Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Morals of Swapping Wives...

So Wife Swap returned to Channel 4 last night.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept it usually sees a Chav female swap homes and lives for 10 days with a middle-upper class female.

Typical features of an average show are the Upper Wife commenting on the scrounging, living-off-benefits-lifestyle of the Chav Wife. Chav Wife normally retaliates by commenting on how lazy Upper Wife is, how sheltered they are etc.

Last nights show seemed different. It did have the polar opposites present with Chav (Lucy) V Upper (Pat) but somehow it wasn’t quite what I expected. Normally the programme is edited so the Chav ends up being the one you frown upon. Last night I warmed to her.

She had a great bubbly personality. I did disagree with her attitude to swearing and smoking but it was the Upper wife who repulsed me. She had a strict punishment regime for her children (there was no talk of a reward scheme) and had a daily schedule which had to be strictly adhered to. What shocked me even more is that she tried to enforce her attitude on religion on her temporary home by having them pray every night. I’m all for the social experiment of swapping house rules but you should never, ever enforce your religious views on other people.

Chav wife pointed out that the kids didn’t have fun in the upper home. Where was the laughter? I also felt incredibly sorry for Chav wife. She admitted she wouldn’t know how to live without her husband. She has never caught a train and wouldn’t know how to. Part of the experiment showed her getting a job at a local gym - the transformation was unbelievable, she became a happy smiley enthusiastic person.

Of course you don’t know what the hidden agenda of the shows producers were. There could be hours of footage of the Upper wife being a fantastic fun loving mother and the Chav wife being an evil demon. Just once though I was glad to see a ‘wife’ whose rule in life was to have fun, no matter what her background.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

A Fine Day For A Ruby Wedding

Another Saturday, another gig. This week was a 40th Wedding Anniversary. A very gentle affair with the couple choosing to use the time to talk rather than party. I was ordered to keep the music as low as possible and stick to 60s/70s by the organiser. I didn’t mind this but it did lead to problems when the rest of the crowd were requesting chart!

The organisers were a lovely, lovely couple and it is amazing to see a wedding lasting 40 years in this day an age of Tesco Value divorces (I kid ye not – your own divorce kit now available here! Only £7.49 too!)

So a nice crowd but slightly lacking on the old atmosphere – 6/10

BIG BROTHER BIT – Wow, a new housemate – a false Italian one at that. Already Victor & Jay are looking mildly pissed off and could we see a bitch fight between the new Beckie and old Michelle. Exciting stuff. Oh and thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Vanessa is out and my sweepstake is safe for at least another 7 days!

Friday, June 25, 2004

We W-Urs Robbed!

My girlfriend and I had a gorgeous dinner last night then sat down to watch a DVD. Was a nice relaxing evening. It finished with about 20 minutes to kill before Big Brother so we switched BBC 1 on, just in time to see that disallowed goal.

I’m not bothered by football. I don’t really are about England’s progress but being English I suppose it would be nice for them to win. I don’t know much about football but I have to say even in my blinkered way that was a goal.

My jaw dropped as yet again England had to go to penalties. They always do. At world cup, or Euro level they always seem to get to the quarterfinals, score a goal in the first 5 minutes for it to be equalised and end up in a penalty shoot out. This always results in England losing and yet again they did last night. Except they didn’t because that was a goal.

Still there’s no point moaning about it now, it’s happened, it’s done with.

If only there was a way you could personally tell that stupid referee, Urs Meier, how you felt about his awful decision….

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Last weekend I was mostly DJing

DJ’s a pleasant gig last Saturday even though it was only to 20 people. It made a huge change. Despite the small number the bride had insisted she wanted a DJ. I grudgingly agreed although I dreaded the gig arriving.

It actually turned out to be a nice surprise. The group, including the Bride & Groom were really, really nice people. As there wasn’t a large crowd there wasn’t the pressure to get the room dancing that you normally get from gigs. This lead to a more relaxed affair and gave me chance to dig out stuff I hadn’t played for a while. The crowd did dance intermittently but at the end announced I hadn’t played a single bad record. Was good fun! 7/10

On a different note today I saw a car that didn’t have a St. George cross on it. A rare sight indeed.

BIG BROTHER BIT – it’s strange but since the big fight I’ve lost a bit of interest in BB5. Must try and catch up with the house events. Anyway don'’ forget evict Vanessa, oh come on, she’s not very nice. She leads Jay on then ignores him and she can be a bit bitchy. Also if Dan goes I lose a bet!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

A Journey To Oblivion

It was a gorgeous summers day yesterday so I decided not to waste it and voyaged 110 miles north to visit the even more gorgeous ancestral home of the Earl Of Stafford – now lying in ruins. Probably a good job it’s uninhabited as the neighbours – 5 world class roller-coasters and loads of fast spinning rides are a bit noisy.

Yep I decided to visit Alton Towers.

Secretly I’m a bit of a roller-coaster geek. I love them. I visit Alton Towers at least twice a year as well as a plethora of other theme parks. Yesterday was my second visit this year and my first chance to ride the new coaster – Spinball Whizzer. I can highly recommend it too. A bit of a queue but the ride is great fun, as was the refurbished Flume that now ensures all riders get wet thanks to the installation of power showers – something that’s desperately needed on the River Rapids which failed to wet anyone.

Sadly the visit was marred by a few Burberry wearing Chav queue-jumpers but we politely told them where to go.

A tip to add to you’re enjoyment of the Towers – visit their website and download the £10 entry voucher!

Also visit this site for an excellent look at the park and its history.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Music Be The Food Of... Well everything!

There’s nothing better in this world than music.

It has the power to unite the power to divide and the power stir memories.

No matter how awful you think a particular tracks is someone somewhere will love it – even list it as their favourite. Also there are some tracks that, the instant you hear them, you remember what you were doing while they were riding high in the charts. It’s is an instant connection to both your recent & distant past.

Many people are very narrow minded about their music. Once opinion is formed they stick to it rigidly. I’d hate to be like that. Personally so far The Streets have done nothing for me. I feel In The Jungle by Tight Fit has more musical ability than any of Skinner’s songs. This opinion is slowly being enlightened by listening to their current release, which is really growing on me.

Lately I’ve had a lot of requests for ‘Ska’ music while Disco requests seem to be diminishing. Is this as sign of the 70s & 80s nostalgia moving on? I like a bit of Madness and The Specials Ghost Town but have never really paid much attention to Ska.

As I’ve always maintained that I DJ because I like the music, not the money I felt I’d better start delving into Ska. There’s actually some good stuff to be found with Harry J & The All Starts Liquidator being high on my list. So many, many thanks to the 4 or so people that have asked for ska over my last few gigs – I will start experimenting with it – though don’t expect Donna Summer to disappear just yet!

Big Brother Bit: Isn’t this years just great? By far the best bro since BB 2. Ahmed slowly going mad, The whole Kitten thing and the Bedsit Babes! The bedsit doors are thrown open at 10pm tonight – can’t wait! Oh and by the way I have Dan in my works sweepstake - so please everyone vote Vanessa!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

It Doesn''t Add Up

So yesterday was spent sweating my tits off and retaking my Maths NVQ level 3 Key Skills test.

You may remember I took this test back in March – well, surprise surprise I failed so I spent Sunday evening revising percentages, fractions, long division, area etc.

Got to the test and felt I was doing very well until they pull a surprise trigonometry question out of the bag followed by a nasty cumulative frequency question.

Why Oh why do I have to do these ridiculous tests to prove I can make a good manager. Surely management is partly about delegation – if I can’t do something I get someone else to do it – preferably by hiring an accountant to do it all.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Retiring Early

I DJ’d a retirement party last night. Was really looking forward to it. There’s something about nice sunny days that makes me want to put some tunes on, relax and DJ. I also wanted to try and play a few different things, stuff I hadn’t before so I tried some Clash, Adam & The Ants and The Specials. I got the crowd dancing a lot earlier than usual trying out some Tamala Mowtown and Northern Sould and it was shaping up to be a good night except that only 25 people turned up.

That’s a great way of killing the atmosphere before the party has begun, it also shows a lack of respect for the person retiring. A shame too as the assembled crowd all seemed really nice. The lack of people meant that despite keeping them on the dancefloor the celebration seemed very flat thus I wasn’t surprised when people started to leave early. Kylie & Robbie went down as well as ever, as did a bit of Lulu. Still by 11.30 I was Djing to an empty room and an eager-to-head-home staff.

2/10 for effort but 5/10 for those that were determined to dance!

Friday, June 11, 2004

Flagging Again

So there’s St. George’s flags everywhere.

I’m a bit bitter about this. About 4 years ago I was in my first year at uni, sharing a gorgeous new hall with about 50 other students. We bonded quite well and decided to decorate the large front atrium to our modern block with a large St. George. The halls opposite followed suit with a large union flag. Another resident was half –Egyptian and loved the idea of being proud of your country and put up an Egyptian flag while our Norwegian residents proudly displayed their country’s flag. We were all quite proud – it was like a little global village in a quite corner of the Cotswolds.

That was until the accommodation officer of the university ordered us to take it down. His reason? It was inciting racism and making international students feel uneasy.

What?! Yep this narrow-minded soul felt that as the symbols of Great Britian had been adopted by the BNP that they now promoted them and not our country – with that attitude then the BNP have won. We were trying to display the flags for what they are – a proud symbol of our country.

Thankfully the international residents complained that it was unfair – they were allowed to display their flags why couldn’t we? Still the uni didn’t give in and the red & white came down.

Go to the US and you see the stars & stripes proudly aloft on every street corner. They love their flag and behaviour like that above would be frowned up on in the states. Admittedly I feel the current displays of St. George are for shallow reasons – a dumb football team rather than a true celebration like 60 years of D-Day but at least people are slowly waking up to what the symbolism is. We must reclaim our national flag from the narrow minded and the racist hooligans. If we keep flying the flag it will, once again, become a symbol of pride and a symbol of a Great Britain that welcomes all nationalities with open arms.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Make Your Vote Count

Don’t forget to use your vote today folks. I’ve never voted before. I was old enough at the last election but I was apathetic. To be honest until recently all the parties have been pretty dull and also all their manifestos have overlapped meaning that whoever is in would do the same thing. Now though the parties are staring to go their separate ways and politics is starting to get more interesting.

The dark prince could spice up the Tory party – although they seem to have been very quiet in the run up to today’s voting. Kennedy seems to have some health issues which means he could drop at anytime – could be a great sweepstake! Meanwhile Tony seems to be ageing before our eyes and the will he quit won’t he quit debate is almost up there with the will they - won’t they of Mulder & Scully in the X-Files.

Any way I’m off to look at the various parties websites to see who deserves my vote!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Flying The Flag

Poor St. George must be turning in his grave. Why oh why is his flag being used to celebrate the campaign of 11 brain-dead footballers in a dumb game?

The flag should be used for being proud of your country, proud of Britian and its achievements. I’m sorry but I don’t think the England football team are something to shout about. Their actions do not change the world, they do not effect life on a global scale. However decisions made by the Queen or Government do.

The Beagle2 Mars probe failed, but for a few days the whole country was behind it. If they had succeeded and made some great discoveries abut Mars then that’s when the flag should be flown. Likewise if we were out in Iraq genuinely fighting for a good cause to liberate the Iraqis then, again, the flag should be flown, though to be honest I feel Bush has other, genuine, reasons for invading Iraq.

This weekend should have acted as a vivid reminder as to why we should fly the flag. This weekend celebrated a genuine victory, not a shallow football campaign but a real life changing event the British were involved in. D-Day.

Men lost their lives to protect what they believe it. The worst footballers can do is break a nail or have their hair slightly ruffled. We should be forever thankful for what they did 60 years ago, that is why we should fly St. George with pride.

Monday, June 07, 2004

A game of boring halves

I’m making the most of this week. It will be the last week for over a month that I will be able to switch on the television without fear of boredom and a wave of insignificant statistics. You see I am one of a rare breed. I am one of a few males that fail to see the interest in the beautiful game. A game, to me, is all it is. Just 22 incredibly over paid and under-IQ’d running about kicking a ball around. That’s all it is. I don’t care who wins I don’t care about the ‘skill’ involved and I don’t care who the England captain is shagging.

Football is very over rated. I feel it’s wrong for the media to celebrate something that insights so much hatred and violence. There are real life changing events going on in the world at the moment why should the front pages be dominated by the progress of a game or what its players are doing now?

I’m a fan of Big Brother – but I even despise the way that grips the media. It is another ’game’ yet it still dominates the front pages of many news publications. Perhaps it is a product of our lives becoming trivial. Other countries would love to have their news made up of page 3 models, footballers and game shows instead they have civil unrest, religious uprisings and death. Personally though I would argue that they have got their priorities right…

Saturday, June 05, 2004

The Bowling Centre Survival Guide.

After 7 years of working in a bowling centre here is how to make sure you have a great time visiting one. Keep the staff happy and they’ll keep you happy!

Do not jokingly ask for a silly shoe size i.e. “Size 19 please.” You are not clever, you are not funny. You are not the first or last to say this. In fact desk staff at a bowling centre hear this remark about 4 times a day. Stop it!

Do not try 4 different size shoes before going back to the first size you tried. You are only wearing the shoes for an hour it really doesn’t matter if they are slightly too big. You are in a bowling centre not Clarks.

They are called LANES ok, LANES – got that? They are not rinks, courts, pitches and definitely not tables!!

No we don’t have any smaller balls. Lighter yes, smaller no.

Don’t bowl at the sweep. It can tear the shock absorbers and cause lots of problems.

It is called a SPARE ok – there is no such thing a ‘half-stike’

If you decide to walk down the lane (despite signs saying otherwise) don’t come crying to us when you slip, hurt yourself and get lane oil on your clothes funnily enough that is exactly why there are signs telling you not to walk down the lane.

On the bowling consoles there are big signs saying ‘sorry we are unable to take drinks orders, please visit the bar for service.’ So don’t come and complain to us that no one has come to you lane when you’ve pressed the ‘d’ button.

The lanes are not uneven – you are just crap.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Séance it isn’t so…

Ouija boards – something under no circumstance you are supposed to mess with. So egged on by Derren Brown’s live séance show I have just sat with some work mates and tried it out.

“Spirit, are you there?” We asked.

“s-o-r-r-y” was the reply spelt out.

“Do you like bowling?”


Slightly spooked we asked its name.


Right. Ok. Ummm “Spirit where are you from?”


“Are you evil?”


Great. The first time I have ever made contact with the sprit world and it’s dyslexic.