Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Steely Can

Took some time out from the miracles of public consultation to snap these pics of the steely city today. It's the words of Andrew Motion towering over the skyscrapers and marvellous modernisation going on near Sheffield Hallam, whereas the water walk from the station to the Showroom Cinema must look spectacular at night. Maybe Hull should do a similar thing by putting the words of Phillip Larkin on St Stephens, although The Whitsun Weddings might bum everyone out. Stick it on Orchard Park then. Also, shouldn't really mention water feature after the folly of the water structure known as Inglis's cock n'balls.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Touching distance

Watched the emotive documentary Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives last night - a weirder and more tricksier combination you could never hope to encounter. Alt rock met alt physics and quantum mechanics as E, singer in Eels, goes on an emotional journey to uncover his father, Hugh Everett III, and his parallel worlds theory. Splitting atoms, emotional distances, fractured personalities and off-key melodies of great wonder are all featured in this splendid film - it's on repeat on BBC 4 and is well worth the heavy subject matter. Makes me glad I was on nothing stronger than mussels in a Sicilian sauce, otherwise my head would have definitely gone all fuzzy with the quantum mechanics and emotional turbulence.

Friday, 25 January 2008

License to Drill

I've been a bad old blogger of late. Trying to get my head around the craziness of local government, interspersed with rediscovering old Bob Dylan (New Morning is just beautiful, plus the best song about chauvinism ever, The Man In Me), and orienting myself around Grimsby (am yet to find the posh bit), whilst interviewing John Shuttleworth and trawling through Creative Writing handouts and catflap implementation instructions (in some kind of Scandanavian language). Manic, then.
A mate of mine who has also been snaffled up by the crazy world of PR e-lamented me the other day. "What has happened to us??" he exclaimed, as I told him I was off to a 'stakeholder and public engagement' course in Sheffield. I've been having that internal conversation quite a bit of late. On an equalities and diversity (none of this lark in provincial journalism, I tell ya) seminar, I heard the phrases: "We'll have to drill up to the next level on that" and "grasp the nettle of public conception" without even an acknowledgement that that is, frankly, bobbins. Today, in further hi-jinks, I was taking photographs of dignitaries dwarfed by a giant organ (Grimsby Town Hall's brass one)
Reading: GB84 - David Peace; Saturday - Ian McEwan
Listening: LCD Soundsystem; Burial; Johnny Rivers (he of Secret Agent Man fame

Thursday, 17 January 2008

I'm not saying the local press is parochial...but

...check out how many references my old colleagues at the Skegness Standard -"Skeg Vegas" as it's known to locals - have managed to weave into their Ray Clemence story, republished in the Mirror today!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Hoffman vibes, chips and peroxide

I've started a new creative writing course. The last one in Hull was like a giant Relate meeting, with divorcees writing pieces like "Why???" and "Old". But this one, in the splendid atmosphere of Barton's Ropery (long and thin and full of ropes) looks promising. The tutor, Nick, has actually written stuff, for a start. Our first two-hour session involved writing a blurb for our proposed novel. Mine, printed below, contains usual Lozisms - chips, queues, pebble-dash and dashed dreams, beer mash and culture clash. Tell me though, would you read this book? If so, I'll have to go and write the blighter.

Pauline is the proud owner of a peroxide and a pebble-dash, and thinks she's got life all wrapped up. At least she has at Mr Fish, where she serves up her opinions and pensioner specials to regulars with more than chips on their shoulders. She spends her wages getting battered - it's the perfect life. But her world changes when her husband Glyn announces he wants a sex change and brings home his catch of the day, off the North Sea Ferries. Cultures clash over beer and mash, as Pauline forgets to mind her mushy peas in the chip shop queue. What happens when her life goes from the frying pan to the deep-fat fryer of broken dreams and cut-price desire?
Like, shite or trite? Let me know!
Listening: LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver

A Corus of disapproval

I have been spending a fair amount of time in Scunthorpe for work this week, meaning my car is covered in a grimey cobalt steel gunk which is impossible to remove. Scunny, as it's affectionately known, is perhaps the dirtiest place I've ever come across, maybe because it's got the Corus factory slap bang in its grimy, black heart. The journey I've been making from Scunthorpe to Grimsby, past the Scrap Metal signs and roadside cafe establishments like Pete's Cafe and Ian's Cafe, is hardly the Pacific Coast Highway or the Great Trunk Road. I cleaned me car at Morrison's and it was as black as damascus by Immingham. Ah well. Whilst in Scun I applied for a marriage licence for me and Dee, filling in the form presented to me by one of the most disagreeable receptionists I have come across. Filling in the form I could hear the unmistakeable sounds of someone being restrained. Not sure if that's a good backdrop for marriage licenses, but there you go. Next door is the Honest Lawyer pub, with the Gallows restaurant upstairs. Didn't look worthy of a return visit.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

FreeZ in the Hood

Me and Dee make our inaugural trip to the Isle of Axholme, so called because it is cut off by narrow streams and was trying to sound a bit exotic and islandtastic, for the 14th century-initiated Haxey Hood. We expected Wicker Man, with its promises of hood-tossing, fool-bating and Lord-rucking, but it seemed to be more wai-ay man, more WKD and white lightning than pagan and frightening. It was also exceptionally cold, as we hopped from foot to foot by a Mowbray Stone, waiting for a fool looking like a cut-price Funkadelic to proclaim his worth to the village while standing above some burning straw. Back in the 1920s, the fool was actually suspended above a roaring fire outside the church and left to swing above the smoking straw, until, almost suffocated, he was cut free and chased by dogs and locals. This 21st century recreation, watched by hoodies and beer-swilling yardies, was a much-tamer affair, but a quaint bit of Englishness none-the-less. Beats Saturday at B and Q.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Telling porkies?

The HDM's pork-themed season continues apace on today. Months after the legendary Eat My Pork, Feel My Pork story comes this one about a drunk's reign of terror, the height of which appears to be ordering 167 pork sandwiches for the local constabulary. The story continues, "luckily, the local butcher didn't have enoughpork to carry out the order". Who knows what would have happened on the streets of Bridlington if they had. It's hardly a reign of terror, this sandwich-ordering malarkey. I'll probably be terrorised by a tuna bap tonight now, with only myself to blame for the starchy chaos.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Bubba No Tep

Anyone see My Fake Baby on C4 last night? This is the "craze" where people spend thousands of pounds on dolls that resemble babies (and as one of the women said on yesterday's open-mouther, they've got moving toes and heartbeats and squints and ASBOs to order). My favourite couple were pictured taking their fake baby to the aquarium, where they pointed out all the crazy rays and sharks to the plastic chubbster. The interviewer asked for the reasons why they hadn't tried for a real baby. "We're the couple that never grew up (like no shit)," they said. "We're having too much fun to have time for a real baby." Cue then, to the fun, which seems to involving knitting baby boots for a fake baby, wheeling the bubba to the park with real mums, and other such japes. Can just see the fun you're having there.