Sunday, 27 February 2011


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


...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 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


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. 


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


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. 

Sunday, 13 February 2011

OH MY GOD.....

Ok. Enough serious stuff about films and wonder goals from Wayne Rooney. It's Sunday night and I have work tomorrow. Dancing on Ice is on tv and I'm close to sticking my right foot through the tv screen. There's only so much Kerry Katona and Chloe Madeley a girl can take. So here's a blog of sheer indulgence and get the Tena Lady's ready for little gem. Now I remember this band from the late 70's and I can instantly recall even as a young music fan, wanting to load a pump action rifle and shoot at the lead singer. Not kill him of course, just dispel a volley of sufficient bullets around his feet enough to send him off the nearest pier into shark infested water. You just cannot watch this video without laughing. The song is ludicrous, the band are ludicrous, but the Grade A arse of the piece has to be the lead singer. He tries just a tad too hardtry and you might, it's difficult to take this tosser seriously. You can imagine his mum wiping a tear away and glowing with pride whilst watching this. You can also imagine his dad thinking 'what a bloody big girl's blouse'. I don't know the lead singer's name, but I imagine it's something like 'Nigel' or 'Colin'. 
Ladies and gents... I give you the very forgettable Racey and 'Some Girls'. Particular noteworthy video moments - limp wristed singer, studio extras desperately trying to shove balloons towards his face, horrendous dance routine with 6ft 4" transvestite and a surplus wind machine misguidedly put on 'high' setting. 
Work it son, work it....Eyes and teeth....



I have a secret guilty pleasure. Aside from the occasional (ahem) bar of chocolate, sherbet dib-dabs, midget gems and Saturday afternoons spent with bad-ass friends in the pub watching football, I feel compelled to own up to watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on Channel Four. As much as you admonish yourself for watching such tripe, it's totally mesmerising television. The gypsy weddings on this programme have to be seen to be believed. Of course there's been the usual controversy over the show's depiction of the travelling community. Romany travellers in particular, are up in arms at C4's slant on this little-understood segment of society. They call for a more balanced depiction stating it's the Irish travellers who behave in this outlandish way, not the Romany travellers.  
The programme follows the extravagant rituals and marital celebrations of modern gypsy life. It shows the fantastically over-the-top weddings complete with taffeta-laden dresses weighing up to 14 stones, Cinderella-style carriages not to mention helicopter rides bringing in the gooning bridegroom and ushers. It all makes fascinating and compulsive viewing on a section of community which is often maligned and marginalised. Viewers watch aghast and must raise big questions such as 'how the Hell do casual labourers who are barely educated, find the proceeds to fund £150,000 weddings?'. It also raises awkward questions about the roles of men and women in the travelling community. As a female watching this programme, I feel quite uneasy at the seemingly 'fixed' female roles within the gypsy community. Girls appear to be educated up to the age of 12 where they are then 'groomed' to be married at a very young age. Typically, once married they are expected not to work and surrender any independence to a life of subservience.
Yes, MBFGW is gaining huge tv ratings and is indeed an eye-opener of a programme. It's a little bit of escapism and dare I say, voyeurism into the sometime secretive communities living within the wider society. I just wish C4 hadn't made it so sensationally headline-grabbing and focused too heavily on the Hello Magazine Las Vegas-style weddings. Travelling communities also have a higher than national average issue surrounding mental health issues. I'd also be interested in how the travellers deal with wider issues such as homosexuality within their community? The male-female roles seem so predisposed to marriage and child bearing, that I wonder if there is any tolerance towards LGBT travellers? From what I've seen so far, it doesn't appear to, but there's a couple of episodes left so you never know. For the time being though, it's a corker of a programme which you tend to watch behind the sanctity of your sofa cushions.   


Listened to the hype, read the reviews, watched the many award shows, so after yesterday's pub afternoon we all decided to go see The King's Speech. Surely I couldn't be lucky enough to see two classic films in one week? Well, yes I managed it alright. The Kings Speech is one of those rare films that grabs you from the very start and just gets better and better throughout. Colin Firth of course, rightly deserves the accolades as his performance in this film is excellent. I couldn't help thinking though, that he looked more like James Hewitt than King George VI, but my goodness he is good. Perhaps equally as good are his supporting cast and in particular Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce and Helena Bonham Carter, who must be in line for some supporting role awards. And talking of awards, it's the BAFTA Awards tonight with The King's Speech up for 14 BAFTA's. Expect some big wins and expect quite a few Oscars, because this film is seriously good. Last time I saw a film that thrilled me this much (apart from that dodgy film in Amsterdam, but that's a long story) was Slumdog Millionaire and that did pretty well in the awards department.....


Ever had one of those sublime Saturday's that will stick in your mind for ages? I met up with pals at a pub in Lytham to watch what the build-up was describing as 'the match of the season'. My team Manchester United were playing Premiership title contender rivals and local derby team Manchester City at Old Trafford. The game trundled on and it looked like finishing at a 1-1 draw. And then came a wonder goal from Wayne Rooney which was one of those rare moments in football when you witness audacious and technical brilliance. Even sweeter when it is delivered from the number 10 in your team. If you have not watched it already, search it out on You Tube and you will see one of the greatest goals of all time. Certainly the greatest goal scored by Englishman, and certainly the greatest goal scored at Old Trafford. The unpalatable truth is that United didn't play well up to this point and City were looking good for the win. Wayne Rooney by his standards, is having a 'mare of a season and was pretty poor in this game. And then he scored a goal that will make him smile at the memory long into his golden years. It will certainly stay in the memories of all United fans and I daresay in the minds of the neutrals who would be hard pressed not to acknowledge a sensational moment in football. They say form is temporary but class is forever. Wayne Rooney is world class and he plays for Manchester United. Oh happy day...

Thursday, 10 February 2011


Each week, my good mate Belle Vue DP and I head off to a local pub for a meal and a good catch up. We both work pretty damn hard so the prospect of scheppling round the supermarket, cooking and washing up afterwards is generally mutually ignored in favour of eating out. Our routine targets on two local pubs serving great food which also has the plus side of having good service. When fully fed and watered, we head off to a coffee shop for a couple of take-out lattes and cookie combo's for finishing off with a good natter on Cleveleys beachfront. Last night we broke tradition and found a pub that served two meals for £6. Our expectations were as low as the yellowy ceilings. It didn't let us down - sticky tables, sachets of ketchup, bent cutlery jammed in a chipped pot. Scanning the menu, we noticed starters were £1.69!  Despite our murmurings of 'shall we go?' and 'have you got any imodium, I think I might need it later?', we sat in a good observational vantage point for checking out the locals. I suppose it's really no surprise that pubs these days have to attract the punters in by offering meal deals. UK pubs have suffered heavily over the past few years with the smoking ban in all public places and the cheap supermarket alcohol prices. Nowadays, many have a similar feel to Little Chef and serve food not too dissimilar to motorway service stations. 
Last night's meal was ok. Not great, but it's a bit trite to present a 'Michael Winner restaurant critique' when you're paying £6 for two meals. The meal was the equivalent of the Tesco Value Brand - marketed well to look appealing, but beans are beans unless they're Heinz Baked Beans. We had a couple of £1.69 starters and two drinks and the whole bill came to less than £13. We didn't know whether to laugh or cry. And then I began to wonder what £13 could get you at The Ivy?.... 

Monday, 7 February 2011


Day off Monday and the BF and I head off to the cinema to see the much celebrated 'Black Swan'. Monday afternoons spent in the cinema whilst it's blowing a gale outside is a surreal experience. Having only ever ventured to the cinema at night, spending a midweek afternoon sat in VIP leather seats and sharing the auditorium with only four other people is quite a decadent way of spending a day off. Black Swan and it's subject matter of ballerinas wasn't particularly my film of choice but I sided on the recommendation of a friend. After the first 5 minutes, I began to question my choice, not to mention wiping up the blood gushing from my perforated eardrums. My goodness, the intro music is so loud it makes your hair stand on end. 
The story concentrates on the character Nina who's a prima ballerina who takes the lead role in Swan Lake under the tutelage of a creepy Frenchman. Natalie Portman plays the lead role and I wouldn't be surprised if her stunning performance wins her the Best Actress Oscar. The film is at times absorbing, disturbing and very, very dark. She plays a fragile character who strives for perfection in landing the complex role of white and black swan. It spirals into a dark psychological thriller which delves deep into Portman's character's sexuality, self-harm, psychosis and total mental meltdown as she strives for the perfection in claiming her dream part. There are some very racy scenes which had us both squirming and shifting uncomfortably in our seats at times, but stick with it as it's a really great film. Odd at times, Black Swan is a powerfully potent psychological drama that will make you uneasy. And at the end, it assaults all your senses rather like being slapped round the face with a wet haddock. Also worth a mention are the supporting roles from Barbara Hershey (playing Nina's deranged mother) and Winona Ryder. 
You've been warned - Billy Elliott it isn't! 

Sunday, 6 February 2011


Ladies who lunch were out in force today when my mum and I hit the shops for a little retail therapy. We've not exactly seen eye to eye of late and I've been in for a few tellings off, which despite me not being a teenager any longer, I still take very seriously when I'm in for the high jump (so to speak). Mum and I very, very rarely have our differences as we have an uncannily similar outlook in life, but thankfully we put all that aside and we headed off for the day. The day got off to a good start when we managed to park easily and not have to do a 14 mile hike to M&S especially in today's gales and rain. We lunched in our local Marks and Spencer's which was lovely and quiet for once. A cup of coffee later and we were giggling like a couple of schoolgirls. A quick swish around the lingerie department and some big tuts and eyes rolling from my mum at the garish red and black bra and knicker combos cashing in for the forthcoming St Valentines day. Have to agree with her on that one. We then did our usual tour of TK Maxx, Boots, River Island and Wallis. I glanced longingly across at Waterstones book shop, which when I shop on my own, will usually see me in there for at least an hour at a time. We stopped off for a mid-break Costa espresso and surprise surprise, no tantrum from yours truly for crap service or tables full of used crockery. We were served by a young girl who was very pleasant and quick and we had a nice table which was mercifully clean. And just to complete the perfect picture of happiness in Costa Coffee, there wasn't a pram or screaming toddler in sight. Not one. Are you having that? Just a few tables of middle-aged ladies and young couples happily chatting away and enjoying their coffee. With bulging bags and stretched arms, we saw a 20% sale in TJ Hughes and with a look exchanged between us that spoke volumes in the 'well, why the Hell not?' kind of way, my mum treated me to a bottle of my fave Calvin Klein perfume which just about sealed the day. Mothers and daughters rule ok! 


I've never really understood the appeal of BBC's Top Gear programme. It wins lots of TV awards and has a cult following of millions who tune in to watch the motoring show and the antics of it's three presenters. I sit uncomfortably watching Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May who have developed a persona as naughty, indulged overgrown schoolboys who are paid magnificently to drive fast cars, naff cars or crash cars in usually very exotic settings. More recently, the Top Gear presenters cannot simply present a programme about new cars and their performance. They have to 'entertain' us with showcasing their naughty comedic talent and outspoken 'laddish' behaviour. This week sees new controversy following comments made on the TG programme. Following the debacle over at Sky Sports with the other two outspoken imbeciles Andy Gray and Richard Keys, the three presenters have proverbially fallen on their arses by making unwise remarks about the Mexicans. Richard Hammond's remark last week that "Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus". Clarkson added that Mexican ambassador would be sleeping in front of a television so wouldn't be able to muster a protest. And even May joined in the joke by remarking that Mexican food is "just sick with cheese on it". The moronic assertion that all Mexicans are "lazy, feckless and flatulent" sounds suspiciously like publicity-seeking racism and deliberately courting controversy. Juvenile prejudice taken not from experience but sounding like a stereotypical assumption taken from watching 'Hey, Gringo' Hollywood westerns. The same old assumptions that 'women can't possibly know the offside rule' or 'did you smash it?'. 
Comments like these are as nauseous as they are offensive. These are middle-aged, highly paid and dare I say.. middle-class men who present a motoring programme. Being edgy, cool and anti-establishment by making outspoken comments whilst wearing naff haircuts and naff jeans and jackets combo's fools no-one. What surprises me more, is that these three are viewed as role models and receive almost God-like status. They wear their offensive behaviour like a badge of pride and are indeed applauded for their outspokenness and blokey high jinks. But like Keys and Gray at Sky Sports, you can only get away with impunity from offensive remarks for so long before tolerance runs out. 

Saturday, 5 February 2011


...and just for further proof that the UK goes mad for dogs (although I don't), check out this little beauty from Crufts 2010. Crufts, in case you don't know, is a yearly dog show where dog breeders show off their pooches for prizes in the show. It's big business and gets big coverage on tv, though sadly not in my house as I would rather watch a) paint dry b) anal warts on C4's 'Embarrassing Bodies'. Whenever I've stumbled across Crufts being broadcast (usually during periods of having a high temperature and being in a feverish state and under the influence of lots of medication), I'm struck by the following observations:- 

1. Poodles - what is the frigging point of poodles? 
2. Dog owners - sometimes a little eccentric, garish-clothed, running like a big girl, tight trouser-suited showing a hint of camel toe.
3. Judges - Usually hugely-bosomed, matronly, severe haircut, big arse. The female judges also share similar characteristics.
4. Dog names - long and pompous and invariably on the lines of.. Lord Smegma of Skye in Sequin Plaid Kitten Heels III aka 'Angus'
5. Judging criteria - worryingly involves the huge bosomed one squeezing the dog's face, having a quick feel around the trossachs, lifting the tail for a quick check of the dog's arse, a subtle lubrication of the index finger without latex gloves...
6. Overuse of double entendres - '..and doesn't Tracy handle her foo-foo well in the ring'. 

Put it all together and it sums up succinctly why I despair with dogs, their owners, and Crufts. The top of the pile accolade has to go to dog owners with plactic see-through bags who shovel up dogshit and stick it in their pockets and hate poodles and poodle owners. There, I've said it...

Friday, 4 February 2011


Driving through my local town this morning, I stopped at some traffic lights and  saw a dog walker. The dog had stopped and relieved itself of what looked like a ton of dog crap. Grimsville I know, and despite rebuking myself for staring, I tried desperately to distract my gaze from the dog's grimace at one end and from what was coming out the other. And then it happened. The dog owner took out a plastic bag, scooped the mess up, knotted the bag and shoved it in her jacket pocket. IN HER BLOODY POCKET. Bluuurrrgghh...
I'm not really struck on dogs. They're a bit like Nick Clegg - looks good on paper but totally impractical. They generally stink, they drool, they crap incessantly and urinate against EVERYTHING. They shed hair, they bark, they snap, they bite, they ruin furniture. They require walking, pull on their leads, run after ducks, don't come back when they're off their lead, they hog the fire. They get under your feet, they scratch, they have dog breath, they cost a friggin fortune in vets bills, they get swollen gonads. They bonk everything, they're on heat, they eat stinky food and expel stinky farts. They get worms, mange, fleas and rotten teeth. I hate them. 
The trouble is, in the UK we are besotted by them. They are loved, adored and pampered. I have a sneaking suspicion that more charity money is bestowed on the RSPCA and Battersea Dogs Home than the whole of the NSPCC, Barnardo's and ChildLine put together. Whilst out on my travels as a community nurse, I have the misfortune of coming across many, many dogs owned by patients. I hate all of them. I have to sit with glazed expression and false smile whilst little Bobby barks constantly about 3 inches from my ear, tries to copulate with my leg or jumps all over my black clothes with shitty paws. Is there something in a dog's psyche that 'knows' when someone hates them with passion, but needs to persecute that person by never leaving them alone? Many a time I've been tempted to drop-kick little Foo-Foo through the lounge window but even I don't have that much courage. And if I had a pound for every time I heard the phrase 'he's just being friendly'.  
Dogs? No thanks, you're welcome to them. And as for picking up the poo with a see-through plastic bag? WTF! 

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


Another quirky selection of album covers has been unveiled. 21 year old British artist Aaron Savage has recreated legendary album covers with lego bricks. Some of the Lego men have been given makeovers to make them look a little bit more like the artists on the sleeves. Congrats to anyone for getting all 10 artists and albums...


I can't blog about the late great John Barry without passing up the opportunity to include probably the greatest tv theme of all time - The Persuaders. Always on the look out for further opportunities to exploit new blog material, here's my take on some of the other greatest tv themes ever...
The Beverley Hillbillies
The Addams Family 
The Monkees
The Protectors 
The Odd Couple
Pink Panther
Steptoe and Son
Mission Impossible
World at War
The Onedin Line
The New Avengers
The Professionals 
The Rockford Files
Hill Street Blues
Magnum PI 
Van Der Valk 
The Sweeney 
The Southbank Show
Big Brother 

And just for Emma and Simon - here's the requested additions to the Greatest TV Themes of all Time (not that I have ever heard of any of them but looked them up on You Tube for research purposes and I'm stunned. My eyebrows should resume their normal position by Thursday next week)...

Raggydolls (I'm embarrassed)
Jonny Briggs (a sliding trombone ensemble of utter hideousness. I'm embarrassed)
Simon and The Witch (Oh Lordy. The phrase scraping the barrel has never been more appropriate)