Monday, 28 March 2011

THE PROFESSIONALS ARE BACK....


The news that another cult classic television show is about to hit the big screen with the remake of the late 70's favourite The Professionals. That I'm sure will gladden the nostalgic heartstrings of many women of a certain age who used to perve over Bodie and Doyle strutting their stuff. Studio Lyonsgate have acquired the rights to produce the film of the crime-fighting duo from the fictional CI5 agency. 
The original series starred the permed Martin Shaw as Doyle the police detective and my personal favourite Lewis Collins as Bodie the ruthless former SAS sergeant and mercenary. Keeping the two in check was Gordon Jackson as the boss of CI5. Quite a change in role from the butler Hudson in Upstairs Downstairs. The same production team from the last two Bond films and Captain America are starting filming later this year. I really hope they keep the kick-ass theme tune and the inclusion of sexy fast cars. I shall be keeping my peepers peeled for this one coming out....


Sunday, 27 March 2011

DON'T PUT YOUR DAUGHTER ON THE STAGE MRS WORTHINGTON


Can there be anything quite as nauseous as child singers? You don't see them around too much these days, but when I was growing up, they were everywhere, assaulting our eardrums and clogging up the charts. I just can't understand the appeal or cute factor of some little midget singing like they've just sucked up gallons of helium from balloons. Particularly grimsville is when they are the products of stage schools - I'm thinking the 'eyes and teeth' fodder from Sylvia Young's Stage School or the Italia Conti Stage School. No sorry folks, performing kids just leave me cold. Little Jimmy Osmond sticks in my mind as probably the Prince of Sickbags with the strangely titled 'Long Haired Lover From Liverpool'. Strange indeed when he had a pudding bowl haircut, came from somewhere in Utah and slightly odd that he's singing a lyric about being a 'lover' when he was about 10 at the time and Mormons don't actually do that sort of thing until their wedding night. Watch the video and weep at the miming, the dance routine and the fact it got to christmas number one...
To plunge into even greater depths of ghastliness, check out the following for records you would never own up to having in your collection in a million years from very small people with very ambitious parents....

Lena Zavaroni - Ma, He's Making Eyes At Me 
Donny Osmond - Puppy Love
Neil Reid - Mother of Mine 
St Winifred's School Choir - There's No-One Quite Like Grandma
Hanson - MMMbop 
Miley Cyrus - All  
Justin Beiber - All 

GOOSED MUSCLES BUT SO WORTH IT...


It's Sunday night already and where the hell did the weekend go? It started with much hilarity during a late, late Friday night at work. Much stress with 4 of us working away after 6pm when my colleague's mobile phone went off. Somewhat annoyed at her husband ringing her no doubt to check politely when his wife might be coming home, she answered it in her inimitable no-nonsense style 'I'M COMING HOWARD, I'M COMING'. Being a dirty dog and not being able to resist, I turned round to deliver a line something on the lines of 'bloody hell, there's an insight into what it must be like to be your next door neighbours you saucy mare'. Cue much hysteria and a much needed relief from the full-on stress. 
Yesterday saw me heading over to Lytham to meet up with my mates for lunch. But being a good weather day was just too good an opportunity to miss so we walked the two minutes down to the beach for a mad game of football. I'm very sorry to the beachfront residents who had to witness us four falling over, running around like kids screeching and swearing like dockers when the ball was booted towards the Isle of Man and had to be retrieved via a three foot jump off a sandbank. Great day with the crazy gang as usual with many, many laughs. 
Today has been spent being busy in the garden with the first spring lawn cut and digging over of the borders. I've jet washed everything that doesn't move and tried to ignore anything that does ie. frogs in case of sudden and debilitating hyperventilation. Thai takeaway for tonight's evening meal and a thousand aching muscles even in places I didn't know had muscles. Sunday night to be finished off nicely with a Radox soak in the bath after the final of Dancing On Ice. Surely it can't only be me who is secretly hoping Chloe Madeley falls flat on her gobshitey face during tonight's final can it? 



Sunday, 20 March 2011

BEST AND WORST COVER VERSIONS....


I read a poll recently from Total Guitar magazine listing the readers top 5 best and worst cover versions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Celine Dion won the worst cover version hands down for her rendition of AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long. Perhaps Celine's agent had the insight not to actually release the single after the damage was done when Celine warbled away the tune at a Las Vegas concert in 2002. So here's the list of the full top 5 in both categories...

Worst Cover Versions 
1. Celine Dion - You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC)
2. Girls Aloud/Sugerbabes - Walk This Way (Run DMC and Aerosmith) 
3. Westlife - More Than Words (Extreme) 
4. Will Young - Light My Fire (The Doors) 
5. The Mike Flowers Pops - Wonderwall (Oasis) 

Best Cover Versions 
1. Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan) 
2. The Beatles - Twist and Shout (The Top Notes) 
3. Guns n Roses - Live and Let Die (Wings) 
4. Nirvana - The Man Who Sold The World (David Bowie) 
5. Muse - Feeling Good (Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse) 

All worthy inclusions although I actually didn't mind Will Young's version of Light My Fire. Here's my take on a cover version that might be worth an inclusion on a more expanded best list. A few years back, Tom Jones resurrected his career with the release of the Reload album which contained 15 cover versions in collaboration with some pretty cool and credible musicians/bands. Although the release of 'Sexbomb' sold in millions and is the stand out track from the album, I always thought that his collaboration with Stereophonics on 'Mama Told Me Not To Come' was sensational. And as for Kelly Jones.. enough said, he can't do any wrong in my eyes. Sorry Three Dog Night, your original version was good, but the Welsh boyos whipped your arses on this one. 

See if you agree, and feel free to pass on other cover versions that are worth a mention....

SHAM-OOH NO....


Little bit of madness to report this week from Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham Football Club. The London club's owner, the flamboyant Mohammed Al-Fayed has just announced he wishes to erect a statue of his 'great friend' Michael Jackson outside the ground. Fans are a little erm.. 'unhappy' at the prospect of the King of Pop being celebrated outside their beloved Craven Cottage. Al-Fayed originally planned to put the statue within his Harrod's store but the tycoon sold his store last year for £1.5 billion. The statue reportedly features Michael Jackson in 'an iconic pose' with what appears to be underpants over his trousers. 
Fans are declaring a day of protest on April 3rd when they take on Blackpool at the Cottage and is also the day of the statue's unveiling. They state that Michael Jackson only visited the ground once and are claiming that the statue will make their club a laughing stock. 
I'm with the fans on this one. Michael Jackson was an American recording artist and perhaps a statue of him would be more befitting in an entertainment setting (the o2 arena?). Statues outside British football grounds are the preserve of footballing heroes from that particular club. Whatever next? Perhaps the new Indian owners at Blackburn Rovers unveiling Shilpa Shetty as a tribute to her contribution to Bollywood films? Rudolph Nureyev at Stamford Bridge? Charlie Cairoli at Blackpool FC? Or perhaps Judy Garland resplendent in her red Dorothy shoes alongside the Holy Trinity of Best, Law and Charlton at my beloved Old Trafford?   




  

Saturday, 19 March 2011

WHO NEEDS A LEFT HAND ANYWAY?


Another typical drama-filled morning..  It started off with an awakener text from my mate Dave requesting my presence for breakfast at a local eaterie. The temptation of cooked English breakfast was too much for my slightly hangover-esque head from last night's work's night out so I duly agreed to get myself in the shower in pronto time and look reasonably human with a promise of being a witty and refreshed dining companion. We called in first to the local Post Office to collect my new Sky HD box and with a skip in my walk and Budweiser or two still worryingly on my breath, we headed in the direction of a cafe for a full English and a read of the newspapers. Dave being a very clever and very kind techie friend offered to fix up my Sky box and being a lazy-arsed inpatient girlie when cabling up things is mentioned, I of course agreed with the offer of buying breakfast as payment. 
Driving back to my house, we had the windows down and I'm daydreaming about high definition with my hands wafting outside in the warm breeze, when Dave does an impromptu 'up' press on he electric window button and traps my fingers in the process. In a high pitched sort of stifled scream with something on the lines of 'DAVE, DAVE, DAVE...FINGERS' the car came to a shuddering emergency stop with Dave and I propelled forward with my fingers, arm and shoulder blade going backwards. The look of horror on his face whilst realisation set in and the window released my crushed fingers was awful to see. With numerous apologies and back home with a numb, blackened finger swelling up to the size of a cumberland sausage and there's no lasting damage but a lot of laughs about stumps, typing my blog using only one hand and regret at not being able to knit my Royal Wedding characters for another week or two, and all was forgotten whilst Dave fixed up a million cables and installed the much-awaited Sky HD box to my newly purchased replacement LED tv. So an evening ahead of rest and relaxation in front of my televisual experience nursing a finger the size which is now the size of a tuna baguette. 

Sunday, 13 March 2011

ROYAL WEDDING? KNIT ONE, PURL ONE....


If your invitation for the Royal Wedding hasn't yet landed on your doormat, don't despair. If like me, you're working on the day of the Royal Wedding and will miss the televisual event of the century, don't worry. Because you can now knit your own Royal characters and reenact the big day in the comfort of your own living room (or office). Forget the souvenir tea towels, plates, mugs and commemorative coins, because there's now a knitting kit containing patterns for ten characters from William and Kate's forthcoming wedding. The designs in Fiona Goble's (is that her real name?) book also contain extra patterns for 'guests' - that would be the Beckhams and Elton John/David Furnish and baby Zachary then? 




Knit the tissues, there'll be tears from the Queen, Camilla and Prince Edward...



The bride and groom. I love Kate's tiara, rouged cheeks and engagement ring. 

Yep, you can even knit Corgi for the vacant pageboy position...


.. the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Rowan looking resplendent though perhaps a little unholy when sharing mucky jokes with Prince Harry and comparing knob size...


No, it's not Elton John, but the REAL Queen complete with pearl necklace,  diamond brooch and one eye higher than the other. 


Thursday, 10 March 2011

IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME....


The reunion of the Jolly Girls hit Lancaster last night when we all became Stavros Flatley's and ventured into a newly opened Greek restaurant. The evening started somewhat strangely on my part as I had one of customary 'blond moments'. As RJ had asked me to stay over for the evening, we'd arranged for me to pick her up first, then drive into the city centre to meet up with the others. I'd had a long and pretty tricky day at work. I'm just on the last legs of a bad cold and still feeling a bit under the weather. It's dark, and I couldn't remember RJ's house number from my last visit several months ago. I recall her front door being white and there being a hanging basket outside. House located, bottle of expensive plonk in hand, I rang the doorbell and turned round in a high-pitched 'HIII-YYAA', to see a 21 stone bearded bloke with wild hair stood in the doorway. Although momentarily stunned, I tried to stay calm whilst trying to nonchalantly glance past him for any sign of RJ being held captive, and then just blurted out something on the lines of 'hi, you don't me but I'm from Blackpool and I'm looking for my friend and you have a white door and I think I'm confused because of sinusitis so I'm just going to go now and very sorry for troubling you, goodbye'. To this man's credit, although he had quite possibly the scariest serial-killer unhinged appearance, he was extremely kind and asked who I was looking for and did he want to accompany me to try and locate my friend. If the thought had momentarily crossed his mind that I might be a patient out on leave from the nearby Ridge Lea psychiatric hospital, he didn't show it. Whilst backing away up his path and waving my goodbyes, thanks and promises to keep in touch, I then tripped up on a loose paving stone and did one of those great 'oh f*ck' moments with arms outstretched. Four doors down and RJ was standing on her doorstep with arms folded, laughing having heard every word of it. 
And so to the Greek restaurant where we met up with the other two girls. I don't remember any of us drawing breath for the next 4 hours. Not having had Greek food since I last went to Cyprus yonks ago, it was actually pretty good and inexpensive. We ate lots of squashy cheese things with pastry. I noticed RJ had squid and I passed up on the offer of sampling that. Lots of minty yoghurty things which RJ and I managed to capture on the front of our clothes and where our nicknames of the Monica Lewinsky's of Lancaster were born. We caught up on all the gossip and made our plans for future outings. I noticed we were the last ones to leave with waiters asleep on the stairs longing for their beds. Great night out. Big thanks RJ and it seems you're not the only blonde in our gang x

GET ME THE MANAGER.....


You work hard all week and look forward to eating out and having some time to unwind with a good meal and a glass or two. And then you are sat within inches of diners at the next table. A new survey by lastminute.com has found this annoys us the most when eating out. The survey asked diners to list their top three complaints when eating out. 
Cramped conditions with tables crammed together topped the poll with 67%, while 66% complained of slow and inattentive service. Other complaints included being automatically charged for service and restaurants hiking up charges for 'special occasions' such as Mother's Day, Valentines Day. The 'oh no, we're not sitting there are we?' full list of gripes are as follows...

1. Tables too close together
2. Slow and poor service
3. Automatic charges for service, regardless of quality 
4. Price hiking for special occasions 
5. Food slow to arrive due to kitchen being busy 
6. Being made to wait for the bill / check 
7. Being asked to leave the table at a specific time
8. If the set menu is too restricted 
9. Background music / decor. 

All good and valid complaints I see, but perhaps the biggest has been massively overlooked. At the risk of upsetting a lot of people, here goes my singular complaint when eating out:- BADLY BEHAVED CHILDREN.
Ah yes, bless the little darlings for running around the restaurant, screeching and crying. Bless them for charging into other diners chairs and tables and banging into waiters/waitresses legs when trying to serve food. Bless them for ignoring their 26 toys brought for distraction and instead opting for continually banging metal cutlery or cups onto plates or tables. Bless them for coming up to your table and staring at you and your companion with an unblinking death-ray stare (even more cute when there's a stream of snot accompanying the stare). And how cute they are when they delve their pretty little clean fingers into the salad bar, chew on a cucumber, then spit it out over the grated carrot. 
Ah yes, and bless the parents for allowing their children to run riot in restaurants. Bless you for your non-intervention and random deafness when little Rupert is banging crockery on the table. How insightful of you to share the wonder of your loud offspring with other paying customers. Of course we want to have our shoulders, backs of heads banged by your HUGE nappy/accessories bag as your swing round to locate your table. How inspired are you to sit your child in a highchair for approximately 39 seconds before lifting it out to run around or to sit your lap screaming whilst you manage 2 spoonfuls of food. And how I sit back in admiration at your child's creativity in ripping up colouring books, bread and food, and leaving a total mess in their wake for other people to tread into their shoes and carpets. Not to mention some poor waitress on the minimum wage having to clear up the crap afterwards. 

Before I get accused of being a total child and parent hater, actually I'm not. I salute parents who encourage their children to try fine food in a convivial eaterie. I applaud parents who don't expect their children to be mute and sit completely still, but recognise and intervene when their children's behaviour might just be having an impact on other people's enjoyment and peace and quiet. And hats off to parents who take their kids out earlier so as to avoid eating out late in the evening when children are more susceptible to tiredness, grumpiness and bad behaviour.  

Other gripes? Extortionate corkage charges? Plates not warmed up? Being sat near kitchen or toilets? I'll stop there shall I? 


Monday, 7 March 2011

FISHFINGERBUTTY, THE STORY SO FAR.......


Having now become a fully paid up member of the blogging fan club, I feel it's time for a little reflection on the state of things so far in Fishfingerbutty world. What started out as a bit of hobby to pass some time before starting a  new job, has turned into a healthy obsession. Blogging gives you the opportunity to rant, to say nice things about people, to take the mickey out everything and everyone and to connect with others who hopefully have a similar outlook on the world.  It's been great fun and at times, quite a cathartic experience to let rip on issues that really hack me off. Let me say at this point that it pleases me no end when I get comments back on the blogs and a big thank you to the contributors so far on the rantings and anecdotes of a Lancastrian grumpy psychiatric nurse. Only a handful of the posted comments (usually anonymously) are a little off the radar and edge a little into planet la-la land, but comments are always welcome whether good, bad or indifferent. 
One of my fave parts of blogging is Blogger's nifty 'Stats' feature. This provides a geek like me the opportunity to see which posts are the most popular, how many blog hits/pageviews this blog achieves at any given time and provides a list of countries making up the blog's audience. I have to say at this point, I don't get off on the figures or worry incessantly about pageviews. But what really rocks my boat is the parts of world this blog reaches. Yes dear reader - I'm interested in YOU! The main audience comes not surprisingly from the UK followed by North America to a close second. There's been hits from most European countries, the Far East, Middle East and Australasia. Sad I know, but I get really excited when I get 'new' hits from new countries. This week, I had Indonesia, Jordan and Georgia for new hits. I loved that. I nearly wet myself when I recently got my first hit from South America (Chile). Only one hit from Africa so far (South Africa) but I'm waiting with baited breath for my second and fingers crossed for Libya or Burkina Faso. Still haven't got the elusive Japan or any from the West Indies yet but I'm keeping my eyes peeled. 


Here's some FFB stats (ok, just humour me... I warned you I was a geek)


2 new phrases invented by FFB to enter the English vocabulary (Gok Wank and wankwipe)
3 design changes to the FFB blog so far 
13 most comments on one blog 
124 expletives (ok, I'm not so proud of that and will try and mend my ways) 
356 blog posts so far
397 comments by your good selves and responses back
1034 highest viewed blog post (Keeep Dancing blog) 2nd highest (The Sex Factor - Ah hah! Got your attention there didn't I?)
2189 highest monthly blog hits (Dec 2010)
2414 highest referring URL site (www.google.co.uk)
5986 highest pageviews by browsers (internet explorer)


So all that remains for me to say although apologies that it's only in English... A big Hello from the Fishfingerbutty blog, thanks to all of you for taking the time and trouble to keep checking in and please keep the comments coming.... 

SUMMER OF LOVE?


They conjur up symbols of the Summer of Love Woodstock hippy era, of heading off to the beach loaded with surfboards, or of the free-spirited search for adventure for months at a time. The iconic VW camper van (or Bulli as it is known in Germany) was mainly in production from 1950 to 1967 but many versions followed. I absolutely love the iconic VW camper van and would happily give up chocolate for a decade to have one for a summer to head off to Italy or Greece. I suppose Greece because of watching the dreadful film 'Summer Holiday' when Cliff Richard and his goofy friends set off for Athens in a London double decker bus. 




VW have now unveiled the 21st century 'Bulli' at the Geneva Motor Show which VW hope have captured the essence of the old camper van. Ermm... on first sighting, I don't think so. The new version is powered by electric motor and has an integrated iPad system to control the van's entertainment system. However, it does have the 3 person front bench seat of old. Just my opinion, but it seems VW have lost the concept here. The new version looks like any other people carrier. You know, the ones lined up next to the 4x4's at the local Sainsbury's on a Saturday morning and the one's clogging up the roads on the school runs. When BMW reinvented the classic Mini, they made it sexy and cool. It appealed to all (especially to youngsters) and sold in millions. The new VW camper van doesn't have that sexiness nor does it seem to cry out to the old hippies now with disposable income or young free-spirited people (having parents with disposable income) to run off to their VW dealership in search of capturing the wanderlust of adventure. It's just another people carrier appealing to Mr and Mrs Average from the Home Counties with their 2.2 children and a cute dog. I'm this will also appeal to Mr and Mrs Average's compliance to their devotion to the environment and their carbon footprint. How bloody boring.....



Sunday, 6 March 2011

LIAM'S BACK....


Oh boy, it's good to have him back. Liam Gallagher ex Oasis frontman has returned this week with his new band Beady Eye and released the band's new track 'The Roller'. According to Liam, the band are so named so as to be placed in record racks next to The Beatles as opposed to 'the f*****g Osmonds'. Liam  certainly not one to hold back on his modesty, has described Beady Eye's latest offering as 'proper rock and roll'. Any band that returns back to musicianship, write their own songs and play their own instruments and gives a credible and much needed alternative to the incessant R&B fodder is absolutely fine by me. I mentioned in a previous blog that I had bought the latest Brit Awards 2011 cd (as I do every year) and was dismayed at finding only a handful of tracks out of the 40 on there that a) I knew b) I liked c) said 'wow that's different'. 
When Oasis swaggered from the streets of Manchester onto the music scene in the 90's, they were suddenly the definitive rock band. Love them or hate them, they scored 23 top 10 singles, eight number one albums and 70 million record sales worldwide. The warring between the Gallagher brothers, the splits, the excesses and the marriages made daily headlines and yet they still managed to fill stadiums with their anthems. 
After the band split in 2009, Liam has now decided to form Beady Eye with band members comprising of ex Oasis members. Effectively, Beady Eye are nothing new.. they are still Oasis with the heavy hint on Beatles-inspired music and with vocals given a huge nod in the direction of John Lennon. Listen to 'The Roller' and you are taken back to Lennon's 'Instant Karma'. It's not going to break new creative ground in music and it remains to be seen whether Beady Eye can reproduce the 'rawness' and innovation without Noel Gallagher, but I for one, am glad Liam and Beady Eye are back. I've missed him. 
Mad for it!      


Saturday, 5 March 2011

KEEP THE (PALOMA) FAITH....


Some songs just get into your psyche and you can't get them out of your head no matter how hard you try. In the true spirit of sharing, here's the song that did it to me today and if you read this and it had the same effect, let me know how you managed to remove it from your thought processes?
As for Paloma Faith - I'm a huge fan. She quirky and a little different and has produced some good records. I've also heard she's pretty good live. And no disrespect to the Lady GaGa fans, but I don't quite see the comparisons. Paloma's got the edge for me...

LIFE IS SWEET....


I've had a bad cold this week which apart from the inevitable grumpiness, nose blowing and sleep deprivation, I've also had that weird urge to eat loads of crap. Never the phrase 'feed a cold, starve a fever' been more appropriate this week in my relentless pursuit of an unhealthy food-fest. Last night after work saw the car heading in the direction of Fleetwood and the best chippy in the world. Feeling momentarily guilty after gorging on lightly battered haddock and chips, I then got the urge for sweets. There's a little sweet shop in the back streets of Fleetwood which takes you back to 1960's Britain. It's a tiny corner shop nestled in a little back street which reminds me of stepping back in time to something like Wetherfield's Coronation Street. It's been there probably since the war and I think the shopkeeper still wears his demob suit. I wasn't holding out too much hope as it was now about 6.30pm but I thought I'd try anyway. Like a bright star on the horizon, all lights were on as I pulled up and I smiled when I saw there was a queue outside the shop. It seems the population of Fleetwood take their Friday night sweet intake VERY seriously..
Step inside the shop and you think all your birthday's have come at once. It's immaculately clean with sweets and confectionary lovingly laid out on display in an orderly fashion by the shopkeeper who obviously take pride in their shop. They knew every kid by name and every parent's name. There was order and not a hint of rudeness or bad behaviour from any of the kids. I noticed there was old fashioned scales and everyone asked for 'a quarter of...'. Ah yes, metric weights are a dirty word in this part of the world. Perhaps one of my favourite bits of this shop is the selection of ice cream and ice lollies. Bonds (a local ice cream company) supply the gorgeous varieties and the shopkeepers themselves make their own ice lollies. I kid you not - for a barnstorming 20p, you can buy home-made vimto, milkshake and cola lollies. They can't make them fast enough and they are supreme. Satisfied with my bags of midget gems, vimto bon-bons, and floral gums, I headed off home with a satisfied smile but a slight pang of worry that this shop is so rare and so unique and yet it will soon be gone and no doubt replaced by a 24 hour Tesco Express, Spar or Londis. But for now, and each time I venture into Fleetwood, it will gladly receive my patronage and I pray each night to the Patron Saint of Confectionary (St Cadburys of Bournville) that it keeps going just a little while longer.. 


And in a whiff of nostalgia, anyone growing up in the 70's and 80's might just remember these little confectionary items sadly no longer with us....


Aztec bar 
Marathon (now Snickers -yuk) 
Screwball ice cream 
Space / Moon dust 
Tiger Tots 
Pacers 
Opal Fruits (before they got the stupid Starburst name) 
Spangles
Cresta (it's frothy man!)
Smiths crisps (square crisps with a blue square packet of salt?) 
Edible cigarettes sold in packets of 10 
Jolly Ranchers 
Galaxy Counters
Ice Breakers 
Pink Panther bars (strawberry pink flavoured chocolate?) 
Cadburys Old Jamaica bar (rum and raisin flavour - deeelish)


I'm sure I've missed loads more but feel free to share your sweet and chocolate memories....


    

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

HE SHOOTS... HE SCORES.....


Last night, police were called at Chelsea's Cobham training ground and had to remove Ex-England footballer Gazza for public affray before being sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983. Gazza had driven down from Newcastle after he heard that his old mate Ashley had been involved in an air-rifle shooting incident. Armed with a 12 piece bargain bucket of KFC, a side of corn on the cob and coleslaw, a fishing rod and some blankets, Gazza was spotted outside the gates by a Chelsea groundsman. With a loudhailer in hand, Gazza was witnessed to be shouting 'Ashley mate, it's Gazza! You're a top bluurk yer nah. Whey aye pet, come and have some chicken with your old pal Gazza and we'll have a chat and do some fishing'. 
Gazza was led away by psychiatric nurses but due to NHS cutbacks, had to share the same ambulance as the Tom unfortunate victim of Cole's shooting practice, the 21 year old work experience student Tom Cowan. Despite protestations, Gazza insisted that Tom had a drumstick and first slurps on the go-large Pepsi Max. 
Carlo Ancelotti the Chelski Manager was interviewed later on Chelsea TV and provided the following statement...
'Err.. I think err Manchester are fantastic but we give them good game tomorrow night.  Oh, Ashley.. si.. very silly boy err, but we talked si?.. he's sorry - izz accident no?'. 
Chelsea's Director of sponsorship confirmed that shirt sales in the Chelsea shop had increased following cashing in on the Cole shooting incident. The name 'A. Cole' had been altered to 'Asshole' and Cole's number 3 had been removed and replaced by a picture of a target. 
Ex-wife Cheryl Cole took a break in her hectic L'Oreal advertising schedule and agreed to an exclusive interview from GMTV's roving reporter Kate Garraway. Cheryl statement was as follows 'I think the King's Speech was fabulous. Colin's been signed up as a guest judge on this year's X Factor which is SOOOO A-MAZING!. Sorry, Ashley who?'



Sunday, 27 February 2011

STREET ART.....

In the week where the shy Banksy gains more plaudits for his headline-grabbing 'street art', along comes London urban artists Slinkachu and Cordal who specialise in 'miniature street sculpture'. They install tiny 'dioramas' using the world around them, take their photographs and then leave them in-situ to either be discarded or kicked away. All their sculptures are no more than 5cm in height. Slinkachu's work is now being exhibited at the Andipa Gallery in London. I think they're great and here's a glimpse of some of his (and Cordal's) miniature art to see if you agree... 











Saturday, 26 February 2011

PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC FOO-FOO'S.........


Another wild and frivolous night out to report from the Foo-Foo work's night out. Sorry to say also, there's another thick head to report once again this morning. Our trusty team hit Lytham last night and met up in a swanky little Italian bistro which had all those fabulous ingredients... great food, lively and noisy atmosphere, plenty of wine and good service. We then all headed off to the Station pub which surprise surprise, is a converted Victorian railway station but without the egg sandwiches and sausage rolls. There was a good live band on rocking away and then my boss decides for us to decamp to another pub where our favourite band 'The Deadbeats' are playing. Now this place was absolutely rocking to the rafters. Within 5 minutes we're all dancing and cheering away to Foo-Foo D and her sexually provocative take on the Kings Of Leon's 'Use Somebody'. And then a couple of us headed to the outside beer garden for some fresh air. When I say beer garden, it's a small outside yard for smokers with a cloth veranda keeping the now heavy rain from drenching everyone. We're chatting away when some bright spark decides to poke the bulging veranda cover with a chair. Yep, the one and only rip in the cloth and yours truly was stood directly underneath it to receive 179 gallons of icy cold, fresh rainwater directly on top of my head. 
Back inside and pouring water out from my boots and drying off a little, the place is rocking even more and we're up dancing again. One of the tracks played last night which really sticks in my mind is Wild Cherry's 'Play That Funky Music'. What a corker of a track and it sums up last night's shenanigans perfectly. Despite being submerged in water, not hitting my bed until some ungodly hour and feeling like death this morning, we all had a great evening and plans are afoot with the Foo-Foo Social Secretary (ie. me) to arrange the next outing. 


Friday, 25 February 2011

HIGH DEF? EXCEPT WHEN OUT OF WARRANTY....


Well, it's another day off and another day to get things fixed at Fishfingerbutty Towers. My car (the one that smells of wet dogs even though I don't own a dog) has been making a terrible screeching noise lately each time the brakes are applied. Thinking that I'd quite like to one day draw my pension and fulfill childhood dreams like seeing Bruce Forsyth retire before the age of 90, I thought that rather than risk careering off M61 and into the central reservation, maybe a better option would be to let my trusty mechanic have a look first. Sure enough, the brakes were a problem and brake pads were replaced. I've been reliably informed that had my brake discs gone, it could have burnt a greater hole in my pocket. He's a pretty decent chap and filled up the oil and  screenwash, replaced a faulty headlight bulb and inflated the tyres whilst he was at it for which I will be eternally grateful. Mike the mechanic tends to always greet me on collecting my car with a 'did you know your oil was low?' and a shake of the head. Erm.. no actually, I didn't and if I'm being totally honest, I don't give a flying fig about car oil either. I suppose I should because I have a sneaking suspicion that if my car engine blew up, I'd turn into a person I wouldn't like.    
Anyway, this morning I was also greeted by a text from my good buddy DP who escorted my out for breakfast which was very civil and unexpected. Back to my place for a coffee and he noticed my TV screen was.. as he termed it 'pixelating'. I termed it 'it's a green thing all down the right hand side that does my head in'. Being a IT techie, he very kindly rang his electronics mate who agreed to try and fix it today. Before I could rinse down my last drops of Kenco decaffeinated, my flat screen TV was unplugged and in the back of his car heading out towards this little electronics workshop. Apparently, this is a known fault with Samsung (just when they're just out of warranty) and he would try and fix it with a new ZX-7889 TAS-AR pixel panel complete with SDF 540 electronic fixing plate and Hi-Def spumonics. Ok, I made that up but it was something on those lines and I just stood there very humbly, smiling knowingly whilst not having a clue what on earth he was talking about. He will ring me later with either the repair cost or to tell me that my 3 year old Samsung flat screen HD ready tv is totally goosed. If the latter, expect high pitched screaming, ranting, yelling and a heavily exceeded overdraft limit. I will become that person I don't like....



Wednesday, 23 February 2011

BRIT AWARDS CLASS....


I've just bought the Brit Awards 2011 CD in the grim hope that there may be something new and innovative on there from this year's crop of talent. I'd caught glimpses of the Brits when it was aired last week and I'm afraid I switched over in exasperation when Justin Bieber won the International Breakthrough Act. 'International Shortarse over-hyped schoolboy with a crap hairdo' award I could understand, but International Breakthrough Act????
Anyway, back to the CD and skipping through tracks by Tinie Tempah - apologies to his many legions of fans out there, but he's not my cup of tea. And then I came across Rumer and the sublime track 'Slow'. Listen and you're transported back to the heyday of Karen Carpenter or at a stretch, KD Lang or Dusty Springfield. This song is so breathtakingly superb it's worth a big mention. I shall be looking out for more from Rumer as this girl is really, really good. And she's a Brit! 

Here's the full list of winners from this year's Brit Awards... 

British Male Solo Artist Plan B

British Female Solo Artist Laura Marling
British Breakthrough Act Tinie Tempah
British Group Take That
British Single Tinie Tempah - Pass Out
MasterCard British Album of the Year Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
International Male Solo Artist Cee Lo Green
International Female Solo Artist Rihanna
International Breakthrough Act Justin Bieber
International Group Arcade Fire
International Album Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Critics' Choice Jessie J 

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

STEAMY WINDOWS....


It's the first day in my week off work and already there's been scandal to report. The BF (that's Best Friend to all the enquiring texts I've been getting!) and I headed out for lunch to our favourite cheese and ham toastie / ice cream combo location and had a good foodfest whilst reading the newspapers. I ignored her comments likening my new reading glasses to those last seen on Nana Mouskouri. My witty riposte was that her greying parting was last seen on a rabies-ridden badger. As we've known each other for over twenty years, it's quite normal for us to swap insults over our increasing age and 'everything going South' status. We then hit the well-worn path to Subway's at Cleveleys for a cappuccino take-out and drive down to the beach. The waterfront was a hive of activity today with numerous cars parked up and full of retired people having a mid-afternoon snooze pointing out towards the sea watching fishermen out capitalising on the bounty of fish swimming towards the shore during the Spring tides We were chattering away and then it happened. The BF looked towards her left at the car next to us (about 20 feet away) and nudged me with a worried look on her face saying something on lines of 'eeuuugghh, look at those two snogging in that steamy car... hang on a minute, are they having sex? OH MY GOD, THEY'RE HAVING SEX'. As much as I didn't want to look I glanced across and was slightly horrified to see not a couple of lusty teenagers, but a couple in advanced years looking all the world like they were getting jiggy with it. This, I have to say was taking place in a public place  with the odd dogwalker traipsing past. It was taking place in a Hyundai sports car with very steamed up windows and in the middle of the afternoon. Thinking we had  inadvertently stumbled across a new dogging area in our locality, I sheepishly looked around me for famous actors from EastEnders or dogwalkers with video cameras but couldn't see anyone who was giving these two the slightest bit of attention. That's the beauty of Cleveleys I suppose. The general population is over 70 and is either sight or hearing impaired, or drives a mobility scooter. Totally oblivious to afternoon delight it seems. 
And then if that wasn't bad enough, the BF then reports 'They're moving positions.. wait... wait.. he's bobbed down. I think they're doing that...Oral highway thing..quick, have a look'. I can't tell you how stunned I was. Stunned indeed for what was allegedly happening 20 feet away from my enjoyment of a cappuccino and oatmeal cookie, but more stunned that the BF knew this phrase. I replied with something like 'The Oral WHAAAAT?' Much to my chagrin, I'm blushing and despite her repeatedly asking me to look to confirm this new and dangerous manoeuvre and ignoring my protestations totally, I just couldn't bring myself to be so openly comfortable with voyeurism. I then asked her how she knew about such things and she just shrugged her shoulders and nonchalantly claimed that's what it's called when it happens in a car. I blame myself for buying her the requested Sex And The City box set a couple of birthdays ago. She's never been the same since. 
And as for the loved up wrinklies... I started up the car pretty damn pronto and drove past steadfastly with rigid stare ahead whilst the BF leant across and beeped my horn for good measure. I noticed that she found my panicked reaction very, very funny. 


Mental note to self: 
1. Add 'Oral Highway' to vocabulary and use sparingly. Definitely not to be used in the company of parents, or during job interviews. 
2. Check internet whether Steve Heighway (ex winger at Liverpool FC in the 70's) married a Swedish blonde model called 'Oral'. 
3. Review personal opinion that sex does happen when you're over 60. 

Sunday, 20 February 2011

FACEBOOK, SCHMACEBOOK....


New research from Edinburgh University has revealed that the more time people spend on Facebook, the more anxious they become. I would have to agree and I don't think an expensive piece of research was needed to verify the point. I joined Facebook a few years back at the behest of my university chums as a way of keeping in touch through our studies and arranging revision between us. It soon snowballed into a multitude of friends requests from people I hadn't seen for a millennium and then media headlines of hacking within Facebook accounts and selling your soul to unscrupulous nosey-parkers. 
In Facebook's defence, it was quite amusing at first. I'd chat to people I'd lost contact with, friends I was at school with who were living the vida loca in the USA or Australia, and ex-work colleagues. There would be some really amusing exchanges of funny stories and genuine wit which would draw some equally amusing comments. Two of my friends even got together through Facebook - a union which would never have happened in a month of Sunday's without the help a few months of cyber flirting via Facebook. 
Over time, the novelty wore off with the onset of requests to join Farmville, Cityville, Tossersville, GetALifeVille etc. With the gathering of more friends including my own nephews and nieces, you become accustomed to the endless exposure of your 'friends' providing tiny updates on the dullest minutiae of life. If reading my teenage nephew's and niece's updates weren't bad enough, 'OH MY GOD, ur soo gay u retard', to 'friends' feeling to urge to share with the world the most mundane of daily activities. Examples I've had include - 'just had toast for breakfast', 'work today' or 'just been to toilet'. You get to the point of screaming at your computer screen with 'BIG BLOODY DEAL'. Well thanks for that. My life has been enriched with that knowledge. And then there's the sharing of photos. I had a grumpy spat with an old friend who felt the need to upload photos from our youth. Some of the photos I felt, infringed my privacy and were not in keeping with my current responsibilities under the code of conduct I signed up to when becoming a nurse. But that's the trouble with Facebook, once they're on and you're tagged, it's very difficult for many, many people not to see them. Facebook is also seen as a useful forum for getting things off your chest and I've seen some very unwise comments and language being used which borders at times on the side of slander. I'm gobsmacked when I see people's ranting in cyberspace with the misguided notion that free speech under the premise of Facebook will not have repercussions. Like the saying goes, you can only get away with it for so long.. So for now, I am giving Facebook a body swerve and leaving it to the teenagers and to people who want to be on there or who like to expose every detail of their lives. I shall stick to blogging under a more subtle veil of anonymity. It's far more amusing and there's no mention of Farmsville.....

Friday, 18 February 2011

FIRST CAR MEMORIES....


It's said you never forget your first love or your first car. Mine was a little beauty of majestic qualities. Ah yes, this young 18 year old loved her white Ford Escort Mark 1 Mexico above anything or anyone else. It was beloved and polished to within an inch of it's life. The chrome bumper and casing surrounding the headlights and radiator grille had more T Cut and Brasso applied than I care to think about. I saved up for a car radio/cassette player (couldn't afford the 8 track) and some swazzy door speakers. It had a chrome gearstick and a highly sophisticated  small racing steering wheel covered in leather. The Mark1 seemed at the time to be the car of choice for all the greatest rally teams and in the days before compulsory seatbelt wearing and speed cameras, my white Escort would invariably be seen razzing round country lanes at breakneck speed and without a thought to personal safety or the safety of others. My Escort transported my mates and I round local pubs and was the usual venue for late night chips and gravy, late night chats, late night listening to Radio Luxembourg and the odd snog-fest. Unfortunately, it also started to lose oil at alarming regularity, get overheated and had to be jump started more often than is good for your lower lumbar region. And then the floor started to fall out. Only a little rust at first, followed by massive chunks that were so big, you could see every road marking and cat's eye between your trainers on the clutch and accelerator. It's last gasps of life happened once fateful weekend when we all traipsed over to Manchester to visit our mate who was training to be a nurse at Ancoats Hospital. On our return home it finally died on the East Lancs road and we had to hitchhike back. It was towed back the next day and it's fate was consigned to the local scrapyard. I was heartbroken. I've had loads of cars since, but none have provided the thrill and excitement of driving that white Escort Mark1 which also captured the carefree life before mortgages, responsible jobs and crows feet....

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

WIG WAM BAM ...



...Dedicated to my quirky, short-legged buddy and proof that there was an original version before Black Lace put their cringeworthy pelvic thrusts on it (I've checked out the version on You Tube and it's really that bad). During a recent late night exchange of drunken texting, this track was allegedly being danced to by the short-legged one. I can only shudder to think of her dancing away to this with a Bargain Booze worth of rum and coke in her belly and a post it note still attached to her fringe. 
Ms RainbowBright - you may drive about an inch away from your steering wheel without a care in the world... You may chatter my head off without drawing breath at alarming regularity... You may on occasion, be very bossy, distractable and change your mind constantly at the drop of a hat... You may point out with unwaivering directness (and also with worrying regularity) how horrible I have been.. You may constantly take me on a 100mph rollercoaster ride through your brain's random thought processes and introduce me to a world of total insanity... You may often end phone conversations abruptly with a terse 'goodbye', generally whilst I am still half way through a conversation...You may occasionally bake gingerbread men in the shape of Little Britain's Dafyfdd's 'the only gay in the village' then appear hurt when this is pointed out...You may often grab my car door handles for dear life and tell me to slow down and put my seatbelt on...You may do a weird squiggle for a letter 'S'...You may talk in a unfathomable accent and say 'I think it's very in-a-pror-priate' much to the delight of my both myself and my colleagues in the team...
But for all that, you make me laugh probably more than you'll ever know and for all your quirkiness (and believe me, you have it in abundance), you have highly respected principles, a unique spirit and a generous and kind soul. You're also a true Northern girl who takes pride in her roots rather than renounce them. There's no hint of pretentiousness with this lady despite having the qualifications matched with a keen intellect that's worthy of shouting from the rooftops.
Oh, just one other thing...you have a thread of loose cotton hanging from the hem of your black kecks and a dodgy taste in football teams. Just thought I'd share that with you...


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

HOW TO LOOK GOOD NAKED (CLUE: YOU CAN'T)



If there's one genre of television that makes me want to puke and switch channels at the earliest opportunity, it's the 'makeover' tv series. One particular gruesome example of this is Gok Wan presenting 'How To Look Good Naked'. My mum once asked me 'who is this Gok Wank person always on tv?' and although momentarily stunned, I had to admit that she had a bit of misguided insight into her malaproprism. Gok Wan is a camp as christmas 'fashion guru' who claims at every opportunity 'Hey guys, I used to be a fat waster, but girrrlfrind.. look at me now!'. His presenting style is nauseous as is his mid-Atlantic accent that grates the very core of my central nervous system. His method is to pick some self-proclaimed saddo with self-esteem problems and a penchant for Matalan trackie bottoms, then strip them down naked (yes, I'm afraid so) into their greying knickers and bra and ritually humliate them in front of mirrors and a film crew of 56. He then grabs at their muffin tops, their bottoms, their stretchmarks and their dimpled thighs before squealing something ludicrous like 'look girlfriend, you're a fat bastard and no-one wants you, but with a liddle bit of Gok magic, I can make you dress like a sexbomb and you won't know what's hit you when those orgasms start rolling in. Now are you with me girlfriend?'. For some inexplicable reason, these ladies go along with it and set off on the Gok transformation miracle. We are then treated to the Gok inspired full makeover climaxing in the catwalk 'expose' when this blubbering, unconfident lady that was, is suddenly transformed into an uber sexy jezebel with full wobbling jugs on display. Gok of course is giggling on the sidelines saying things like 'OH MY GOD, amazing!' and basking in his self-proclaimed wonder of his 'miracle'. Superficial, trivial, nonsensical tripe are a few of the words to describe it. Perhaps my mum sums it up better with Gok Wank. 


GREATEST ROMANTIC SONGS? HERE COME THE BOYS....


The greatest romantic songs from the boys in the band? Ok, I've missed most of the obvious choices usually seen on the million compilation cd's released 3 weeks before Valentine's Day. Some had to be included of course because they're so damn good....


Frank Sinatra - Fly Me To The Moon 
Still the best. 


Billy Joel - Just The Way You Are 
For men who struggle to say the right words, use this as a good example of getting the message across...


Andy Williams - Can't Take My Eyes Off You 
Cheesy classic but it never fails to make me smile every time I hear it. 


Harold Melvin (and the Bluenotes) - If You Don't Know Me By Now
Thought I'd better mention the original soulful version rather than my favoured Simply Red rendition. It's the ultimate 'erection section' track from the ten-to-two last dance nightclub days...


Stevie Wonder - You Are The Sunshine Of My Life  
You are the apple of my eye, forever you'll stay in my heart. Ooh heaven


Chris Gaines / Garth Brooks - Lost In You 
A friend introduced me to this track. I loved it the first time I heard it. 


Jamie Cullum - But For Now 
Drove me to tears when I heard him perform this live


James Morrison - You Give Me Something 
What a voice and great feel-good track. 


Nat King Cole - Unforgettable / L-O-V-E
Couldn't pick between the two so selected both. Velvet voice and simplicity.


Paolo Nutini - Last Request
Proof that 19 year old's can write and perform heart-wrenching songs. Catch his You Tube video (performed on Jools Holland) for further evidence and you can just hear the Scottish accent coming through.  



Monday, 14 February 2011

GREATEST ROMANTIC SONGS? HERE COMES THE GIRLS....


It's February 14th which heralds Valentine's Day and to celebrate all things romantic, here's my take on the top 10 love songs performed by the ladies. Many, many more cheesy ones I could have included, but decided to stick with just really great tracks sung by girls at the top of their game. See if you agree or whether I've missed some worthier inclusions....

Aretha Franklin - I Say a Little Prayer
Burt Bacharach wrote it. Aretha performed it and million of ladies lived it. Pure genius both lyrically and in soulful performance. Makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up every time I hear it. Pure class. 

Joan Armatrading - Love and Affection  
Hauntingly beautiful lyrics and sung so perfectly. Acoustic guitar, strings and saxophone solo bring together a masterpiece. 

Etta James - At Last 
Just when you'd given up all hope, along comes THE ONE and this song beautifully sums up that stomach churning, sheer happiness feeling. 

Beyonce and Jay-Z - Crazy In Love
Not conventionally romantic, but bootylicious none the less and sums up the doirty, lusty bits of the first flush of romance when you just lose your head and can't think straight. 


Dusty Springfield - The Look of Love
Another Burt Bacharach penned song perfectly executed by Dusty Springfield. It's another lusty, breathy performance oozing with 'your place or mine?'. Just love it. Diana Krall and Nina Simone did credible versions, but none compare to this effortless classic. 


Tracy Chapman - Baby Can I Hold You
Simple, sad, superb. 


Corinne Bailey Rae - Like a Star 
Perfection from the lady from Leeds, West Yorkshire. 


KT Tunstall - Heal Over 
This track means a lot to me for lots of reasons. Pure indulgence from a huge KT fan. 


Ella Fitzgerald - Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye 
A Cole Porter masterpiece from the Great American Songbook and sang majestically by Ella Fitzgerald. 


Kiki Dee - Amoureuse 
Post-coital song at it's very best. I always have a cigarette and bask in the afterglow when I hear this on my iPod.