy bit more important than folding size 8 acrylic jumpers. My mum then told me to calm down and told the now sulky gobshite that her daughter is a nurse, has a very stressful job but is usually very nice. And lo and behold, the jeans go through the till at their full price and not the sale price as advertised. I then go into full Krackatoa East of Java mode and demand the sale price NOW. Sulky gobshite goes off for proof and I swear she went off to the staffroom for a quick fag and a quick read of Heat magazine before coming back to unsmilingly put them through the till at the sale price. 
Maybe my expectations of good service are a tad too high. You know.. the expectations of having staff meeting the till ratio.. of having staff who smile and say hello or sorry to have kept you... of staff who look interested and serve you quickly and with good manners. Did all that really finish in 'Are You Being Served' in the mid 1970's. I kind of think it did....


Spent last night freezing my bazooka's off on Blackpool prom watching the World Championship Fireworks Show. They're held each September in Blackpool although the format has changed this year. Previously nations of the world let off their fireworks over 4 or 5 weekends and near to North Pier. This year, they've changed it to run on consecutive nights over one weekend. Myself and five mates got down to Central Pier and took our positions for a good vantage point. The illuminations have only been on a couple of weeks and Blackpool was absolutely packed with visitors so we needed to get there early. The photographer amongst us got the big guns out complete with tripod and we were ready to rock n roll before the action got going at 8.30pm. And then the storm clouds drew nearer and hey presto..it rained and rained, then the wind blew your hair into a sloppy mess. Being proper troupers we stuck it out and when the rain stopped, were treated to a fantastic display by team France. And then 20 minutes later, they finished. TWENTY MINUTES. Zut alors, c'est merde! It was hardly worth lighting the Katherine wheels for. Actually they were great, but there was probably 20-30,000 on the prom last night and the disruption to parking and full police presence was hardly worth it for 20 minutes. Tonight it's Canada's turn to go for it and as the weather's better, I'm sure it'll be a good night. 
The hardy sixsome last night however, stuck around, bought some light sabres from a street seller, linked arms singing whilst rambling back to our cars and finished the night off wonderfully with a fish and chips supper and a can of vimto at the Middle Chippy in Bispham. Zut alors! C'est fantastique....


It's back! SCD has finally returned to our screens. It's as camp as christmas but I just love it. The omens are looking good for a great series this year - different set, different male dancers (phew, they're hot) and a good variety of celebs. Unfortunately, it's the same old Brucie. Ah well, we can't have everything.
Of course there's the usual pantomine villians, cutesy couples and hunks. I also love the ones that have no chance and you just know that the professional dancers must be thinking 'oh shit' when they're paired up. This year we have Ann Widdecombe and Paul Daniels. They're the adult versions of the kids that got picked last at football during PE. 
Good news also is that Claudia Winkleman takes over the Sunday results show. She's been a bit hit on 'Strictly - It Takes Two' and I'm really pleased to see she's moving up to present the biggie. I've just seen the first part of SCD where the professional dancers meet up with their celebrity partners. Casting my very experienced dance eyes over proceedings... I'm going for the favourites being from the male celebs... Matt Baker, Jimi Mistry and Scott Maslen. From the girls... Kara Tointon and the girl singer from Eternal. But then again, Ann Widdecombe might be a dark horse with her Argentinian tango..
Can't wait....

Saturday, 11 September 2010


It took a long time coming, but finally the newly released film SoulBoy captures the Northern Soul phenomenon centred around Wigan Casino in 1974. The film is only only on limited released up to October, but here's hoping it will go on general release later. I love Northern Soul music and it evokes such great memories of those times. One of my older brothers was a big NS fan and had lots of the records, the Birmingham bags (flared trousers with a high waistband) and some gymnastic dance moves practiced regularly in his upstairs bedroom much to the annoyance of my mum and dad in the lounge below trying to watch Morecambe and Wise. He also had a Lambretta scooter and I remember thinking it was quite cool to have an older brother who liked great music and had a scooter as well. Northern Soul at that time captured something very special.. It was music enjoyed by Northern youngsters and held firmly in the North in one of Wigan's old cinema houses. It soon gained a cult following with coachloads trekking in for the famous all-nighters. It's dance routines mixed a rhythmic dancebeat with superb gymnastic ability. Memories from those who danced at Wigan speak of the heat, the sweat, the smell of Brut in the air and the bar inside the casino selling orange juice and vimto! I just remember listening to some superb music from Gloria Jones' Tainted Love, through to There's a Ghost In My House. I also remember the great fashions, the lad's long hair and the badges sewn onto bags - round with a picture of a black power fist and surrounded by 'Blackpool Soul'. 
Here in Blackpool's recently demolished Mecca building was also the place to be be for Northern Soul nights. Forty years on from their heyday and they're still going strong in various venues around Blackpool. 
Anyway, I shall go and see SoulBoy and will report back my findings on tht FFB blog...



The tickets are booked... the next Jolly Girls outing sees our intrepid little gang of nurses travelling to the Ritz in Manchester to see the very talented Ms KT Tunstall. I've seen her 3 times now and each time you get great value for money from KT. She's a mega talented musician with a string of very credible records and albums behind her. In the age of X Factor-esque manufactured music, she stands out for her originality and musical ability. To top it off, KT is also pretty good with her fans too. A group of us went to see her at the Manchester Apollo a few years back and like the groupies were are, we waited by the stage door to see if we could spot her as she legged it onto her tour bus before zooming off into the night. Well, she didn't zoom off, but stopped for ages to talk to people, have her photo taken and sign autographs. We got to speak to her and three of us congratulated her for a great performance and asked geeky questions about her guitar, where she was found her song-writing inspiration, her plans for further tours etc. All very NME and we were soon gushing at acquiring such a cool 'mate'. Then, one of our mates who is normally very quiet and not prone to easy conversation got very nervous and twitchy at the prospect of being pushed forward to speak to the lady herself. You could just about spot her rehearsing and lipsyncing her questions until the  big moment came and KT asked if our mate wanted an autograph. V steps forward and within a few inches of KT's face blurted out 'F**K me, you were f*****g AMAZING' whilst we stood there mouths gaping at her monumental verbosity. KT bless her, smiled and said 'thankyou very much' before moving on to a wheelchair user wearing a Black Horse and the Cherry Tree T Shirt.  

Anyway, I'm looking forward to October and hearing her old stuff and some good music from her new album. I shall also look forward to once again meeting her at the stage door and doing a great impression of a gushing fan. If in any doubt as to the talent of KT Tunstall, check out the video and her cover of the Jackson 5's 'I Want You Back'.  Genius...


Friday, 10 September 2010


It's over. Ten years and very long summer later... Big Brother has finally come to an end. Channel Four's often criticised programme has come to an end. I have dipped my toe into BB many times over the years and many, many times I've hated myself for watching such drivel. I have watched behind cushions and squirmed when Davina McCall shrieks constantly, when the arguments flare up, when couples got it on under tables or Jacuzzis or when George Galloway and Rula Lenska got a little frisky as their cat characters. Annoying and voyeuristic perhaps, but you can't deny that Big Brother was innovative and thought-provoking television. In the golden age of celebrity, it attracted desperate wannabes who saw participation as a way to fame and fortune. To some, it paid off. It paved the way for glittering lives in the spotlight and Heat magazine, and for some, it kick started flagging careers. At worst, it televised cruelty, bullying and a willingness to do anything at the whim of 'Big Brother'. Of course, BB was actually a bunch of producers sat in a C4 gallery, but you would sit in amazement at the housemates total willingness to betray, to bitch and to act very foolishly at the whim of media graduates. Also step forward the emotional unravelling of fragile and often vulnerable personalities into total breakdown. BB has also shown some of the best traits in human nature - bonding, romance, forgiveness and fun...plenty of fun. There's been some unforgettable characters too who had their 15 minutes of fame and fun in the spotlight. The lucky few like Jade Goody and Brian Dowling managed to carve out fame and fortune in their own right.
I think in the end, BB has had its day. It's been great fun to watch and it shall be missed by many people. Reality TV has it's place in television history, but it's cheap and it's often tacky in it's glorification of showcasing stupidity and calling it talent. 


Dawn French... where do I start? Clever, funny, charming, one sexy momma who is undoubtedly very naughty with a devilish twinkle in her eye. She now adds fiction writer to her exhaustive list of talents. I've always been a big fan of Dawn French ever since seeing her on 'Girls on Top' from the early 80's. I saw her live when French and Saunders toured and although the show was peppered with a fair dollop of fruity language from Miss pottymouth herself, she stood out as an incredibly talented comedienne. Her CV includes some impressive work in comedy and drama - The French and Saunders Show, The Comic Strip, The Vicar of Dibley, Lark Rise to Candleford and one of my favourites - Wild West playing the lesbian lover to Catherine Tate's character.  
I was given her 'Dear Fatty' autobiography for my birthday a few years back and liked her even more once I read it. It contained glorious moments of comedy (read the bit about her mum sitting on shards of glass and I defy you not to laugh out loud) as well as sentimental refection when recalling her dad's suicide. The book features a series of letters to the many people in her life and the letter to her husband (no ex-husband) Lenny Henry displays the love and admiration she has for her husband. You get the impression that's still the case despite the couple's marital separation. Lots of pathos, lots of fun and some lovely tributes to her friends and family - genius. 
And just to finish this nauseous tribute to the irrepressible Dawn French, I was lucky enough to meet her a few years back. She was genuinely down to earth and very funny, warm and happy to pose for photos. Despite having a jibbering numbskull towering above her (and I'm only 5'4"), Dawn generously laughed at my jokes and I will always have that on my CV for making a comedy icon laugh out loud. For that alone, she's a top bird. 

Monday, 6 September 2010


Although he can't score for Man United or England, it appears Wayne Rooney can manage to score in a brothel. It's alleged that Wayne has been at it again with sordid tales of peccadillos with prostitutes. News first broke a few years back when young Wayne no doubt fuelled by drink and a generous dollop of egging on by his mates, visited a 48 year old prostitute kindly nicknamed 'the auld slapper'. Boys will be boys eh? And then he got the top job at United, married Coleen, had their first child and seemed to settle down. Now the story has emerged of Wayne paying up to £1200 for the services of a Manchester prostitute not once but many times. The trysts happened at the 5 star Lowrey hotel in Manchester after Wayne picked up the girl at a local casino. The timing was just perfect as Wayne was playing hide Mr sausage whilst Coleen was pregnant with their first child. 21 year old Jenny Thompson claims that Wayne chased her with numerous texts making lurid suggestions of what might happen in room 562 at the Lowry, however Jenny also hints that Wayne is a hotshot in the box - but it appears only at Old Trafford when playing in front of the United faithful. It appears our Wayne is not so great in the sack.  
Here's some free advice Wayne:- 

1. Mixing with Rio Ferdinand will invariably get you into trouble. 
2. When you get married, and your wife is pregnant, try to keep it in his pants
3. Smoking fags, urinating in public and paying for prostitutes makes you a lesser player for United and England and prevents you from scoring goals despite being paid squillions to do just that. 
4. Be a better role model to your fans and to your son and grow up.    

Sunday, 5 September 2010


Another great weekend over with just a dash of unexpected warm and sunny weather. Today I caught up some great mates and after watching a repeat of this week's X Factor (in disbelief at the antics of the young girl punching her chubby mate square in the face), we trundled off to a country pub. The pub of choice is a local gastropub and the 3 course Sunday lunch didn't disappoint. The beef and Yorkshire pud special was as delicious as delicious could possibly get. We had great service and the chance to catch up on all the latest gossip. Also a worthwhile opportunity to plan for next year's holiday where Tuscan villas, private swimming pools and lots of Prosecco was mentioned. OMG. I can feel a 14 month stretch at Guantanamo Bay for bad behaviour coming on... 
After gorging on a huge Sunday lunch, we headed off for Blackpool's illuminations and the realisation set in pretty quickly that we weren't alone. It was bumper to bumper of coaches and cars and it took a quick diversion Italian Job style through the back streets of North Shore before joining the prom later on at a more quieter point. The lights still have that draw and the crowds were out in full force whether it was walking up the prom, playing bingo or sat outside in the warm air having fish and chips and a pint of beer. Nice atmosphere and it's still the greatest free show on earth. Back home early and plans in place for next weekend's world championship fireworks on the prom. Fireworks followed by fish and chips at Bispham. Blimey, we know how to live in Blackpool! 

Friday, 3 September 2010


That shy and retiring, newly married Mr Robbie Williams is in my home town tonight. After calling round to my house for his tea and a quick snog, he'll be on Blackpool's promenade at 9pm to switch on Blackpool's famous illuminations. Robbie will be joined by Alesha Dixon, Russell Watson, Gabriella Cilmi and the Plain White T's. Great line up, pity Blackpool Council decided to put a free-for-all ticket only event. Pity still they couldn't give a high allocation of tickets to Blackpool residents who after all a fair proportion of their council tax towards the yearly illuminations (which incidentally is FREE to those who visit the town).
The illuminations will be shining bright for the next 66 nights. They started as a way of drawing in visitors for a few more weeks following the summer season. As kids and even as locals, to travel down 'the lights' each year was a heady, wildy exciting prospect. We'd have our baths early and mum would put us in pyjamas and we'd be loaded in the back of our car and head off for Starr Gate which was the start of the illuminations. Being the youngest, I could always be guaranteed to fall asleep by Starr Gate and miss most of the lights until the tableaux which was the highlight of the the lights nearing the end at Bispham. The tableaux were the animated displays which still delight young and old. The illuminations 'treat' would then be finished off at the chippy in Bispham where I would miraculously wake up at the prospect of chips and dandelion and burdock. I still go down the lights each year and still hope that I will one day manage to travel in style on one of Blackpool's illuminated trams. The rocket being my personal favourite is the one tram I've got my eye on. 
So Robbie heads this year's list as famous celebs who have switched on Blackpool's illuminations. Here's some of the people in the past who have flicked the switch....

1977 Red Rum
1978 Terry Wogan 
1979 Kermit the Frog 
1983 Cast of Coronation Street 
1985 Joanna Lumley 
1986 Les Dawson 
1989 Frank Bruno 
1992 Lisa Stansfield 
1993 Status Quo 
1994 Shirley Bassey 
1995 Bee Gees
1999 Gary Barlow
2000 Westlife
2007 David Tennant and Billie Piper
2008 Top Gear presenters
2009 Alan Carr