First it was my adopted home. And then I could only see it (and occasionally shout at it) from across the river. Funnily enough I've been to both Bristol and Hull this year, but just cos the southerners have got funky-coloured houses and trip hop don't make them my favourites. I'll be cheering them on at Wemberley tomorrow as they aim for the splendours of the Prem after 104 years aiming for the prize. And then doing the whole thing again on Sunday watching the Donny game with my future father-in-law. I'm hoping that after such a hardcore footie weekend, Dee'll finally start liking the game. If you want a first person view on City v City, Mr W is going and he'll post about it, I should think.
Friday, 23 May 2008
Thursday, 22 May 2008
Best documentary in ages, apart from the Artful Codgers, was the wonderful Home Again about former Orange Juice troubadour Edwyn Collins and his battle to regain his faculties after suffering two strokes, a brain haemmorage and contracting MRSA in 2005. The programme showed Edwyn's battle to regain speech and movement, to the point where he was able to play his first show - faltering at first, then triumphant. It was heartbreaking and hopeful in equal measure, showing the power of love and belief. Great as well that such a literate and lucid guy is able to perform in front of an audience again. Watch it!
Thursday, 15 May 2008
Monday, 12 May 2008
Alkbrough, five miles from Scunny town, couldn't be more removed. This is where the Humber merges into the Trent and Ouse, although, unlike the Ganges, there ain't an annual pilgrimage where its rivers meet. Instead, there's an 11th century turf maze. And after a gander round that, the pilgrims retire to the Alkbrough Constitutional Club for some pilgrimesque constitutionals.
Jack's Return Home, the book that became Get Carter (a superb Britflick starring Michael Caine and John Osborne) was set not in Newcastle, but in Scunthorpe. The film-makers changed it because, I guess, Scunny was just too sleazy and obscure. The gripping climax at the end of GC was also originally set at the mudflats close to the Humber Bridge in Barton, and Ted Lewis, the writer, lived there when he wasn't penning episodes of Z-Cars. If you pick up a copy of Jack's Return Home, you can see that Scunny hasn't changed much since 1970. Rows of terrace streets still improbably close to the town centre. The smell of steel. I took some pictures.
The Mancunian-born writer Ted Lewis, who lived in nearby Barton-upon-Humber, featured the town in some of his novels about low-life 1960s gangster Jack Carter. The most famous of these books, Jack's Return Home saw the main character return from London to his home-town of Scunthorpe to avenge his brother's death. The story itself was based on the background to the real-life murder of Newcastle businessman Angus Sibbet in 1967, in what was known as the Fruit Machine Murder.
The film rights to this book where purchased by MGM who ironically transferred the setting from Scunthorpe to Newcastle-upon-Tyne and released the film in 1971 as the cult British crime thriller Get Carter, starring Michael Caine in the lead role. However none of the production was shot in the area, it being filmed entirely on location on Tyneside.
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Laugh of the day so far from Alan Cumming in the Observer Magazine's This Much I Know column...
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
For the first time in ages, we walked into a travel agent with a bally good reason - to book our honeymoon. In recent years, I've been asked to leave when entering such premises - quite clearly not the sort of person who books a two-week all inclusive break or a pleasure cruise. But this time it's different - me and the then-wife will be off to Cuba - me to indulge my love of salsa, Dee her love of cigars. Hurrah!
Sunday, 4 May 2008
I admit, the banks of north Lincolnshire aren't chockful of opportunity on a Bank Holiday Sunday. Although saying that, me and Dee had some enormous fun exploring the old quarries and tileyards being lost to the drift that are dotted along the Humber, which form a suitably knarly frontdrop (opposite of backdrop) for the majestical bridge. But surely, the number one new sport round these parts is Sunday allotment terrorism. We had only planted four seed potatoes when we noticed there was a crowd of yokels at the end of our plot, pointing and laughing. Upon being confronted by me, they said, collectively like, "you've got your work cut out there". We may start charging for the interactive thrill of watching us dig our own hole. Allotment appetite sated, the people got into their people carrier and sped off, me, trowell in hand, in pursuit.
Friday, 2 May 2008