Friday, 23 May 2008

C'mon you City

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.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

A guy like you

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

Virtually Yours

The modern newsroom has had to re-invent itself in recent years - into a multi-media hub, a podcasting delight, a video-jizz paradise. Amid all the blogs and Diggs and Delicious's comes the Grimsby Telegraph's concession to modern news gathering. Kate Parker is their new 'virtual reporter' or 'newsbot' as she's known, where she reads the news in a voice not dissimilar to Simple Text, that silly office programme that made us all laugh for about seven minutes in 1995/6. She didn't actually read the news, as a technical fault meant she just blathered on about the weather for several hours. Is it just me, or is this newsbot more like a badly-animated Holly from Red Dwarf?

Monday, 12 May 2008


After a hard day picking out flowers for our wedding, I like nothing more than a relaxing drink in Schnapps Bar followed by some tasty fish n' chips.

Lozandee - Sky's The Limit

Maybe I'm A-Mazed

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.

BOC Gases

From Scun to Stallone

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

Sir Alan Cumming

Laugh of the day so far from Alan Cumming in the Observer Magazine's This Much I Know column...

"There used to be a man's name above my pubes. It was tattoed there for six months before I had it removed. It was an intense relationship. He still has his. But instead of saying 'Alan' it now says 'Balance'. So we might tend to think he's not the most balanced person."

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

On the Fidel

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

New Sunday sport

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.

Listening: Ethiopiques
Watching: The genius that is season four of The Wire
Weddingcountdown: 16 weeks
Vegwatch: Alkaliney, some weed called the mare's tail, nothing of substance

Friday, 2 May 2008

Natty wedd

A fabulous time was had by all at Ben and Nicola's wedding down in Hampshire - amid the usual tales of lacerated hands, women shamelessly flaunting judo medals (is it form to bring your medals to someone else's bash, I wouldn't take mine to me own), burnt out cars, stolen clubs, stolen wedding trousers, police reports and the like. The bride and groom walked out to the theme from Star Wars played by a string quartet and the canapes were astonishing, darling. As for my speech, it was the toughest gig since the Cyclones east coast carvery tour. But there were laughs. Those coming to our own bash in the summer will be able to gage just how well I did as Ben is doing the reverse honour of being my bezzzzer.

Listening: Martha Winwright, Rachel Unthank, The Gutter Twins