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Saturday, 8 October 2011

Disillusioned

A little discourse I wrote when musing on our inheritance from the last Labour lot:


What is this world, if full of Blair, we have no cash to do or dare.

We are the Lost Generation. Not children of any revolution – and this is no belle époque. So how will the Lost Generation fare? Lost has some negative connotations, but perhaps we just need to alter our perspective. It may be so that we have been encouraged to borrow and borrow; we may be saddled with student debts (the English among us are at any rate), and our parents may have lost their homes and the lucky ones are being bailed out by their parents . . . so where will this leave us? Currently we our finding ourselves at a cross roads of sorts – although one that is as tangled and confusing as the expenses scandal. The degrees for which we’ve pretty much all worked for – hence much of the debt – are practically redundant. Everyone has one, and no employer seems that fussed, even if you did get a first in Aerospace. Everyone is reassessing. No-one has much of a choice, whilst also having so many. And yet the choices you had set your trilby at suddenly become as unavailable as a nun in a brothel. 

So you re-evaluate your priorities. The Lost Culture could go a variety of ways; it is unlikely to be able to be unashamedly decadent.  Similarly, as a society we have become rather immune to ugliness, which is a real pity. It is thrust at us with every unsympathetic building at the corner, the hard made-up face of the ‘celebrity’ tart, the general grubbiness around the edges of every town and borough. So perhaps we will not be a part of a beautiful bohemian era. Everyone is far too paranoid about their health for the 60s to ever be replicated – I met someone at a party who had concerns for their child catching swine flu from a neighbour’s dog. I mean really.

It’s looking like we really might be the generation of change and conscience, and about time too. It would seem that people are finally opening their incurious eyes to the issues that I have been championing since I was 2 years old. It is typical though that only those who have money and hence influence, will gain recognition for being ‘forward-thinking’. What a joke. Forward-thinking? Slow and blinkered!

It could be relatively easy for this Lost Generation to become pious in their student liberalism. Easy that is, if it weren’t for the fervent drink, drug, and party culture. And a hang-over of the idea that you can have what you want. This makes for a potentially heady cocktail of an age. We are global. We are the children of the mobile nation, in two senses of the word. We are flash-packers (backpacking with Youtube in our baggy pockets) and we have invented new ways of socialising. We have already had a significant impact on linguistic change; good times, bad times being the least inspired and most irritating of the lot. Art is very available to us. Everyone is a drama studying, poetry writing, poi swinging artiste.

We may well be up to our black-lined eyes (boys and girls) in debt, but it is very difficult to care (except for when the money leaves your account of course). It is far more sociable to go into town, have a coffee (fair-trade please), followed by a proper drink (rude not to), and economise by drinking from the offie en route to the next pub. Doing and daring is quite the done thing.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Un mot: Angelique!

I have recently discovered the World of Angelique, and how happy I am! The incredible author, Anne Golon is very much alive and kicking - she is writing . . .  wait for it . . . the 15th and final book!!! I have only read those translated into English, but I think it might be time to top up my rusty A-level French by going through the latter editions with a French dictionary.

The role of Angelique in the existing films was intended to be fulfilled by the one and only Brigitte Bardot, but silly Brigitte turned down the script without reading it. She is later said to have been rather upset (I think gutted a more appropriate term) when she finally did discover the genius of Angelique.

This brings me on to the fact that some fans (my Mother included, and most vociferously!) didn't feel that the lead actress, Michèle Mercier captured the true Angelique. I would consider my acting career fulfilled if I could successfully help bring the work of art that is the Angelique series, to the big screen. Or even a little screen. And I believe that I could do it; Angelique resonates with me. Whether it is that impulsiveness, the wilful and stubborn child coupled with a generous spirit and the tough, compassionate nature of a woman, I find that Angelique travels with me. She has an open heart and mind that allows her to cross social and cultural boundaries, and she doesn't comply with society's expectations - she does things in her own way. Now, do excuse my vanity in posting a few photos that I may or may not try and use to help me achieve this goal.



                                                                        Mermaid dress


With Anton Douglas at The Box, London.



Eddie and Patsy - too cool for Leicester Square


Tree time with Sten and Robbie sandWodge


                                                         Not raiding tombs at Angkor Wat



Washing my hair, au naturel in Laos


The beautiful Rishikesh with my beautiful Sten 


Jaisalmer, Rajasthan


This Holy man stepped straight out of The Jungle Books. And he put on his glad rags for the photoshoot.


Rocket did not live up to his name.



                                    Romeo, another misnomer. Rocket would have been far more suitable.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Summer rain & summer wine. E=Rozeh triangulated.

It's a July afternoon, and my good friend Dave has just rocked up with a back pack, en route to South Efrica where he will teach maths and science to children.

It's pissing it down - much to my annoyance as I keep hanging washing out, and putting it away again. Dave and I are catching up over a couple of bottles of rose - adventuring down the garden in the rain - climbing trees to obtain the sweet (possible) nectarines . . . etc.

Basically the purpose of this post is to commit a phrase to the universe's memory:

"Chaos is energy having a party". There was a meaningful ending, but we have now forgotten it.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

And now for something completely different.

Life is very exciting right now; I've settled into life as a Bunny which is ticking on nicely, so I can finally focus on my own projects! The screenplay I have written, currently dubbed "Laura Tolton" is meandering nicely - we're looking at casting - I will be auditioning for Laura, bien sur, and we're going to have a reading as soon as we can fuse our schedules. Nostrings Productions will be pulling in a couple of talented close friends, which means rehearsals will be an absolute blast!

My producer, Danny John Williams and I have a very similar vision for the film which is fantastic - and it already has a very bizarre history involving daytime drinking (roof top rum), an unknown and un-met artist, a psychic forecast and a gypsy - surreal or what?

Nostrings are currently entering a short film into the Virgin Media Shorts Competition - please welcome 'Archie'. The beautiful composition is by John Hamilton, and the writer and director is Danny himself. Have a look, have a listen, and share it if you 'like' it :-)


Archie - Virgin Media Shorts

Friday, 10 June 2011

10 minutes with Hugh Hefner | ES Magazine


He has been described as many things, but nowadays he's a one woman, silver-tongued legend. Some of the girls had been longing to meet The Hef; I respected his input into the history of performing arts - to take risks and to follow his instinct, and I thought he had been a canny business man, but I hadn't really considered the prospect of a meeting. I was having too much fun getting to grips with Roulette in Mayfair! The parties, the nights out, the girls and pocket money have proved really rather distracting . .

Linford Christie et al

Banksy in disguise . . .  (the one in the mask)








Sunday, 5 June 2011

Playboy has returned to Mayfair . . .


Last night marked the return of Playboy to London, with the Official Launch Party attended by Hugh Hefner, his nearest and dearest, mates old and new, and a few of London's names and faces. It was sparkly, exciting, absolutely packed - and, of course, controversial.

At about 7pm things started to get really exciting for us Bunnies, as the casino tables were closed and ice sculptures, candy floss machines and miniture popcorn buckets made an appearance. Oh, and the chanting started. A few of us made our way to the window of the sports bar from where we had a great view of about 100 protestors waving the witty and innovative 'Eff Off Hef' banners. My personal favourite was a double-sider, with one side reading "THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE".

For the record, I am yet to meet a Playboy Bunny who has been captured from the streets and forced into the gloriously theatrical Bunny suit. It is a career choice that is supporting artists, writers, actors, presenters, models, students and business women. So I would like to direct a few choice comments to the Eff Off Hef campaigners; do your research, get your facts right, find a cause that is of real importance and please, don't judge a woman on her Bunny costume.


   A few of us down-trodden, under-fed, objectified Bunnies at Kensington Roof Gardens.


          Worked to the bone at Bunny School. Shoe cameo by Armarni Bennet.



Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Slum Civilians - they know how to dance.

They sure do, choreography from Luther Dyer is fresh and innovative - and the dance is tight - but at the same time it retains a real spontaneous urban feel.

Check them out with Leather and Chains . . .

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Notes from a tired mind.



Tonight will be my second shift of the second week, and so far it's looking relatively rosy. The girls are fabulous (obviously), our inspectors are amazing . . . ly tolerant (and pretty damn super human into the bargain!), the outfits are, well, tight, badly-fitting and uncomfortable. On the whole then, not too bad at all - although I have very little concept of time anyway, so working crazy night shifts is deeply confusing!

Perhaps I should elaborate on the much discussed, covetted and contentious Bunny suits; they look incredible. Even I can't stop staring at the girls in them. Made of parachute silk we croupiers are of the classic black variety, whereas Salvatore's lovely cocktail ladies don steel, and the hugely hard-working valets are easy to spot in cherry red. The ears adjust to reflect our moods (happy bunny, tips-please bunny, scared bunny, knackered bunny etc. The long-legged Casey has perfected confused bunnny), and the tail is infinitely touchable. Sometimes I find that I just stand stroking my own tail at the table! I'm not at all happy that it's made of Marabou feathers, although I was assured that they were 'gathered' ethically. Hmmm.

The problem is not the suits themselves - it is the fact that in spite of numerous fittings, the majority do not fit. The poor on-site seamstress has truely got her work cut out for her. I love wearing the suit - there is something so wonderfully surreal about standing at an elegantly dressed roulette table, playing this complicated game that looks so glamorous but is so clear cut, precise and darned mathmatical, with pretty little chips in a multitude of colours, aiding ladies and gents (sic) fritter away thousands in the middle of the night - on what is fundamentally just complete chance - all whilst dressed as a giant rabbit.

Whilst it was never the obvious career choice for an ethically minded, free-thinking vegetarian with 1st Class Honours in Linguistics, who has travelled the world and once applied to be an MP, being a Playboy Bunny is allowing me to follow my dreams, get my film produced, my play staged and my voice heard. But perhaps the Eff Off Hef feminists would prefer that I waited tables for an impoverised  five years or so, like the rest of London's artistically inclined youth.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Right out of a Disney film.



This April has been eventful by all accounts; on a personal note I had a lovely birthday on a sunny Easter Sunday – the first EVER I might note. I don’t feel I didn’t the Easter side properly, given that I ate one mini egg. Normally I have had two whole eggs by breakfast.

Bank holidays have obviously been a running theme – and what with, oh damn I was going to build up to it but I can’t because I’m so excited (still) by de de de dum, the Royal Wedding: Nice village girl and a likeable, kind and thoughtful Prince.

Whilst this obviously signified a major progression for the British Monarchy in terms of values, awareness and - dare I say it – equality, in my humble opinion this couple are beginning to set a good example to international Royals. And before anyone starts, I’m not spouting about imperialism, colonial rule and – heaven forbid – the Empire. Quite simple, we are unlikely to live to see the end a Monarchy worldwide; it may have a bloody and cruel history, yada yada yada, but it exists and probably always will as long as humans continue to be so human.

And let’s just reminisce; Will made his entrance to the world with Harry – both looking cheerful and excited (and in Harry’s case, a little hung over?). Whilst I may not have been born when Diana married Charles, William’s shy, gentle smiles were all Diana, and a world apart from the cold groom that was his Father. The wedding was a dream and the dress gorgeous. Demure and eminently suitable, Sarah Burton did a good job of creating an outfit that was modern and traditional. The classic shape suited both her and the occasion, but it didn’t look old fashioned. But then, that was the only outcome for a dress from the house of Alexander McQueen.

I was particularly charmed by the array of trees in the abbey . . 

. . . I have to share that when I just Googled Hornbeam trees in an attempt to find out what they actually are, I came across this random little snippet in an online ‘dictionary’:
 
“His body was found hanging from a hornbeam tree in the woods south of Prague, an empty bottle of cheap wine at his feet.”

How bizarre is that?! I seriously hope that’s not significant to any Language of Tree thing they may have had going on!! Anyhow, I’ve had to have a little word with myself, and I’ve put that thought out of my head. Now the bouquet; I am rather a fan of flowers and their language (you can learn a lot of things from the flowers), and a posy of Lily-of-the-valley, Hyacinth, Myrtle and Sweet William, is associated with sweetness, renewal and gallantry – although I think the latter bloom speaks for itself.

So, the Queen was ace – she left the young ‘uns to it for the party so that Harry could tell dirty jokes, and she described the Wedding as “A-maze-ing”. Well, maybe not quite like that, but it’s almost as good as Camilla’s observation that news of the engagement was “Wicked”. Love it. The bass from Buckingham Palace was heard up till 3am, and in the morning Harry was alive but missing.

Do you know what I liked best? The fact that millions of people felt happy for the couple, happy to enjoy the occasion and happy to celebrate. That’s nice to see isn’t it – a bit of good news. As you may have noticed, I have become strangely obsessed with the whole notion – which I assure you is quite out of character. I have bought (and am munching as I write) a tin of McVitie’s, several papers and OK, and if I see any commemorative mugs left on the shelves I will buy some. Two actually – one to keep and one that Sten will inevitably break.

The weather as been well behaved if frivolous (well, it was April), and as May gets here we are told that Osama Bin Laden as been killed by US Special Forces in Pakistan. Well it’s worrying enough, and that’s only assuming that all facts we’ve been fed are true!

What’s next I wonder? Anyway, night night, I should be painting my nails or polishing my Roulette.


Sunday, 20 March 2011

Lady Gaga The Ballet


Check out this bad boy. Choreographed by Jaered Glavin, the video was uploaded for the Global Dance Contest at good ole Sadler's Wells. The dancers are The Gagarettes from New Zealand, and I want to see some more contemporary/ ballet fusions. So, go forth and create you crazy dancing types!


Think Trinkets' photo du jour



I luuurve Brigitte Bardot. In fact I'm going to find her for a chat - I just think we'd get on. Have convinced a mate to act as translator, and have tracked her down to a certain village in a certain country (well, France obviously).

Ideally I need an address . . . anyone?

Incidentally, found this little jewel on the entertaining Think Trinkets

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Like shoes? Course you do. So does Kobi Levi.



I feel the need to mention the inspired work of Kobi Levi. Based in Tel Aviv, he creates fabulous designs that he describes as 'wearable sculptures' - and I can well imagine his work featuring among the less glitzy collections at one of my all time favourite brands, Irregular Choice.

Incidentally, whilst I'm on the subject, I have resigned myself to the fact that I'm unlikely to shop again with Irregular Choice, because the majority of their designs are of course, leather. You have no idea how upsetting this is - and it doesn't stop there. Oh no. This horrible fact applies to almost every shoe designer and retailer. Once whilst perusing the almighty Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok, I happened across an unobtrusive little shop that was filled with the most beautiful boots - in every colour imaginable. And they were gorgeous; every detail, from tongue to sole was just right. It was like stumbling into a Paul Smith emporium - but everything was ridiculously cheap.

And boy did it smell of skin. I had a little cry - there and then. No word of a lie - and I sloped off quietly to hide my misery in the jewellery section. Now, admittedly I have digressed somewhat - but my point is, that this doesn't have to be the case - I have an enviable shoe collection, and the majority are animal friendly. The fact that Kobi Levi also uses some pleather is really rather exciting. What I'm waiting for, though, is for Stella McCartney to team up with Paul Smith, Irregular Choice, me, etc and come up with some truly stunning ethical designs. And, sooner would be better than later - my birthday's coming up.

Personal favourites from Kobi's collection include 'Sling-Shot', 'Slide', the rather naughty 'Blow' and the über cool 'Chewing gum'. I also love his 'Bird' series, and I think the 'Toucan' gets my winning vote.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pretty as a picture: Stephen Taylor

I have just discovered Stephen's art in Alain De Botton's, 'The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work'. The book itself initially confused me, and not knowing what to expect, I thought that of the chapters offered to me (cargo ship spotting, biscuit manufacture and rocket science to name a few), the chapter on painting appealed the most.

Here I met Stephen Taylor, a man who since wandering passed an oak tree after the death of his girlfriend (which raises an obvious but insensitive question mark), became obsessed with the notion that a particular lane side oak tree should be painted in all its glory, in all seasons, weathers and times, over a period of 2 years as it turned out. I don't have permission to show his work here, so check out The Mighty Oak Doing Life!

Oh, alright, just one:

I was rather taken with this notion, susceptible as I am to tree contemplation, and so I read on avidly. Just in case you might like a mental picture, I was at this point marching down the Cally Road with my now dried washing hanging from either arm, using my super sense to navigate round vagabonds, drop outs, betting men and strange types.

It was at this point that I found myself with tears in my eyes at the thought of this 250 year old oak tree knocking about with the birds and bees when Jane Austin was a babe in arms.

Trees really are fucking awesome. I've also been on a bit of a journey through time and space/ sense and sensibilities to the land (or should I say lands) of Yggdrasil; a mega tree in Norse mythology that connected 9 worlds, of which ours is just the one. Needless to say, one click and I was learning about the wise volvas of old (nothing like a Volvo); their wands, ways and wiles. One click more and I discovered that the last sighting of a banshee in Ireland was as recent as 1948, and one or two clicks more and I am vowing to spend my May Day or Midsummer at Stone Henge wearing flowers.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Beleiber Blog: Portrait of Justin 1

Beleiber Blog: "When you smile it is as if there are no more problems in West Yorkshire. Your lips are succulent, like two pieces of raw gammon attached..."

Genius.

Lustin' for Justin?

Not me, God no. But I know a little someone who is . . .  hilarious. Think The Mighty Old Greg stumbles upon the nubile young Justin (little bit of sick). I quote "I want to take you for your first pint" . . .

This blog just expresses a healthy interest in wholesome pursuits and brotherhood. I think.

http://lustin4justin.blogspot.com/

This little number too, deserves a quick chuckle:



"We've eaten tea. We had soup. I had oxtail, you had cream of mushroom, with bread
for dunking. We're doing the dishes together, you're washing, i'm drying. You're
in a playful mood, you flick some bubbles up in the air, they land on my nose. I
spray you with some fairy liquid. We're both covered in it. Don't worry, i'll clean up"

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Wish me luck

Oh God, so I have mentally signed myself up to Animal Aid's 'March is Vegan Month'!!! Well, it's actually Veggie Month, but I need to up my pace a bit if I'm to save the world. Incidentally, if you're not a veg, it's well worth giving a go: we're nearly at the 3rd month - most diets and many gym memberships have fallen by the wayside, and summer skin will be on show before we know it. A veggie or vegan diet will do wonders for your beach body - promise.

Animal Aid is on side to provide support - both mental and . . . physical? Dietry I suppose. With animal friendly recipes, local restaurants, and meat-free alteratives, Animal Aid will smooth the way. Now, the Veggie Month will be relatively easy; and I can say this in all truth, without meaning to be smug. Not eating animals is a piece of cake; I turned veggie when I was 2 (and no, my parents were actually both meat eaters), and I haven't looked back once. My Mum made me eat fish until I was 4 years old, for health reasons. At this age I then stopped eating fish - they have a nervous system just as we do, and feel pain and trauma just the same. My Mum took me to see 3 dieticians, for obvious reasons. Interestingly enough, 2 of these dieticians were actually vegan, and we were told that turning veggie was the best thing I could ever do for my health.

From that moment on, Animal Aid have been my guide, from helping me learn about where to find mad animal ingredients such as cochineal, gelatine, whey powder and glycerine (some chocolate bars, cheese, ice creams, cakes, biscuits and sweets), to learning which brands used veggie alternatives to the above ingredients, such as veggie whey powder (and no, it isn't always labelled as such - but usually is on cheese), pectin (instead of gelatine), various friendly alternatives to cochineal, such as beetroot, and glycerine from plant extraction.

The major baddies

Whey/ whey powder = made from the lining of a calves stomach. Think 'curds and whey'.
Gelatine = crushed up bones, horns, hooves and teeth that are then jellified.
Cochineal  = a food colouring made from the blood of bugs.
Glycerine = fats and oils, used in cooking and the preservation of products, keeping them moist and in tact.

Cadbury's tend to be pretty good and label products if they're veggie. Foxes biscuits tend to use veggie whey powder and other veg alternatives. Nestle don't label anything, the sods. Lion bars are sadly a no go for me. The best thing is to ring or email Nestle, and they will happily send out a product guide to what is good and what is, frankly bad.

It was a very good moment for me when Skittles stopped using gelatine. It was a pretty bad moment when I discovered that Smarties still use bug blood to colour their reds and pinks. I have never got over the fact that Iced Fancies also use cochineal in the pink ones. But in all seriousness, the hardest part of being a veggie is not being able to eat the majority of 1p jelly sweets. Go screw yourself Haribo. I do miss those fried eggs.

However, I shan't mope. There is a huge range of soya and Quorn alternatives to meat; from mince and chicken pieces, to amazing pies, sausages, 'steaks' - sorry though if you love it rare - turkey slices, bacon etc. Even fish fingers and scampi. It is a simple case of finding what you like - there are some excellent alternatives, and some not so good, so it is worth shopping around. Holland and Barrett are good, as are many health food shops, also you can find veggie alternatives such as Quorn Mince in almost every supermarket. Sainsbury's tend to have a decent range - and, they have finally signed up to only buy from meat suppliers who install CCTV in their abattoirs!!! Huzzah!!!

That said, getting cameras inside the slaughterhouses is just a tenth of the battle. Ensuring that they are well placed, maintained and monitored is another story. But, this is a victory nonetheless. Better still; don't let it get to that stage. Don't put your money into slaughterhouses. Simples. I believe that 6 out of the 7 slaughterhouses investigated recently were found to be breaking the slaughter legislations in place to ensure some degree of protection for the animals – and even this really is minimal. In addition to these breaches, some horrendous abuse from staff was discovered.

Check out http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_slaughter/ALL/2422// for more info on this campaign. And if you decide to give it a go – good luck! It will be one of the best things you can do for the planet, animals and yourself. Even if you only last the month, be assured that you have done some real good for the world. Perhaps after March you will decide to have one or two vegetarian days a week, a la Paul McCartney. If you do, well done, and enjoy - it really is one of the best decisions you will ever make. 

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Down and Out in London

Not really, I'm no longer on the breadline. January was a tough month though - during the festivities I clearly was not as conservative with my pennies as I had thought - I spent the majority on Christmas presents, and Estonian potatoes/ vodka/ both. At one point I owed my slightly intimidating landlord 2 months rent (they call him the Cally Gangster; he's slight in stature, but he owns 400 properties), and I was doing the food shop in Capital Bond vouchers at Iceland. On that note, one particularly low shop involved me doing a spot of precise calculation; yes I can afford the biscuits, and no, Branston pickles are 25p over my budget - that sort of thing. Branston pickles, maybe not, but a pot of Piccalilli cost £1 exactly - which was spot on my budget. Piccalilli bought, I returned home rather please with myself. Except, Sten was distinctly unimpressed, and I don't actually know what Piccalilli is - or how to use it. So, one pound down the drain then. In voucher terms of course.

Anyhow, the reason for my temporary silence is that I'm applying myself - writing, learning Hindi, writing, making coffees at Sadler's Wells and generally sorting my life out. Money is starting to trickle in, and a plan is forming; I'm wide-eyed and hopeful. Admittedly, Hindi has gone by the wayside (as of last Thursday - too much. Too too much.), but in one week I served coffee and administered justice on Monday, wrote like the diligent writer I am on Tuesday, attended a Bunny Girl party with the names and faces of London Clubs on Wednesday, Hindi Thursday and Friday was spent hosting a charity event for Andy Gomarsall; a free bar, to a backdrop of Bentleys, Ferraris and Harley-Davidsons. England beat Wales, I stocked up on Jager-Meister, and some smashed old soak gave me £20 for giving him a bottle of Prosecco to himself. What a result.

I am supposed to be filming for an ITV pilot show this week - and I am dreading it. I was drawn in by the prospect of winning a grand - I have suddenly become aware of the fact that I am unwittingly getting involved in reality TV. OH MY GOOOOOD. Not sure I can handle that. In spite of the fact that I write this blog, I am actually a very private person. You should think yourself lucky - being admitted into the inner workings of my head and all that. So, I'll be in touch . . .

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Southwell goes all Monty Python

The following picture hightlights very well my previous post. Latin grafitti? What next.

        My drinking companion, Becky, and a strange silhouetted me

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Things to do in and around the Shire . . .

Ah, Southwell. To the unknowing outsider, this historical market town is a beautiful little snippet of rural England. Populated by nuns and old people, the mighty Minster (a cathedral) takes centre place of this pretty, old-fashioned town. The Minster School too, has a reputation that precedes it - a good church school, headed by the almighty Blinston, parents fought, lied and deceived to get their brats through its doors.

Like most rural idylls however, Southwell is not all it's cracked up to be. The youth - and yes, there are a few knocking about - are by necessity an inventive lot. The lack of diversions means that we had to make our own entertainment - the old fashioned way. If the seasonally appearing, and much anticipated, fair is to be believed, Southwell has the worst drink problem of any of the towns it visits. And to be fair, at every night the fair is on at least 2 teenagers leave in an ambulance. Drugs are rife also.

Too many kids with too much money leads to some memorable nights out; and against the backdrop of some pretty(ish) countryside, rural adventures abound. Descriptively named meeting places such as The Africa Tree (looks like a tree in Africa), The Overhang (a tree with a, yes, you guessed it), The Swamp (a biggish, deepish muddy puddle), and - slightly less predictable - The Borrowers (a tree down a lane that has a small door, windows, and a washing line - where children, smokers and passer-bys leave presents . . .) made up our social lives, and I wouldn't have wished for it any other way.

A recent winter walk reminded me just how little things had changed; we met up at the Hearty Goodfellow, and I was gratified to see that everybody had a little something interesting in a hipflask. We wandered passed Elves Forest (do no piss off the fairies), through Teletubby land (home of organic mushrooms) and over towards Brackenhurst College. At some point we summited a small hill to see a mass of Elephant Grass - no consultation was needed as we plunged without hesitation into the lovely labyrinth. We had a good wronk about, did a bit of pushing over and had a ball, before we all realised we were quite quite lost and we had to locate each other by shouts as we rounded up the troops. Just as we had all finally recovered from the excitement of it all, we passed a 3-foot penguin sitting on a bench. Cue Hennerz, our photographer, cataloguing this happy accident.

                                      Happy walkers

                                                  Lost in the wilderness?

                                      Horse gets some intensive stroking

                                      Into the Elephant jungle . . .

                                      Where did you come from?



We reached our final destination - The Reindeer in Edingley, and tucked into a roast by the fire, before getting stuck into the booze. After bewildering the barmaid by ordering After Eights (she did not know quite how to apply Baileys to Creme de Menthe, bless her, but it tasted alright even if it looked a bit shit), we made our way back to The Hen House where we gate-crashed Barbara and Marcus' party (Hen's long suffering parents - aka The BabaCus). Sophie stole two bottles of champagne from her parents' house, which promptly got lavishly spilt all over the kitchen floor, and then Hennerz and I proceeded to get political and opinionated all over the place - I cringe when I think about this part. We do it regularly I'm afraid to say.

                                  


                                   Look Mummy, Rudolph's come to a horrible end!



Last night I also indulged in a spot of Southwell tradition – with little else to do, Becky and I decided that attempting the Fury would be a good idea. The Fury is a pub-crawl of Southwell’s 10 pubs. I’m sad to say that we made it to only 7 of these; we got distracted by weird locals in 2 of them, which left us very short on time. We did have 2 bottles of cider to help us with the long walk between establishments. We also confused a barmaid in the lovely corner pub, The Coach House; on asking for Jeigerbombs (a request that was always going to raise eyebrows – indeed we heard our order echo through the pub in politely hushed tones) we received shots in coke – the Redbull didn’t get a look in. Regardless, good times were had by, well, us. We seemed to be accompanied for half the crawl by a gorgeous yellow Labrador puppy, who ran around each pub causing mischief. 

I must say that kids who grow up in busy, fun places, with real entertainment, are actually missing out; some of the best and most amusing memories I have, are born out of a need to entertain ourselves. Perhaps then it is no coincident, that there is a large population of thespian types in the area - and I imagine there is an even larger population of swingers.

                                                 Nutcracker

Please help! Only a few days left to savethe cows, country, and ultimately the world

Animal Aid: Please Act Now to Oppose Plans for Super-Dairy

It takes 2 minutes . . . do something good this year (*cheesy wink and smile combo*)

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy New Year boys and girls!

Happy New Year, all and sundry! I saw it in with Sten at La Scala by King's Cross. Don't ask why - it was a hideous sounding night, 'Power Ballads'. Generally speaking I detest power ballads, in fact I'm not even too sure of what they are, except they seem to be: from the 80's, cheesy as pizza (goes without saying really), overly emotional, and they all tend to involve a key change. From my more power-loving friends (Si, Jonny, Hennerz, Keeley - named and shamed) I have also gleaned that the genre includes the likes of Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper and Bryan Adams. When this sort of music comes on, I usually go to the bar for shots.

In spite of the above, it was a rather good night. Admittedly it began with Sten and me bickering over the printing out of tickets, and a last minute dash to the Internet cafe (still owe the bloke a pound for that, come to think of it). This was followed by an incident at King's Cross station - and do allow me a rant here: Sten and some of the boys raced each other up to the top of the 'down' escalators - to much cheering might I add. At the top they were greeted by the frowning, yet secretly excited and semi-erect, community support officer/ copper (they all look the same to me - racist!).

The said nobhead then chased Sten out of the ticket gates. To give Sten credit he immediately stopped to talk, but the teenage bully then decided to assert his pimply-faced authority and force Sten backwards until he was backed up against a wall. He imbedded his inquisition with comments like "I saw you fall over - trust me you looked like an idiot" (incidentally he didn't actually fall over at all - he won the race so up yours), and sniffling lickle jibes of a similar petty nature. Sten was made to get out his various forms of ID, and whilst he apologised and politely requested that the process be completed asap, the female officer jumped in with the grave collar grabbing comment of "it'll take as long as it needs to" boy, sonny Jim, lad. It was 11.45pm on NYE. All right, rant over. Suffice it to say that I have long held a low opinion of police types - and these two just reinforced the stereotype: well done you power hungry pair of pricks.

New Years hugs, kisses and toasts were made, and I must have coped fairly well with all that power blowing out of the speakers, for it were well nigh on 4am before I dragged Sten off to get some remarkably good chips - remarkable given that they were kebab shop chips from the bottom of Cally Road. We then made the short wander up the road before dancing the rest of the morning away to some excellent tunes courtesy of XFM - what a station. Oh, and my first 'meal' of the year was a Walnut Whip - which I think bodes well.

                                       A powerful night at La Scala