Thursday, November 30, 2006
I will leave the music review bit for Reidski cos he is far better at that than I am, but apart from the music which was superb, Hawley just comes across as such a great bloke. He is funny, relaxed, and chats with the audience like we are old mates. He is also very good with hecklers.
He asked if we liked the new backdrop which was two fancy, glittery and entwined letters - 'R' and 'H'. He said he thought they looked a bit 'gay' and then said he had nicked them off Rolf Harris; and at this point someone shouted out (what could have been a request???) 'Two Little Boys!' "Listen pal" replied Hawley, "I don't tell you my problems, you keep quiet about yours" adding as an after thought "You can get arrested for that sort of thing you know."
I was about to pay for a box of these. I had already noted with some slight dismay that the checkout assistant was an elderly male but thought 'What the hell?' And then I dropped the box as I was about to put it on the conveyor belt. 32 of the small roundish items fell out of the box and rolled out in every direction. And I had to retrieve them.
It was interesting how not a single male in the store appeared to notice???????
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
So fast forward to June and there was great speculation about who would be the support and many big names were being mentioned eg Razorlight, Idlewild and others who I can't remember now but got quite excited about at the time. It turned out to be some guy called Richard somebody or other who looked like he had wandered in direct from the boozer on the corner. He was certainly a local. I said to my mates at the time, I think he would be good in another venue, but here in the massive cavern like arena it was just so wrong. I wrote about him when I got back on my previous blog. I said having rather run down his performance, no doubt he will be the next big thing as I have a history of failing to appreciate bands who were on the verge of mega success like to my lasting shame, Talking Heads. Cue release of wonderful album by Richard Hawley 'Coles Corner'.
Reidski knew I was contrite about my appalling lapse of judgement because he saw other things I wrote at the time. Anyway, when we first met each other we were getting on really well when suddenly he said he had got me a present - 'Coles Corner'. It was so unexpected, it was SO nice of him, and it led fairly directly to our relationship moving to a level somewhat above that of 'just friends'. So finally I arrive at the whole point of all this reminiscing. Tonight we are going to see Richard Hawley, and this time I am going to fully appreciate him.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I have to ask.
I don't often see the Daily Mail (honestly!) but yesterday I saw these pictures of two women who competed in a Channel 5 programme called 'Make Me A Super Model'. Fashion industry 'experts' described the shape of the one on the right as 'perfect'. The one on the left was apparently too fat. The full story is here.
Never mind 'heroin chic' - Channel 5 proudly presents 'Final stages of terminal cancer chic.'
Of course, The Daily Mail would have more of a leg to stand on if they didn't take such delight in publishing photos of attractive women highlighting a spot of cellulite on their hips.
Monday, November 27, 2006
I promised him an afternoon watching the Cobblers play Orient.
Sad to report however that disaster struck - as did thunder and lightning. The pitch got water logged and the match was rained off, but after he arrived, so I am very sorry to have to report the entire afternoon was spent in a pub.According to its web site here the pub we spent most time in was designed with the discerning adult in mind. Luckily, they still served us.
It was a strange coincidence that we both had headaches the next day - I blame that on withdrawal symptoms what with the football being cancelled and all.
I do object to being found by a search on the words 'middle aged cobbler.'
So this is a personal message to a blogger in Indiana:
Dear Reader from Indiana - there has been a mistake. You should not be here. Please go away and stop making me feel my age. Do not take this personally. It is not you - it is me. Thank you and sod off. Jane.
This is the offending search =
Friday, November 24, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
And to round off a perfect evening the Mighty Cobblers beat Grimsby in our FA Cup replay match and progress all the way to the second round of the FA Cup. Bring on the Barnet! (That's what passes for a glamour tie at this stage of the cup....Not as Borat's humour coach would no doubt say.)
Monday, November 20, 2006
Nearly two years ago it looked as though his luck had finally changed. He nearly died from a particularly bad asthma attack which was or was not lucky depending on your point of view I suppose, but whilst recovering in intensive care he fell in love with a nurse on that ward, and she felt the same way about him.
She moved in with him and he was a man transformed by the love of a good woman and she really is a good woman. She is South African and was working here sending money home to support her family. Last Christmas though my friend's luck seemed to revert to normal and she had to move away as her work permit would no longer allow her to work in our local hospital. I guess I should have sensed something was a miss at that point but maybe I chose not to think too deeply about it.
My friend was distraught by the gap she left in his life. He had no money or means of transport to get to see her due to the distance she had moved, but some six, seven months later he rang me up and asked if I could take him to meet her at the railway station. She was coming back to him.
Being there to see their joy when they met again was a privilege. They were just so happy to be with each other again. All was right in the world.
Or at least it was until the police came and arrested her at 2.00 am a few weeks ago. We couldn't find out what the hell was going on. My friend's house was searched form top to bottom. Stupid rumours circulated eg she was drug pusher. She was held in custody and my friend was denied any contact with her.
So we now know what her heinous crime was and the punishment she has been given for it. She took a felt tip pen and tried to make the '6' in the year '2006' look like a '9' on the work permit in her passport. In fact she was planning to go back in February next year anyway as she missed her daughter so much but she wanted to see this year out with the man she loved. As the report of her trial last Friday says - she showed no one this alteration,and if she ever had it would have been blindingly obvious it had been clumsily altered so no advantage could ever have come from it. She made no financial gain by means of it as no one had asked to check she was still legally entitled to work here. Her lawyer is quoted as saying"In my opinion this is at the absolute lowest end of the scale. The passport has never been used and no gain has come from it."
For this dreadful crime which fully deserved the house raid in the middle of the night I am sure...you can't be too careful with these evil middle aged nurses after all...she will be in prison for 40 days and will then be deported. The only good thing I can see in all of this is that the money she would have had to spend on her fare home next February can now go towards her family who she was only here in the first place to look after as I suppose the Home Office will pay for her deportation. Not that I could say that to my friend who tonight is more upset than I have ever seen any man before.
Modern apologists of Islam try to downplay the evident materialism and sexual implications of such descriptions, but, as the Encyclopaedia of Islam says, even orthodox Muslim theologians such as al Ghazali (died 1111 CE) and Al-Ash'ari (died 935 CE) have "admitted sensual pleasures into paradise". The sensual pleasures are graphically elaborated by Al-Suyuti (died 1505 ), Koranic commentator and polymath. He wrote: "Each time we sleep with a houri we find her virgin*. Besides, the penis of the Elected never softens. The erection is eternal; the sensation that you feel each time you make love is utterly delicious and out of this world and were you to experience it in this world you would faint. Each chosen one [ie Muslim] will marry seventy [sic]** houris, besides the women he married on earth, and all will have appetising vaginas."
*So that's how it's done! Excellent - virginity saved by a miracle...lots of times!!
**Definitely 72 virgins - I double checked that bit.
So now I am slightly (ONLY slightly mind) concerned for the martyrs. They have to cope with an eternal erection! Surely there must be moments in Paradise when a hard on would be both inappropriate not to mention down right embarrassing?
One more thing occurs to me. What is the incentive for the female martyr? Personally speaking I wouldn't want my reward in Paradise to be a series of encounters with 72 fumbling virgins but I guess it might be a bit tricky admitting lots of blokes with loads of sexual experience into Paradise - especially as they would be so tempting to all those virgins up there. What would the martyrs say if after all their sacrifice to get to Paradise in the first place the sexual studs had already deflowered the virgins?
This is all far too complicated for me. Thank god or whoever else it is one should thank that I don't have any after life to believe in.
I am going to label this post 'eternal erections' just to see how many google hits result from that.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Teenagers snogging, grannies doing The Macarena., blokes up on the floor giving it all they have got to 'Hi Ho Silver Lining,' and the drunken lass sitting outside on the door step sobbing her heart out cos Darren has dumped her for 'That cow Rebecca Horton-James.'
I couldn't relax because I was wearing a M&S dress which having featured recently in a poster campaign for that shop has, as I read the other week on the front page of The London Evening Standard, single handedly turned round the ailing fortunes of that company because so many of us bought that dress. I was expecting at least half a dozen other women to turn up wearing the exact same dress. No one else did thank god, but now I am worried that every other woman was looking at me and saying to each other 'How very last month that dress is that she is wearing.'
That angst apart, we had a laugh.
"If Wigan win here today they will go above Liverpool and Reading in the table."
That is SO weird in respect of all three named teams.
Friday, November 17, 2006
For the past few weeks she has been involved with other pupils at the school in a project aimed at stretching students identified as 'Gifted and Talented'. It was based around a fictional hit and run incident and basically the drama group gave us the suspects and their various alibi's, the English group gave us the media reports on the crime, the design and technology did IT displays whilst the humanities discussed issues relating to crime and punishment and the science gave us the forensic evidence. What I had not realised was that we parents were supposed to solve the crime and therefore had t0 stay awake and involved. We were taken around to meet with the various subject groups and so far from having the sneaky snooze I had been anticipating I instead found myself engaging in a discussion on the death penalty with a group of 12 year olds*, and conducting scientific experiments to discover whether certain material strands left at the scene of the crime were made of cotton, silk or were man made with the aim of uncovering the culprit. I had forgotten what great fun Bunsen burners are!
So who was responsible for the hit and run crime?
Was it the unlicensed hoodie wearing guy in his early 20's?
Was it the drunken single mother?
Was it the stressed out distracted wife of the rich man who was cheating on her?
Or was it the respectable business man?
Well we were also encouraged to think about whether we stereotype criminals and of course I was guilty of that from the off. I KNEW it was the 'respectable' business man and I was right! I mean - how many respectable business men are there??? Yes, I love a good stereotype me (see previous comments on public school oiks below).
So anyway, what I learnt about my own daughter was that she can actually speak nicely. This comes as quite a shock to me who expends much wasted breath in trying to get her to drop the 'Estuary English' accent. For her part she had made a radio news show and she was the lead presenter. She sounded beautiful - she pronounced her 'T's and everything.!!!!!! Now my challenge is to persuade her to speak that way at home. Why do I feel so pessimistic about my chances?
* They were all for it of course....
I despair of the English Education system.**
** Just Joking.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
As with so much in my life I have been deluding myself.
Side by side in Tescos tonight - Broccoli and Value Broccoli.
Broccoli 50 pence per kilo, 22 pence a pound.
Value Broccoli £1.49 per kilo, 68pence per pound..."We won't be beaten on VALUE". (Except obviously by themselves).
And no, the broccoli wasn't on special offer.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I have lived in this village for 16 years but my connections with it go back to 1983 when my mum and dad took over one of the two village pubs. It is a very pretty village and since I have been here house prices have risen until I understand that this is one of the most expensive villages in the county to buy in. What feels like another life time ago I had a mortgage on a house here but nasty things happened and I now rent from the local landowner, who owns much of the property round here. At first I thought when things got better I would be able to buy again locally but I have long since accepted that that is never going to happen. Obviously I am not the only person who can not afford to buy a place in this village. The young people are forced out to cheaper accommodation in the local towns. Most of the council housing is now privately owned so that option that was once available has gone. New faces move in.
Now I know that there are still in existence the attitude that you will be an 'in-comer' unless you Can prove your family links going back six generations but I don't think like that. Friendly neighbours are welcome here as far as I am concerned. What I don't like is those that move in and then contribute nothing to the local economy or community.
Taking the local school first as I really believe that without a village school a village to all extents and purposes dies. Mr Duff has asked me with reference to my previous post how I know it is an excellent school. Apparently he can not accept that my three children having attended it and me being a governor for 9 years is sufficient to give me the knowledge to state it is an excellent school. Neither is the report from OFSTED which calls us an outstanding school good enough for him so knowing I am wasting my time praising it I will however say that the children all exceed their academic potential at our school. Behaviour is excellent. There is a caring ethos. The curriculum is broad and challenging, for example all pupils learn Spanish and those over 8 do French as well. The school plays are tremendous and include parts for every child from 4-11- they did a production of Macbeth the last year my daughter was there. We contribute to the village - for example by an annual litter pick and an annual candle lit carol singing procession. We won the prize for the best primary school library in the county last academic year. We have awards for sport, have won prizes for our art and poetry and offer after school clubs to cover a wide range of interests. We are used by the County Council as an example of what small schools can achieve. And so on and so on but all this is achieved for a school with 3 classes and currently 67 pupils. We NEED every child in the village to attend the school but of course they do not and without fail it is those who move in to the village from places like London who send their kids to the private schools. I can not accept that any private school can do a better job of educating primary age children than we do.
Then this is the question of the local pubs - hub of the local community no longer. My parents pub was like the bar in Cheers - everyone knew your name. They were there for 15 years. Anyone could walk into the pub then and know they would get a warm and genuine welcome. They would be looked after. Chips or sandwiches would be handed round at no extra charge. Money was raised in the pub for various local good causes. Now however the various landlords who have come and gone - five sets now in 7 years - have been only interested in serving food. Beer drinkers were made unwelcome and got out of the habit of using the pub. Raffles which raised money for local charities were halted. It was the same story at the other village pub. On the rare occasions I go in them now I have the weird experience of knowing no one either side of the bar. The village can not support two pubs which rely solely on food so the various passing landlords move on. Don't they have any understanding that actually it makes good business sense to look after the locals? Apparently not. Some of those newer residents incidentally have never been spotted in the village pubs or in any of the village shops.
We have a very active social side of village life here. Events include a Country Fair, a village quiz league, shrove tuesday events, firework displays, mums and tots, youth club, wine tasting, a village weekend of fund raising events, an annual plastic duck race (don't ask!) and much much more. Again, some of the newer residents are never seen at any of these. Their contribution to the life of the place where they live is a big fat zero.
I honestly think I wouldn't have especially cared what these newer residents did were it not for something that happened last year. There was a proposal to build some housing association properties here to give some local people the opportunity to remain in the village. There was a public planning meeting and it was very well attended indeed. It was in fact well attended by people I had never set eyes on before. They turned out to be in professions like the law and surveying. They were very articulate. And they were very very opposed to anything that would alter the nature of the village in which they live but to which they contribute nothing. The proposal faced with such opposition from these articulate professional people was thrown out. They finally did their 'bit' for the village - and guess what? When they did their bit I hated them for it.
Monday, November 13, 2006
This friend of my neice's who is to go to private school is the son of an old friend of mine. We were mates when we were at university in Hull and we shared certain beliefs. I particularly remember that we just KNEW The Clash were the best band in the world ever, and that we just KNEW private schools should be abolished as they perpetuate the evil class system. What was it again that he used to really hate? Oh yes, it comes back to me - people who 'Sell out.'
This morning I find myself rather depressed and recalling the lyrics of 'Burning Sky' by The Jam - another band we were both really into - 'Ideals are fine when you are young and I must admit we had a laugh but that's all it was and ever will be.'.
Apparently on Friday this ex-mate of mine made £250,000 via some business he conducted on e-bay.
My sister did shame him into saying that he would much rather have sent his son to the local state school. He lives in Highgate - one of the most expensive areas in London - but wouldn't you know it, the school of his choice was unavailable (the only decent school in the Highgate area????) and it was either private school or a school in Tottenham so 'What can you do?' No, clearly it wouldn't do for his little Johnnie to attend a school with nasty working class kids.
Would I feel differently about this if it was my child faced with attending a school with a really bad reputation, and if I had the financial means to pay private school fees? I HOPE I wouldn't but I don't suppose I could stake my life on it, but I do know that every time a family like that of my former friend chooses the private system instead of the state then another state school loses the chance of engaging with motivated and interested parents and kids to the detriment of that school. With that knowledge I would feel so very very guilty if I did ever find myself even flirting with the idea of private education for my children.
I think of myself as a tolerant person. Why, I even chat amiably with rival football supporters in the pub before games and have been known to congratulate them afterwards when their team has stuffed us (through gritted teeth mind). However, I have fallen out irreconcilably with people in this village who to me inexplicably do not send their precious darlings to our village school but send them to private schools instead. This choice made in the face of full knowledge that our village school is judged to be an outstanding school by OFSTED. In the community but not OF the community. Which brings me on to the subject of people who want to live in a beautiful village but who have no desire whatsoever to have to engage with their neighbours, but that is a rant for another day.
* From 'The Clampdown' - by The Clash. Wonder if he still listens to them?
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
It is so different I scared myself when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror ths morning (OK- not for the first time, but this fright was of the 'Who the Fuck is She?' variety rather than the 'Oh my god, I look bloody awful in the morning' type of fright which is pretty much a daily type fright).
Going to work with a different look is a strange experience. You feel hopelessly self - conscious. Other people react in diverse ways. Some colleagues will not notice full stop. They can spend many hours a day in your company and be perfectly unable to tell that anything different has occured whatsoever. Then you get the ones who know 'something' is different but take till about 2.30 in the afternoon to gently enquire 'Have you done something to your hair?' followed by 'I knew there was something different about you!' There is always one who will note correctly that you have done 'something' to your hair, and then decline to make any another comment at all so as to leave you convinced you look simply awful. And then thankfully there are the nice and observant ones to whom I am today extremely grateful.
By mentioning all this in some detail I hope that Reidski will be sufficently alerted to the fact that I have done 'something' to my hair and to at least pretend to like it.
It was all arranged. BT would send the items to my work address between 8 and 1.00 today. My phone calls commenced at 2.00. I would not have been quite so anxious to find out what the hell had happened to the delivery were it not for firstly, the fact that all three companies kept telling me my delivery had been made, and secondly, the very closely related fact that I knew it had NOT been made.
So obviously I split my sides laughing when on arrival at home (the place where the delivery was NOT to be made to) I find that in fact home was exactly where it had been delivered too. You would maybe imagine ONE person I spoke to would have been able to tell me where they had made the delivery too - but no. They plead 'data protection.' It's my bloody data for god's sake!
No matter! Not only were the parts delivered but I - Miss Completely and Utterly Hopeless in All Technical Matters - have got it working. I would be so happy if only I could be sure Reidski is going to like my hair..........
No, for the current lack of internet access I either blame my son for tripping over the wire and breaking the modem, or I blame myself for knowing fully well that was an accident that was always going to happen if I didn’t replace the trailing wire with a wireless connection….and so it came to pass on Monday morning.
So now I await the arrival of my wireless connection, and surprise, surprise, it hasn’t arrived when it should have done. Mind you, Reidski has been waiting for his modem to arrive for over three weeks now so I can’t do the ‘Why does it only happen to me?’ bit. I have tried a wireless connection before. Mind you, I bought it in PC World* so why did I imagine for one moment that I would be able to get the thing to work? Needless to say it had to go back for a refund.
I do hope to be back visiting you all soon.
* Excellent! Did manage to get in dig at PC World after all!
This message is brought to you care of Reidski Publishing as he can access the net from work. I can only do so for really important things – football message boards, What’s On in Northampton (one of the smaller web sites in existence), and my most favourite and useful website The Betterware Catalogue
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Although we aren't picking up the points we should be getting I am really enjoying the football so far this season. Only anyone who has had to suffer what 'football' is like in the lowest leagues can really understand what I mean when I say it is such a pleasure to see the ball actually being moved around the pitch with a modicum of skill rather than the hoof and hope of most lower league sides. The football played in League 1 is just SO much better than that in League 2. Last season teams came to us and as we were favourites for promotion came just to defend. They would basically put ten men behind the ball and it made for really boring / terrible games. The only way to get the ball past the solid mass of opposition players was then to resort to the same tactics they employed and try to kick the ball over all of them in the vain hope that our 5 foot 8 inch striker could out jump their 6 foot 6 inch defender and nick a goal. Now we obviously are NOT promotion favourites the games are much more open and good to watch.
An old cliche employed by Sky commentators when at a League 1 match is the line about 'What a great advert for League 1 football'. I could say that about nearly all the matches I have seen so far this season. As Reidski mentioned here recently, the Premiership is dull and defensive. League 2 is rubbish. I can't comment on the Conference as I have no idea how bad/good that is, but it seems to me if you want to see a good football match either the Championship or League 1 are the leagues to watch. Which may be some consolation to supporters of sides currently struggling in the Premiership - but probably not a lot!
2) I will never forget when an idiot called Jerry Wiggins put some in my hair.
3) I have spent much of this weekend trying to remove chewing gum from my son's school trousers as he managed to sit on some. Bizarrely I even resorted to putting the trousers in the freezer for a few hours this morning having been told this sometimes helps - though how anyone came to discover such a fact in the first place I really can't imagine. Not that it has helped me of course.
Any chewing gum removal tips will be gratefully received.
Friday, November 03, 2006