tales of the unrespected

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Do you remember… the 21st night of september?

talisker-18-g.jpgJoint Birthday

The month started with a fine joint birthday celebration for myself and good friend John Matthews. Some friends showed up to help us take it on home and we even wore crowns to mark the occasion. I favoured mine at a rather jaunty angle ( a bit pal joey ). I treated myself to a bottle of my favourite single malt ( talisker ) and we sat up till the small hours and made a good dint in the bottle. When john fell over in the back yard at about 3 am we decided it was time to call it a night.  

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Dukes of Ale off Roader

To our dismay it was announced at the August ‘heritage pub walk’ that the next tour was not until November. Rather than mis out on the monthly meeting of the ‘Dukes of Ale’ we decided to go ‘off road’ on our own. Tim stepped up to the helm and proved to be an admirable guide with his tour of Salford pubs. He even provided prizes and everyone went home a winner, my own prize being a copy of the book that inspired the film SHAFT by Ernest Tidyman which is proving to make great throne reading.

We ended up in the Kings Arms where there was play about Nico being performed.

 

As the crowd poured out into the beer garden their were plenty of familiar faces to be seen (e.g. Johnny Moran was playing John Cale). Although the mood was jubilant and the bar staff offered to arrange for curry to be delivered we tore ourselves away and ended the night back at the Great Katmandu on Burton Road..

 

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Hernia

Some worrying chest pains (that I have had for a while) prompted me to phone the docs for a check over. After describing the symptoms over the phone I was instructed to leave work IMMEDIATLEY  and get a taxi to A & E.

Upon arrival I was whisked to the front of  the queue much to the dismay of the drunken scroats waiting to have their fighting wounds tended to.

In the 2 hours that I was there I had blood tests, chest x rays, heart monitored, pulse etc.

So  was relieved to receive the end diagnoses of a hiatus hernia!

 
It’s basically a hernia in your chest. Readers will be relieved to hear im sure that it aint really very serious at all and can be treated with tablets. As a personal challenge I have decided to see just how much I can milk it, and have already managed to persuade one kindly work colleague to come and move my bin a bit closer so I could reach it without straining and bring me cups of coffee from the machine.

Odds  & Sods 

The film club blog has now moved – if interested to see what we have been watching visit

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/reko02/Synw/

 

Real shortage of links to include in this months odds and sods but thought i would include one of my favourite Derek Acorah clips.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ODLeyqmAzE

 

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November 3, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August or Bust !

We started the month with Susans birthday – and an absence of babysitters restricted us to a gathering of clans round at our house. The usual crowd stepped up to the mark and we sat up till the smalls generally getting messy.

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Livin the ‘ighlife in Lan-dan

Wiv’ the bin lid spending the weekend at me ma an pas’ me and the trouble and strife decided to catch ourselves a slice of I’ society down in old landan town !

We booked ourselves a room with a four poster bed and champagne on ice at ‘the rookery’ in clerkenwell and set off for our weekend of general excessiveness.

From the web site it looked amazing. http://www.rookeryhotel.com/rok_index.html

The New York times are quoted as saying

‘this place is straight out of a James Bond movie ! the perfect place for meeting a spy or bedding an somnolent mistress’

I had to look up the word somnolent and was disappointed to discover that it just means ‘sleepy’. Also not sure what bond films they get over in America but essentially it was a normal B&B type room except crammed full of antique furniture or furniture that is supposed to look antique ( example mahogany effect tissue box, gold filigree waste paper bin, some random old books ). Don’t get me wrong, we had a blast, though regency style crushed velvet drapes’ with gold tassels don’t really look right over UPVC windows.

 

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Roof

What started with a call to replace a length of guttering quickly cascaded into the entire roof needing to be replaced (not to mention the repointing!).

3 quotes and a re shuffle of finances later, saw the house enclosed in scaffolding rising up from a sea of broken slates. It was quite nice having a make shift balcony outside the bedroom window onto which I could easily climb out and enjoy a morning cup of coffee. I felt it would have been nice to keep it as a permanent fixture – perhaps decorated with some of those small triangular flags that you get on ships, but Susan felt that some of our neighbours may object!

It was a costly do as these things are – but good to have it done and we felt quietly smug during the torrential downpours that filled the majority of the month.

 

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The Living Room

Stuck for ideas on where to take Lydia during one particularly rainy weekend I read about an installation ‘aimed at children’ in the Whitworth art gallery called the ‘living room.’

 

It sounded promising boasting cushions that breathed and furniture that moved around the room on its own. The fact that it was free clinched the deal and as we set off one rainy Sunday, feeling what fine parents we were to be taking our 2 year old daughter on such a cultural outing.

It was more David Lynch film set than the wacky warehouse I had anticipated and as Lydia peered through the head sized holes cut out the walls I was transported back to the trauma and horror that I too had experienced when forced to attend strange independent theatre productions by well meaning parents.

After about 20 seconds of staring into the dimly lit 30s style room with crackling war time radio broadcasts and a cupboard violently shaking of its own accord like poltergeist Lydia decided ‘I don’t like this room’. We had to agree and that night we booked tickets for the cbeebies tour – which we probably should have done in the first place.

 

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RIP Tony Wilson

 

Whilst in London we read the sad news about the passing of Mr. Manchester- Tony Wilson. Love him or Loath him, the man put Manchester on the map and we should all raise a toast for the fine legacy of the hacienda and factory records that he left behind him.

There have been several tributes shown and BBC 4 showed an excellent documentary about the history of factory records, but my favourite tribute came in the form of Tims Sheehan’s Top 10 where I feel he summed it up perfectly with the following few lines :

the guy was literally everywhere…holding court in The Hacienda…tripping out in the jungle on “Celebrity De-Tox”…but my favourite memory of him was at one of the many free-booze “In the City” launches. This one was at Gen X. The crowd was plastered on 6% Export Boddies, and I for one, had totally forgotten why I was there. After an hour or so the music stopped and a familiar voice boomed over the P.A. “Good evening Manchester…” …there followed a completely spontaneous cacophony of abuse – “Fuck off Wilson”… “Wanker”…hissing and booing…I looked over and he was smiling…I guess he realised it was just Mancunian affection

 

Street Party

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Tina Street turned 40 !

An occasion that simply could not go unmarked – and we joined her to celebrate at the chorlton irish club. There were no shortage of people wanting to make it special and friends rallied round to organise music, food and decorations for the venue. Special mention to John who works with Tina who produced 40 tina facts in the style of hacienda FAC poster pinned up like a treasue trail of information around the club.

 

A good night to celebrate the birthday of a true friend and one of my favourite people ever. Happy Birthday T

 

Odds & Sods

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=AW3MOSfosPI

Little guy doing some crazy robotmoves

Ronald Jenkees

 

 

 

 

November 1, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

July was Fly !!!

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Monkey Magic
We started the month with a group outing to the theatre to see Monkey – Journey to the West. For those of you who don’t know this is a stage version of the Chinese monkey legend which any ‘children of the 80s’ who are reading this blog will remember as the BBC2 series chronicling the adventures of Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy as they escort Tripitaka to the Holy Temple.

 

It’s the latest project by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett ( of Gorrillaz ) and the show combines chinese acrobats with animated sequences which I think you will agree sounds promising.

 

Unfortunately – we were disappointed. I have spoken to various other people (whose opinions I respect!) who completely disagreed but by the 5th scene me and Susan actually made a sly departure across the road to the corner house bar.

 

One by one our compares followed suit and the general consensus was a resounding Bollocks (with exception of Viv who really enjoyed it!)

 

It didn’t help that all the dialogue was in Mandarin Chinese, and from our lofty position on the upper circle you couldn’t read the subtitles that scrolled across and screen at the bottom of the stage.

 

The night however was not a complete loss as we returned to chez athe for a night of mayhem and music which continued till the small hours …

 

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Sadist Dentist

Shortly after the monkey trip I started to suffer with a reoccurring problem with my teeth.

It results in the nerves inside by teeth becoming inflamed and is easily up there in my list of most painful experiences. The level of pain is immense and the only relief is to fill your mouth with crushed ice to try and numb the affected teeth. My regular dentist (please refer to my February blog!) was away on holiday so I eventually managed to see emergency dentist after 72 hours of no sleep and far too many nuerofen plus.

 

There is only one word to describe this man – which im not going to write out of respect to the younger readies and ladies out there. I had written the history of the problem as I was finding it difficult to speak. Casting my notes aside he told me

 

‘I’m not going to read this..and im not going to help you – unless you can tell me what the problem is in a nice clear voice..’

 

After a few more minutes of being told off, patronized and generally treated like something he had stepped in I asked him ‘what the problem was’. Shortly after wards he decided he wasn’t going to treat me for fear of stressing the children waiting next door (the same children that were running round the waiting room throwing the receptionists pencils at each other patients).

 

As he instructed me to leave his surgery and shut the door behind me – insane thoughts flew threw my mind as I noticed the tray of dental tools on the trolley next to me. The thought of a police cell combined with immense tooth ache gave me the strength needed to turn round and leave (but not before asking for his business card in a most menacing manner). I have since opted for the ‘writing a letter of complaint route ‘(rather than posting turds through his letter box as some have suggested).

 

Redundancy update 

Those of you have been reading this blog since January may remember that I mentioned that there was a possibility that I would be made redundant at some point this year. In addition to this my final task would have been to make 9 other people redundant and it was not something that I was particularly looking forward to facing.

 

Anyway – since dropping this bomb early February I have heard nothing apart from snippets of information via the company grapevine and the rumors seemed to be saying that they had decided against this ‘for now’ as it would be too complicated to move my team to the proposed Morecambe site at this stage.

 

Whilst this is reassuring to hear it still leaves a sour taste that I have to rely on second and third hand information to ascertain whether I still in fact have a job.

 

Fired up by this and a slight hangover – my yearly appraisal resulted in me threatening that unless I get a substantial pay rise at the end of our financial year in October – I would be leaving – and taking my special powers elsewhere!

 

Subsequently I have created one of those ‘junction points’ in my life where things may turn out incredibly well – or not, and either in turn will ultimately affect other events (it’s all  …like a big jigsaw man …)

 

If it doesn’t then I have no choice except to honor my brave words and find something else. Ill keep yer posted!

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Anniversary

 The month finished with a high – as me and Susan celebrated our 15 year anniversary. That’s 15 years of being together as opposed to being married which is 8 years.

We tend to acknowledge this one more – on the premise that when we reach 25 years we may still be young enough to celebrate properly.

 

Tina kindly obliged with babysitting and we went for a meal at Albert’s Shed in castle field. Not been round that end of town for ages and it was beautiful on one of the few hot sunny evenings that we have had this month.

The food was ok but the wine, whisky and champagne was better, as was the company.

A drunken night reminded me that I love her more than I did yesterday – but not as much as I will tomorrow.

 

Odds & Sods

Thanks to Viv and Reko for providing me with this month’s odds and sods links

 

1: Viv sent me a great link to a site where you can upload your photo into a short animated action adventure. Some work better than others. Mine own was not particularly great as I feel I just have too unique and fair a face for the software to handle! We spent a day in work doing everyone – and it gets a bit flat after you have watched the same adventure 8 times – but its fun for a while

 

Anyways heres me:

http://actionhero.verizon.com/?play=d08372e6-c183-41e9-b44c-8e82924c128e 

 

 

And heres Susan’s

http://actionhero.verizon.com/?play=24ab8ce4-c9c5-4edb-804d-b5b0d84a1be4 

 

 

2: Some far out deep sea critters – loving, yet at the same time being disgusted by the blob fish..

 

http://www.who-sucks.com/animals/real-life-sea-monsters-24-bizarre-creatures-of-the-deep 

 
3: A nice game to fill an otherwise dull Monday morning at work.

 
http://www.gettheglass.com/   

August 17, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In Tune with June

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At the risk of sounding like an ‘old curmudgeon’ does anyone else feel overwhelmed with the new accessibility to music and other forms of media?

The guy across the road appeared at my door last week carrying his external hard drive full of music. He was keen to share and the in the spirit of being neighbourly I obliged by dragging yet more files full of MP3s onto my computer.

It may sound ungrateful – and its not that I didn’t appreciate the gesture – but I already felt that I was drowning in a sea of un listened music and the last thing I needed was yet more!


To a man who has always been passionate about both collecting and cataloguing music to be given over a 1000 tracks at once is the equivalent of blindfolding your cat and cutting off its whiskers. A feeling of panic and disorientation immediately descended and whilst its great to have 11 Ella Fitzgerald albums to listen to I feel that some of the ‘romance’ that I always associated with collecting music has certainly been lost.

I always enjoyed the ‘thrill of the hunt’ for those elusive part heard tracks. Every collector had their own personal holy grails and would get a rush of excitement when they spotted a box of albums in a dusty corner of a junk shop hoping that ‘this may be the one’ that would offer up the sought after fruit. In my collecting hey day I occasionally used to dream about discovering the ‘golden box’ of bargain albums that contained nothing but rare imports and original vinyl. Building up a decent collection was a definite commitment of both time and money, and not everyone could be bothered. Those that could, became the kings of the compilation tape and I have spent many a late night preparing mixes for parties, birthdays and girlfriends agonising over the play list and design for the inlay card.

For me the introduction of the MP3 has definitely killed the collector within me. I feed my old habit by still buying the odd piece of old vinyl but I look back on those halcyon days with a beaded tear welling up in the back of my eye.

Anyway enough of my Yakkin’ here’s my Hi lites and Lo lites for June

Sitting in The Sun

We started the month with a weekend at my folk’s house in Leeds. The weather was glorious and the garden looked beautiful – so we spent our time eating, drinking and talking whilst sat in deckchairs with a pile of newspapers and magazines soaking up those rays !

My dad had found an old barrel on a building site which he filled with water to make a mini paddling pool for Lydia. She spent hours sat in the tub with an old teapot and empty plastic milk bottle and could not have been happier. Watching her reminded me how top it is being a little kid when something so simple can keep you amused for hours.

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When im paintin’ windows

Much of the month has spent re painting the window frames at the front of our house this month – and every spare sunny evening ( which have been few and far between ) has seen me stood on my stepladders with either a scraper or a brush in my hand.

The unexpected benefit of all of my hard work is that all of sudden people who I have not exchanged a single word with during our 3 years of living here are regularly stopping as they pass the house to exchange a few pleasantries and offer words of encouragement such as:

‘getting there’…

‘you picked the weather for it’

‘It’s a big job but it will be worth it when it’s done’

‘Rather than you than me’

And of course the ever hilarious ‘ do you fancy coming round and doing mine next!’

The older male residents of the street now hold me with a new found respect. It may seem shallow to judge a person on how well they can sand down a window frame, but in the words of the late Mr Brown – it’s a mans world.. and such things are important.

If im completely honest, I get the impression that some the ‘warm reception’ that my efforts have received can be attributed to a collective feeling of relief from my neighbours that the scruffiest house on the block is finally getting a long overdue makeover. Whilst most would be too polite to admit this, I feel that the camp gentleman who lives 3 doors along speaks for everybody with jovial remarks such as ‘about bloody time..worst looking house on the road’ as he totters past walking his ornamental dog every evening.

In addition to my new found status of ‘upstanding resident’ its always good fun ‘people watching’ and I’ve noticed that some dealers have moved onto the next block. Don’t get me wrong.The dealing itself doesn’t actually bother me.In fact the presence of a few ‘resident dealers’ can often reduce the level of other criminal activity on a street. The thing that slightly irks me is that the fact that they are so bad at it – and are conducting the operations with all the subtleties of a hippo wearing a shell suit living in a lighthouse.

Walking out of your house every 5 minutes to meet a car with blacked out windows vibrating to a throbbing bass line, tends to stand out in middle class south Manchester and really its just a matter of time before the inevitable happens. Part of me has been tempted to approach them and say ‘come on lads..at least make a bloody effort..’ but I guess they need to learn their own lessons ! If they wish to remain undetected – I would suggest that the most ideal form of cover would be to paint their front windows – everybody loves a grafter!

Sisters United

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It’s a rare occasion that see’s Susan and her 2 sisters all together in the same room – but this month both Linda ( who resides in Spain ) and Viv ( who resides in London ) spent a fun filled weekend in Manchester chilling in da’ benfield ‘crib’.

Anyone who knows the ‘Dobson Sisters’ well – might describe them as ‘spirited’ and for those readers lucky enough to have known their mother they will know exactly from whence this ‘fiery streak’ appeared. Mix these personalities with a large amount of alcohol and 2 boxes of ‘celebrations’ and the result is a scene not dissimilar to a Mike Leigh television play.

The pendulum of emotion could swing from one extreme to the other within a matter of seconds. At points people were in tears, screaming at each other or shouting insults from various rooms – and within a matter of minutes the mood would have changed completely to everyone dancing in the kitchen and singing along to LAST NIGHT A DJ SAVED MY LIFE ( 7 or 8 times in a row ). I eventually escaped to the sanctuary of the bedroom leaving Viv sparked out on the settee under a pile of coats and Susan and Linda sat on the stairs with a bottle of wine and the last of the chocolates.

Ana & Johns

We finished the month with a fantastic night round at Ana & Johns in Edgley along with Tina and Dom.

John provided eats on a Mexican theme but neglected to advise us that there were in fact several courses. We should have realised – as John always cooks several courses, but rather stupidly we all ate too many tortillas and dips at the beginning so were too full to continue. An evening of trashed – ness ensued and Lydia slept away happily as we partied below.

The next day everyone else’s loss was our gain as we returned home laden with marinated uneaten chicken from the night before. It tasted particularly fine after a night of giddiness – thanks again folks.

Odds & Sods

Favourite YOUTUBE clips for the months are as follows:

1 : Indian ‘Bollywood’ version of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller video’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbvP7dT3Dx0

2 : WUTANG CLAN Vs The Simpson’s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC1QAT4rloY


3 : Lydia current faves our animated versions of 2 of her ( and just about everybodys ) favourite books by the genius that is Maurice Sendak.

A : Where the wild things roam

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDnwkUt2VrQ

B : Mickey in the night kitchen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPvSnvbPngU

Also check this out. Undoubtedly cheesy yet highly impressive:

http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2006/agt-quick-change-p1.php

Thanks sister sedge for this late addition :

As ever – there have been plenty of films watched at the SYNW club, details of which can be viewed at the following blog

 

http://synwfilmclub.blogspot.com/

seacrest OUT

July 6, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Going Nuts in May

 

May ..named after the Greek goddess of fertility Maia, traditionally seen as the start of spring when the flowers start to appear and you look round and think..’hey..it aint so bad round here after all !’

The month started with the arrival of Susan’s long awaited exam results and as you might have guessed from the fact that I am including this on my blog..she did rather well.

She passed with a distinction which is pretty dang fine and no less than she deserved after the arduous months of studying and revision that she put in.

Big shout to my missus..she aint just a pretty face..she’s ‘well brainy’ too !

A great start to a generally great month..please read the highlights below :

 

This is England

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Went to see ‘This is England’ at the corner house which, for those who don’t know – is a film based on the life of Shane Meadows (the director) who as a young lad (13 years old) falls in with the local gang of skinheads. Things take a turn for the grim when an older skinhead (combo) with racist tendencies is released from prison and divides the gang.

The film starts with some great laughs and a good helping of humour but then becomes quite raw towards the second half. A few people actually walked out the cinema, which surprised me – as if you choose to watch a film called ‘This is England’ about a gang of skinheads then I think you should expect it to be unpleasant in places.

Personally I enjoyed it immensely, mainly because it held an element of nostalgia and reminded me in parts of my own early teenage years. The clothes and music were spot on and it identifies the time when what essentially started an anti fascist scene was infiltrated by the NF who adopted the skinhead image as people generally found it to be intimidating and menacing. It was for exactly this reason that me and several of my mates hung up our parkas and Harrington’s not wishing to be wrongly associated with these idiots.

 

Viddy well my droogies….

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Keeping on the general ‘thugary theme’ I ended up re reading Anthony Burgess’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ on a train journey to Birmingham. This book ‘rocked my world’ at the tender age of 15 and I spent a great deal of time parading around in a bowler hat and single fake eyelash generally looking like a bit of a twat.

20 years on it still makes good reading though you will all be relieved to hear that I wasn’t tempted to don the ‘platties of my nadsat years’ again nadsat years’ again.

 

Dukes of Ale

 

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This months ‘historical pub walk’ covered the ‘Northern Quarter’ of town, the highlight of which was the dumpy yet charming ‘castle’ located on Oldham Street. We ended up going for a Chinese to soak up the beer at the ‘Glamorous Restaurant’ (also on Oldham Street) which is described as follows:

‘The Glamorous restaurant is certainly that – a combination of Hong Kong-style super-restaurant and glitzy Vegas casino’.

It fails to mention that the restaurant in located on the second level of a multi story carpark. We were treated to a magical view across the parking bays and appreciated the ‘little touches’ of huge paper lanterns hung above the disabled zone and the light from the neon palm tree dancing across the car bonnets like fireflies on a lake !

Surprisingly we didn’t spot ‘Brad and Angelina’ or any other glamorous people while we there – but that could have been down to the fact that it was a week night and it was nearly closing time.

The seemingly random photos of me and Big Athe ‘bending some bars’ and were actually taken whilst on the walk and generally give you a feel for the ‘jocular tone’of the night

 

London

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We spent a long weekend in London this month staying with Viv and Jason in colourful ‘Camden’. As always, our hosts did not fail to come up with the goods and there was certainly no sitting round wondering what to do next.

‘FAMILY’ was the theme of the weekend and on the first day we met up with Suzanne and Loymor and their lovely daughter Ria who is almost the same age as Lydia give or take a month or 2.

We visited an ‘Urban Farm’ in Kentish town and met up with Tracy, Duncan and there little lad Toby and had a fine afternoon checking out the sheep, cows, ducks and something that looked like a bit like a goat.

My country dwelling relatives would have been appaulled at our lack of knowledge as we strolled round dressed in thoroughly inappropriate footwear wrongly identifying the various types of live stock. The wife of the farmer had to step in at one point to help us identify the baby birds in a coup as ‘ducks’ slightly dismayed that we were wrongly informing our offspring that they were baby chickens. ( see picture above )

The next day we visited the Natural history Museum and checked out a pretty damn fine dinosaur exhibition complete with an animatronic T-REX which Lydia wasn’t over keen on. Please see below :

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In addition to providing our daughter with a fun filled weekend of stimulating activities – we also managed to consume a large amount of ale and do some shopping in Camden market too. Everyones a winner !

The Battle of Algiers

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Regular readers of this blog may be familiar with its sister site – the SYNW film club blog.

This month the film club ventured out of the safe confines of Rekos front room to see the ‘Battle of Algiers’ which is currently screening at the corner house.

It’s a film that until this point I was unfamiliar with but would now certainly rank it within my top 10 films ever ! High praise indeed.. Allow me to elaborate:

Made in 1966 it chronicles the period between 1954 – 1962 during the Algerian war of independence against French rule. I read a review which described it as

‘A film commissioned by the Algerian government that shows the Algerian revolution from both sides A surprisingly unbiased account of the bloodiest revolution in modern history which has once again become relevant. A look at war as a nasty thing that harms and sullies everyone who participates in it.’

This just about sums it up and was struck by how it managed to remain objective with no real heroes or villains, unlike the majority of other films in the ‘war’ genre.

Ennio Morricone composed the soundtrack and one of my learned film club colleagues advised me that he deliberately used the same music for both the French and Algerians but at a slightly different tempo in pursuit of this aim.

As you might imagine – there’s not many laughs to be had but then hey ‘war aint funny man’ and laughter is merely slaughter without the S !

There are some stunning visual moments and the soundtrack is superb.

Check out this trailer courtesy of our brethren at YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca3M2feqJk8

 

Other YouTube Clips

 

Sam ‘Mule’ Webster has been keeping me abreast of the various funnies on youtube and I look forward to starting each working day with the latest bizarre clip that he has sourced.

My favourites this month were :

Bobby Conn Video worth a look !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rm9dzLxLvxc

and this Turkish Superman clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9oI7Fd3Uec

Whiplash the cowboy Monkey

I used to roar with laughter at those adverts with the PG chimps which have now been taken off the air as some people felt they were cruel. Personally – I cannot think of a better way to earn a dollar than sitting round in adidas tracksuits wearing oversized glasses and drinking tea. I was thus delighted when Tina emailed me the following links to whiplash the dog riding cowboy monkey. A woman at work got particularly upset and described this as ‘sick’ but personally I think that you can tell from his little face that he’s having a ball… his threads are pretty natty too !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqUJCw79YQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYNoQZ5djUA&mode=related&search=

http://www.whiplashrides.com/

And last but by no means least check out chris rocks educational video on how not to get your ass kicked by the police !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcRisFC9ab4

 

June 5, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Pretty Lil’ April Showers !

April

 

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Greetings Blog fans…. and welcome to my online diary for the month of April. Some readers will by now im sure be asking ‘what’s with the bottle of washing up liquid?’

Last week i picked up this seemingly ordinary (yet quite expensive) bottle of fairy liquid from my local co op.

I was quite literally AMAZED when I returned home and noticed that the ‘flavor’ or scent of this particular bottle was ‘lime & lemon grass’!

To the younger visitors to this site (and I am sure there are thousands) this may not really seem like anything that unusual, but for a man like my self who can remember when there were only 3 televison channels, 4 flavors of crisps and ‘lemon scented’ fairy was considered to be something quite la de da – the concept of washing up liquid being scented with a ‘combination of flavours’ just serves as a stark reminder that the times …they are a changin’

It seems a great shame to waste it on washing plates and pans, and am considering keeping it in the bathroom to use as my ‘special bubble bath’ for when im going on a night out to give me and ‘exotic smell’. Plus it will make my skin really really soft like ‘mummy’s hands’ on the advert.

Anyway – enough of my yakkin’ this is April..read on !

 

Pub Walk

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In my youth I often scoffed at the idea of ‘being in a club’ seeing myself as too much of a ‘maverick’ to enter into anything that may require such a regular commitment on my part.

My philosophy was not too plan to far down the road if you couldn’t see what was round the corner and took pride in not knowing what I would be doing from one week to the next.

The Bob Dylan line from My back pages springs to mind –

Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now’.

and recent years find me as not just a member of several clubs – but an organiser also !

The young folk at work may scoff and snicker when they hear me arranging to meet friends at the weekly ‘film club’ or reviewing CDs for the ‘Vinyl Anoraks Circle’ but if truth be told I have now overcome the stigma that ‘clubs are nerdy’ and take pleasure in an ‘experience shared with other like minded individuals !

In this spirit – April saw the formation of yet another club – the Dukes of Ale.

Basically – on the first Thursday of each Month there is a tour run by the Manchester tourist information board of ‘historic pubs of Manchester’. You are taken round by a tour guide to a number of different drinking establishments where you enjoy a pint while he tells you about the history of either the pub or the area. To give you an idea – our favourite tale of the evening was about a champion ‘ratting’ dog called Teddy Wells who was a celebrity round the alehouses of Manchester in the late 1800s. He could often be seen wearing a special hat drinking beer out of a bowl stood on the top of the bar at various cities centre drinking establishments. He held the record for killing 30 rats in just 26.5 seconds which is pretty impressive when you do the maths.

Anyway – you get the idea. There is a different walk each month (east side, northern quarter etc) and we plan to do them all. Our group came last in the quiz (despite having OG the king of trivia) on our team which resulted in one of us having to pose for photos wearing a latex pigs head. I stepped into the breach as tempers were getting a little bit frayed and I could foresee a ‘situation’ arising with the other pub walkers. The night ended in a drunken Chinese banquet and a commitment from all in attendance to make this a regular event in our diaries.

Home Alone

The Month started with a rare weekend at home alone. Susan and Lydia were off visiting family in Edinburgh and so I spent a rare couple of days alone in my castle!

Somewhat predictably within 30 minutes of them leaving, every room in the house was a mess and I was no exception. There was a lot of drinking beer and listening to ‘rock music’ turned to number 11.

It almost seemed like my duty to spend the entire weekend drunk or drinking and if im completely honest by the second night I started to feel that I was merely going through the motions because that’s what you’re supposed to do when your spouse and child are away.

Sunday was entirely spent cleaning up after my weekend of excessiveness. The experience was a stark reminder that if I was not fortunate enough to be married to the lovely mrs b I would doubtless be an embarrassment and general disgrace to both myself and others who knew me.

Lydia‘s Birthday @ Blue Planet

 

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April the 18th marked Lydia’s 2nd birthday and the celebrations managed to spread them selves over the full week. She loved the playhouse (please see March blog) and generally relished the fuss and additional attention that she received. Viv arrived from London for the weekend and joined us on a family day to the blue planet at Ellesmere Port.

This is one of those places that I would never have thought to visit if I hadn’t become a father – but since going I have recommended it to plenty of parents and non parents alike!

The highlight of the day is certainly the ‘AQUA TUNNEL’ which is a glass tunnel through an enormous tank full of sharks, rays and other awesome looking fish. It was so good we had to go through it 3 times and on the attached photo you can see the general excitement and euphoria registered on the family benfields faces!

Other good parts included a giant fish – that in the wild jumps out the water and grabs monkeys out of low hanging branches. We wouldn’t have known this if it hadn’t been for dad who im ashamed to say was the one person in our group actually reading the labels on the tanks. It was a mean looking mother which almost seemed to swagger as it swam. I think it just gets fish cubes at the blue planet – as some of the young uns’ may find it a bit distressing to see it swimming round with a monkeys forearm hanging from its jaws.

Yellow Reunion

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Just to prove that my blog does not only include the yang side of life – I thought I would mention the yellow reunion on the 27th April which proved to be a thoroughly disappointing night.

For anyone who doesn’t know – yellow was a night that ran at the Boardwalk during those halcyon days of the late 80s early 90s. The reunion boasted an impressive line up of ‘old skool’ DJs ( Dave Haslem, Mike Shaft, Greg Wilson ) and I had been eagly anticipating the event all month. The night was being held at the Urbis Exhibition centre which seemed an unusual choice of venue for this type of event, but we remained open minded and excited about at the prospect of a night of good tunes and some familiar faces.

The night was marred by the following :

1 : NASTY BOUNCERS

I arrived at the venue sporting my new shirt and jeans to be greeted by an exceptionally meaty bouncer jabbing a porky sausage like finger in my face : ‘Its no smoking … and if we catch you smoking … we will KICK YOU OUT!’

I replied that this was no problem as I didn’t actually smoke. My cheery reply was met by a stoney face as he pointed me out to his collegue – a horrible little skinhead in a black trench coat who was then my shadow for the rest of the evening. Wherever I went – so did he. For a while it was amusing and I had some fun slowley reaching in my pocket in a menacing matter to pull out……. A HANKY / A PEN / A MURREY MINT ! but the novelty of this game soon wore thin and after about 20 minutes of him hanging round like a bad smell it just beacme irratating.

2 : ARRRRGGH THE LIGHTS THE LIGHTS

Being an exhibition centre ( as opposed to a club ) there were just far too many lights on to create any type of atmosphere at all. Call me old fashioned but its not really right when you can look all the way across the room and see what colour nail varnish the barmaid is wearing. Like it wasn’t light enough already they had also hung a disco ball from the ceiling which generally added to the wedding reception type vibe.

3 : WATER… I NEED WATER

Consider the following equation :

650 thirsty clubbers X 1 trestle table / 2 bar staff = a fucking nightmare

I have literally been served quicker at Glastonbury which is saying something – we all tried.. we all failed. After 45 minutes trying to reach the bar I realised that I was actually moving backwards and not forwards. By this point everyone was suffering from ‘feather mouth’. There was not even any cold water in the toilets and after an hour and half of not being able to get a drink the general concensus was to abort mission and return to base camp ( Tinas )

Don’t get me wrong – we had a great time back at Tinas, we always do – but as someone who now, due to the commitments of work and newly found parenthood does not often frequent the night clubs of our fine city I felt pretty deflated and gutted that the event had been a wash out. It’s a big big shame as the tunes sounded great and we left to the strains of HOLY GHOST by the BARKAYS which goes down as one of my all time favourite funk tunes EVER !!


May 10, 2007 Posted by | Monthly Retrospective, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

March…… came and went

March

The close of march saw the completion of the first quarter of the 2007 – and with the start of April we move into the first third. Now that I have dazzled you all with my incredible knowledge of fractions – may I take this opportunity to welcome you all to this rather late posting.

As you will see if you bother to read past this point – not much of note has happened this month, but as always, I have managed to spread ‘not much’ into a thin sticky layer covering almost 2 pages.

Susan’s Exam

The 16th March saw the completion of Susan’s exam in ‘compliance law’ which she has been studying towards for what seems like months. Viv was up from London and Big Athe joined us for a celebratory meal of Champagne and fish pie. A generally hedonistic evening followed. Revision for this exam had very much dominated the first couple of months of the year so it was a big relief to us all to ‘put it to bed’ and be able to move onto more enjoyable times.

Cotique

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Buses ! You can be waiting for hours and then 2 come along at once. Im sure we all know that old chestnut – and the same can be said of Rare Latin Boogaloo albums it would seem !

For a couple of years I have been searching for a particular collection of songs issued on the COTIQUE label and tend to have a look on ebay every few days to see if a copy has appeared. This month lo and behold – not one but two copies appeared in the same week and I was pleased to secure a copy for the bargain price of £20.00 including shipping from the US. For those of you who have not come across COTIQUE before – its a classic label for early latin stuff, like stax is to soul, and this particular album which was brought out in the early 60s was sponsored by HI C FRUIT DRINKS.

The sleeve notes read as follows : Latin Music is a good to the ear as HI-C is to the taste, and in this album, the makers of HI C bring you Latin Sounds that will not only delight your ears but set your feet dancing and your soul singing !

Last year I located a copy of the much sought after vinyl for £120.00 from a private seller. I actually tried to buy it but it all went a bit pear shaped so was particularly overjoyed with this bargain purchase. For those readers who are members of the VAC – I suspect that this will form part of my next VAC PAC. Be excited …be very excited!

 

Lydia‘s Playhouse

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Much of our spare time this month has been spent working on the playhouse, built with invaluable help from Big Athe for Lydia.

Big Athe entered into the spirit of the project wholeheartedly and apart from providing much of the wood and helping assemble the ‘main fame’ also managed to produce some laminate flooring and a curtain pole from his hoard of ‘useful odds and sods’ in his garage.

Like all true DIY projects none of the screws match, and gaps have been patched with liberal amounts of polyfiller and mastic where the wood does not meet the wall properly.

Despite this – the end result has proved impressive and if we end up short of money due to the redundancy situation at work I shall be renting it out to students during the summer months. Its actually turned into one of the nicest rooms in the house so will be a nice place to stomp off to if I have a domestic with Susan. ‘Im going to sleep in the Wendy house’ !


May Broda

April saw the arrival of another addition to the Broda clan. Not sure of the weight, length etc but it was by all accounts a quick delivery and im glad to report that she is healthy and seems to be doing all the things that babies generally do. Those of you who know Andy and Karen will be aware that this is their second child and so are subsequently handling the new arrival like a pair of ‘seasoned pro’s’. We were amazed to be invited to a BBQ last weekend and im impressed with anyone who can find the time to grill up a batch of ribs with a baby less than 1 month old on the scene.

Virginia Woolfe

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We finished the month with an evening of culture at the Royal Exchange where we went to see a production of ‘who’s afraid of Virginia Woolfe’. This uncharacteristic dip into the waters of theatre was prompted by an unexpected offer of babysitting from my mum and dad.

Rather than opt for our usual choice of meal and drinking we decided to try something different and turned to ‘City Life’ to see what delights our home city had to offer.

The choice was fairly limited and it basically boiled down to either the ‘sugar babes’ at the MEN arena or a play at the Royal Exchange. We opted for the latter and were pleased with our choice – despite the fact that the performance was a slightly uncomfortable 3 hours with only a 20 minute break for an overpriced drink at the bar.

2 of the cast had previously appeared in Coronation Street (much to the delight of me and Susan). I got the impression that we were perhaps the only audience members who knew this as they didn’t strike you as the ‘Cori crowd’, but it at least gave us some ammunition to stand with the rest of the lovies during the interval making insightful comments such as ..’mmm yes …good performance…. Much stronger than his role in coronation street as the car dealer….mmm he looks shorter than he did on the telly’

Question? Why can’t you buy snacks at the theatre? I am assuming that it is considered oafish and perhaps bad etiquette to be rustling during the performance. Even so- call me boorish but a bucket of popcorn and king sized fanta would have been nice. I shall pop a note in the Royal Exchange suggestions box next time im passing.

Odds & Sods

As always check out the films watched this month at my film club blog spot

http://synwfilmclub.blogspot.com

best film for me this month was probably pans labyrinth.

You Tube recommendations would be ‘dads dead’ which I warn you all is not for the faint hearted. Its pretty dark stuff but with some clever animation and use of images.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10J444vUnhg

Also – rediscovered one of my favourite music clips which is Iggy Pop performing ‘The Passenger’ live at the Manchester Apollo. Its starts with a wasted Iggy being helped to his feet by 2 of the road crew wearing a pair of leather strides with a horse’s tail attached to the back.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4hPnZUMBwA

Once on his feet – he delivers what I hope you will agree is a pretty damn fine performance. Check it out – even if Iggy aint usually your bag!


 

 

April 10, 2007 Posted by | Monthly Retrospective | Leave a comment

February …hmmmm

Greetings Blog friends. February is upon us! And already the thrills and spills of the festive period seem a million miles away. Whilst officially still classed as winter, flowers have started to appear in the front garden and there have even been a few days where it has felt too warm for a coat.

I can remember in my youth that the seasons seemed so much more defined. In winter it snowed, in spring the flowers appeared, in the summer it was hot, the autumn was brown. Now, doubtless due to the effects of global warming – everything seems to have blended into one – with a slight division between summer and winter that I anticipate will become increasingly blurred over the coming years.

My great gran – who was born and raised in the Devonshire countryside and knew the names of every flower, insect, bird and tree used to claim that things had never been the same since they put the first satellite into space. She said that since that event she had noticed small differences in the time of year that insects would appear or buds could be seen on branches. ‘You used to be able to set your watch to the pulse of the countryside’ she once told me but as the years had gone on the routine had been lost and the seasons had become increasingly varied and unpredictable.

Even in my own city dwelling lifetime, I can see the truth in her statement and often wonder what it will be like by the time my daughter reaches my age.

Anyway – after yet another un cheery start to my monthly blog – those interested please read on for the HI and LO lites of February!

Gym Tastic

This month I joined the gym at Stretford leisure centre with the intention of attending on the 3 mornings a week that Lydia goes to nursery (also at the leisure centre!)

It’s a typical south Manchester Gym mainly occupied by middle aged, middle class chubbies like myself who are trying to get in shape. There are a small minority of ‘gymtastic’ lads – who seem to spend a lot of time leaning on the equipment (wearing peculiar little weight lifting gloves and special t shirts with lots of breathable vents ) drinking ‘power-ade’ out of special bottles and looking scornfully at the rest of us puffing away on the rowing machines. You get the impression that at a harder ‘downtown’ gym they may not be ‘all that’ so have instead opted to hang out at the LIME fitness centre, where they stroll around nonchelantly so we can admire their lovely forms from afar !


Stuffed Animals

 

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We took Lydia for a visit to the natural history museum on oxford road where I have not been for years. It’s a fantastic building – and if you have never been its worth checking out. The Egyptology section is apparently the best one outside Cairo and is even more extensive that the one at the British Museum in London. Lydia’s favourite section was the stuffed animal’s hall as it was a good opportunity to stand about 2 foot away from a rearing tiger and stare into the jaws of a scraggy looking lion.

It struck me that it would be the ultimate place to hold a party – though I doubt that the council would entertain the idea. Nice thought though for incase I ever have an unexpected major windfall.

The Maverick Dentist

 

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Lost my first tooth this month which made me feel quite old. I now have a large ‘pirate style’ gap on one side of my mouth which still feels quite weird. I would describe my dentist as ‘NO FRILLS’, but what he lacks in bedside manner he more than makes up for with his prices. Having my tooth removed set me back £15 which compared to what you would pay at most dentists is an absolute steal!

He doesn’t really like to engage in small talk with the exception of 2 subjects:

1: NHS charges.

My dentist will proudly tell anyone who cares to listen that he is the last solely NHS funded dentist in Manchester. He doesn’t believe in taking on private patients or running expensive ‘la de da’ dental plans and so subsequently has remained in a fairly scruffy practice above a shop on Burton road. I admire a man who sticks to his principles and like to champion him as the Che Guevara of oral hygiene or ‘the maverick dentist’.

2: His Boat

The surgery has a nautical theme running throughout with a ‘yacht mobile’ hanging above the chair and various barometers, anchors and other boat related items hanging from the walls. For me, it makes the surgery feel quite homely. My granddad was ex navy, and also owned his own mackerel boat so my grans house was always filled with similar pictures and diagrams of knots etc.

Anyway – he pulled out my tooth and it was fxcking painful. ‘Will it bleed much?’ is asked him ‘ Naaah you’ll be fine’ he replied dismissively. I spent the rest of the day gobbing out mouthfuls of blood into the sink and munched my way through a full packet of nurofen.

I was hoping to keep the tooth and make something groovy out of it, but it unfortunately shattered into unattractive bloodied shards as he pulled it out with what felt like a pair of mole grips.

3: Album Covers

Found a shop that sells frames for album covers for £10 each so treated myself to 5 ( much to the objections of susan ). After 3 hours of deliberation over about 30 different covers I have finally chosen 5 that I felt deserved to be on the wall and I have to say they look fantastic. Susan is obviously ‘overjoyed’ to have yet more of my musical tastes dominating our wall space and we had a few words when I announced immediately that I could do with about 6 more frames to complete the collection. The frames are just the right size to lip over the frayed edges of the cover and it’s good to see some of these treasured items hanging in the hallway instead of hidden away on a shelf.

The albums that I have framed so far are:

Lee Perry: Flames of the Dragon

Ian Dury – New Boots and Panties (back cover)

Frank Zappa – Hot Rats

Scorchin’ Soul – Various Artists

Jimi Hendrix – Isle of Wight

4: A Rose in a Fisted Glove

Halfway through the month I was told that the company I work for are ‘considering’ re-locating the team that I manage to Morecambe. Although the term ‘redundant’ was nicely avoided, it was certainly looming like an unseen spectre throughout the conversation.

I was assured that ‘no decision had yet been reached’ and that before anything was decided they felt it was ‘important to speak to me to understand the working methods that I have set up’. ‘Sure’ they told me ‘it does mean that things will change – but we want you to be involved in that change!’

If I hold the babble fish up to my ear – the above management guff translates as this: ‘You and your team will be made redundant, but before that happens we would like your help in training up a new team to do your job’

Throughout the meeting (which lasted about 20 minutes) the head of human resources sat perched in the background. She had flown up from London especially for this ‘informal chat’ which due to her presence didn’t really feel all that informal.

The board director who has also flown in especially to speak to me (I feel so special!) chucked a few colourful ‘cuss words’ into the conversation and over laughed at all my jokes, like we were just a ‘pair of ol’ buddies…chewing the fat over a few beers’…

Just how dumb do they think I am ?

Slightly hung over from my film club the night before and stunned by this news, I took my medicine like a good boy. Trying to remain philosophical about this but it’s not great. Whilst I never wanted to be here for ever – to leave now doesn’t fit in with my own agenda.

After the meeting my manager cheerily quipped ‘ anyway – business as usual !’

Yeh right – if business as usual equates to surfing the internet and writing my blog then tally ho !

Came home feeling quite depressed – but was cheered up when Lydia presented me with a picture that she had done using her finger paints and a straw.

5 : Odds & Sods

1 : Several good films watched at film club this month. As ever – check out my recommendations at : http://synwfilmclub.blogspot.com

2 : Started plans with Big Athe on the ‘Best ever goddam playhouse in the world’ for Lydia. More to follow next month ( im sure you can hardly wait ! )

3 : Documentary of the month and possibly of the year was the fantastic ‘Alchemists of Sound’ on BBC2 about the BBC radio phonic workshop. If you didn’t see it – I would urge you to check it out. It’s available on YOUTUBE where someone has chopped it up into about 7 chunks. Just type in ‘Alchemists of Sound’ and you will see it there. Its absolutley essential viewing.

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4 : Another recommendation ( which is mentioned on the film club blog ) is BIG FUN IN BIG TOWN which is a dutch documentary from 1986 about the emerging HIPHOP scene in america. Even if hip hop aint your bag – its another must see as it just captures a slice of one of the most important things to happen in’youth culture’ ever. One for the blue peter time capsule ! check it out at www.vpro.nl

 

This link is to the production company that made the documentary. On the top right hand corner you will find a link to the documentary. The voice overs are all in dutch – but bear with it as the interviews are all in english ( or american ! )

 

 

February 27, 2007 Posted by | Monthly Retrospective | Leave a comment

January …..pah !

January Overview .. My least favourite month of the year. There is nothing more depressing than christmas decorations still hanging from the ceiling of an office after the festivities have passed and gone. Reminiscant of a seaside town on a winters day.

One of my work colleagues ‘Irene’ is ‘big on deccys’, and a great deal of time and effort is spent coordinating the ‘christmasifying’ of the office every year. Gold and green foil christmas trees hang at carefully spaced intervals between the ceiling tiles and the ‘piece de resistance’ is a 3ft fibre optic christmas tree which stands on a desk in the middle of the office.

The week preceding christmas, it all added to the general festive mood – but on the 2nd January 2007 they just remind me that on this day in 2006 , I resolved not to be sat in the same seat this time in 2007 looking at crap decorations…. and yet here I am !

The tinsel has fallen off the edge of my monitor and the cards now just looked cluttered on my desk. At least half of the cards are from people in the building who I don’t even know. Who the fuck is Julie and family ?

After a rather miserable start to this, the first of what I intend to be a monthly blog of 2007, I move swiftly on to some of the highlights ( and indeed lowlights ) of January.

JANUARY: HI & LO LITES

1: Passed my driving test (finally)

Yes – at the tender age of 35 I am pleased to report that after a couple of failed attempts (and much to the relief of Susan) I have finally passed my driving test. On the 09th of January (rather interestingly, the same day that Lee van Cleef was born) – I passed my driving test and decree that this day shall now be a national holiday from this day forth!

I am well pleased to have now ticked this task off my list of stuff to do. The stigma of being the oldest person in the test centre – and other candidates assuming that I was either an instructor or an examiner was starting to sting my pride.

I guess that the combination of ‘lazy and skint’ is the reason that I didn’t learn sooner and being a late learner, I think that I can say with all confidence that I will never be a ‘car bloke’.

Quite frankly, I find conversations about ‘how busy the m6 was this morning’ or anything to do with ‘engine sizes’ a bit of a turn off and am quite happy to stay that way.

I remember travelling to Leeds with one of the ‘sales team’ from work and being asked the question ‘if you had 20,000 to spend on a car, what would you buy? Even as a driver, my answer remains the same as it was then – ‘a blue one with a CD player’. May I say now to all who are reading this blog – that if I ever appear to becoming a car bore – please feel free to slap me.

After only driving for less than a month – it’s amazing how quickly I have descended into becoming overly irritated by other road users – even though it’s usually me at fault. Lydia is now at an age where she likes to repeat things that she hears and its just a matter of time before she comes out with ‘Fxcking flash BMW Bxstard’ or some other similarly colourful phrase !

2: Uncle Adrian’s Birthday – Texas Hold Em’ poker_texas_hold_em.jpg

The 21st of January was my Uncle Adrian’s birthday – and we marked the occasion with a night of Poker, cigars and plenty of fluids round at his house in Halifax. I have often played poker with friends though we have always played the 5 card ‘british’ variation which, unless there is money on the table (as opposed to matchsticks) can become a bit samey after a few hands.

On this occasion we played ‘Texas Hold Em’ which is discovered is a far better variation and makes the gambling aspect a lot more interesting. In addition, this is the version that cowboys used to play – and seeing that ( if im really honest ) this has always been much of the appeal of playing poker I was pleased to come away with a better understanding of the game as well as £7.00 profit and a substantial hang over.

Despite a few heated moments of people ‘debating’ the rules I am pleased to report that guns remained holstered and no blood was shed.

3: Mulesters 40th Birthday

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The end of the month saw the mulesters 40th birthday celebration in his home town of London.

I had already created a blog sub heading for the event under ‘highlights of the month’, as I felt sure it would not to disappoint. My instincts did not let me down, and it turned into a weekend of EPIC proportions as we celebrated his birthday eve, actual birthday and of course birthday boxing day ! He had hired ‘the medicine bar’ in old street as a venue then we all moved back to Viv and Jason’s to continue the celebrations till well into the next day.

Viv and Jodie had commerative badges produced (pictured) which were a nice touch and added to the generally ‘exclusive’ feel of the evening.

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The turn out was a testament to the mans popularity and it was great to see some really old friends as well as making some new ones. I always have a good time when I visit London – and although I love my town, im certainly not one of the grumpy old Northern curmudgeons who cannot appreciate the appeals of our capital city. I mainly have a good time because I know good people down there, so a big sloppy blog shout out to all my southern brethan !

Despite my respect for the warmer end of the country, it seems a crime not to poke a little bit of fun at their ‘London ways’ and comments such as ‘who wants a la mumba ?’ at 4:00 in the morning, are always received with great glee and stored for piss taking a later date !

4 : Lydia

OK.. I have resolved not to make my blog into a tribute to my child. Quite frankly it’s a bit self indulgent and before becoming a parent I used to be irritated by people who just went on about there kids ALL the bloody time.

Saying that.. she is a massive chunk of what’s going on and so to not attribute a few lines to her on this blog seems wrong.

If you’re not interested – please feel free to skip this part, but if you are here is a quick summary of Lydia age 21 months.

Speech : January has seen a massive increase in Lydia being able to join together 2 or 3 words into simple sentences and its amazing how well this allows her to communicate with others. Occasionally things are said with what seems to be deliberate ‘comic timing’ and I find it amazing how early in life we develop a sense of humour and are able to share a joke with others. My favourite line so far was during one of Vivs visits. She had made a jug of her (infamous) gravy using wine, onions, soy sauce etc. On tasting it, Lydia (who was expecting the usual Bisto reduced salt granules) turned to Viv and said ‘mmmm Nice Gravy!’ in recognition of her efforts.

Blagging : In conjunction with the increased vocabulary comes the idea that occasionally, to avoid a load of ear ache, it may be worth trying to stick the blame on someone else. This has been her new tact when Susan has caught her eating soil out of the plant pot. She has yet to learn that there are more convincing scape goats than her doll ‘Alice’ who she has regularly fingered as the perpetrator.

A weekend away : While her folks spent a gregarious and debauched weekend in London ( see Mulesters 40th Birthday ! ) Lydia spent her first full weekend away at her grandparent’s house in Leeds. Pleased to report that all went well and we were almost slightly disappointed to hear that she had not displayed any signs of missing us whatsoever!

She did however look well pleased to see us when we picked her up on the Monday, and was full of 3 worded tales from her couple of days at the other side of the Pennines.

4: Odds & Sods . . . .

Seen some great films this month, highlights certainly being SURVIVE STYLE + 5 & GRIZZLY MAN. which are both fantastic. Read more on these (and other films I have watched) at my film club blog.

http://SYNWfilmclub.blogspot.com/

Website of the month is Line Rider (a reko recommendation). Use the sketch pad to create a series of slopes and jumps for the animated tobogganist. Highly addictive, this game has passed many a bored hour in work. There are loads of different versions that contain a variety of features such as erasers and boost lines. Just do a google on LINE RIDER, but in case your too lazy here are a couple of versions to get you started :

http://www.official-linerider.com/play.html

http://beachlevel.com/line-rider-eraser-function-etc/

Congratulations to Fizz on her new job.. Birthday salutations to the mule on turning 40…. good luck to dave with his new top secret invention ….. thanks to viv and jason for their ‘ospitality …..good luck to jake & susan with their exam results ….love to everyone !

Thanks to all

January 12, 2007 Posted by | Monthly Retrospective | 2 Comments