Thursday, 22 July 2010

Floating around in a bubble

It's a good job bubbles float otherwise I may have been in danger of drowning this week.

I don't read the newspapers, partly because the general concensus amongst my peers is so varied that I'm almost scared to choose one for fear of being sneered at, but mainly because most of the news in the world just doesn't interest me. Rightly or wrongly I have no interest at all in politics, because there's nothing I can do about how the country is run, for all our moaning about the state of the country what do I know about running a country? Nothing. And I'm not egotistical enough to want to have all that power. And I'm way too lazy to want that kind of responsibility - let's see - Prime Minister - Pros, get to make decisions about what everyone has to do in the country, get to walk around importantly and be all "Look at me I'm the man" Cons - no time on the daily agenda for watching TV.

And let's be honest, TV is way higher on my list of priorities than most things!

But not the News! Because let's face it, how much of the news is genuine? If I start watching the news or reading papers then I'll start getting all hung up on what to believe, they say "You can't believe what you read in the paper" So why bother reading it at all??

The only paper I ever bother reading is the Crosby Herald, my local paper, full of stories about what's going on down my street, in my village, what new cafe just opened and when the next line dancing class starts. It's real genuine news stories about real people in my area. Sometimes there's a bit of scandal and sometimes there's a feel good story about some celebrity coming to open a childrens centre. But no one has to make up any stories in order to keep their job. No one has to create scandals.

If I want to learn anything further afield I watch programmes like Mock the Week or Charlies Brookers Newswipe, so I can learn what's going on in the world without all the bullshit!

I generally only know what's going on because other people read papers and talk about it. I didn't give a crap about John terry having an affair with Wayne Bridge's bird, of the scandal, they were meant to be friends... thousands, in fact probably millions of couples break up all over the world because one of them has had an affiar...sometimes even with a best mate...does it get splashed across the news of the world? No it doesn't. Who really cares about people having affairs? John Terry should be front page news for his footballing successes or failures - what he does in his personal life should be kept private, and he certainly shouldn't be penalised professionally for it. Now I'm not a JT fan at all, I hate Chelsea but same goes for anyone else - I don't care who Jordan married, my mate got married last year but to my knowledge that didn't make the news either.

The reports on the John Terry affiar were all about what people were saying and very little about the affair itself. Coz when people aren't prepared to talk about something the press just turn that into the news story instead...I mean for Gods sake - is this really what the general public are interested in?

I heard a story recently that there was going to be some big Steven Gerrard scandal emerging, then it was reported he'd got his wife's sister pregnant, and then we heard actually his wife doesn't even have a sister and it was all a hoax...SERIOUSLY have you vultures got nothing better to do than subject the worlds population to pointless irrelevant stories??

But the fact is, all this pointless news has ruined my ability to learn any genuine newsworthy facts. For example I was probably the only person in the country who didn't know who Raoul Moat was. My boss looks at me in dispair on a daily basis when I say "Who?" or "Oh why what's happened?"

So yeah, as a result of wandering around in my own little news free bubble I had no idea that the street next to mine was flooded on Tuesday, and off I went driving to Tescos only to get stuck in a police controlled tail back of traffic.

But it doesn't inspire me to start paying attention to the far as I can see the only news pages that tell any truth are the TV guides.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

El Nino

I don't know why there's so much debate of the 'will he stay or will he go' variety surrounding Fernando Torres.

The argument for him leaving appears to be:
• Liverpool aren't in the champions league so he won't stay at a club where he can't achieve his ambition of a champions league medal.

The way I see it, and I'm just a girl and should maybe stick to topics I'm more familiar with such as knitting and kittens, but didn't we kind of put all our eggs in one basket? We expected to win the league last season based on our previous season with Torres scoring for fun. But then he spent most of last season injured or recovering from operations. And when he did play it was a desperate measure and he got brought on before he was fit enough and guess what happened... Oh yeah he got injured again.

We have placed so much expectation on Torres working miracles for us that when he was on the bench we criticised Rafa for not playing him, but when he comes on unfit and is set back again we moan at Rafa for playing him too soon. Rafa couldn't do right for doing wrong where Torres was concerned.

When he's fit Torres has such an impact on the way the rest of the team plays. They look more confident and they play better. But if we are going to improve on last seasons dreadful performance we have to stop relying on one man to do it... Especially if that one man appears to be made of glass.

Here's why I have never thought Torres was leaving Liverpool this season... If Torres is fit all season any team he plays for is capable of winning whatever league they compete in... He wants a champions league medal but getting one by sitting on the bench injured at Man City won't be much of an achievement...

Torres strikes me as a player with a love if the game and a passion and loyalty to his team. Joining a team that has ruthlessly bought their success by a massive cash injection won't give him the same pride as winning with a team that have the history and passion of Liverpool.

And it seems to me that if Torres had been fit all season we would probably have finished in the top 4 and if nothing else he'll at least want to put that right this season.

We need to stop relying on one player... We need more players that can effect the game on the pitch and score like it's a hobby! We can't just hope Torres is fit and then feel sorry for ourselves when he's injured and we start losing.

But we also need to stop worrying about whether he'll stay or go. No player is bigger than the team. If Torres leaves we'll replace him with someone else capable of scoring goals.

But there's just as much chance he'll stay and spend half the season injured again.

So why would he bother leaving? Im sure he'd rather be fit and earn his medals with us than win them from the treatment room somewhere else.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

How to look good on paper.

So I am at the grand old age where I'm thinking about the fact that I would like to get on the property ladder. But wait. I can't. Because through my own naivety or possibly, stupidity I took out a few loans and creditcards back in the day when I earned a low wage but lived in the most expensive city in England. Now I live in one of the most deprived cities in England and earn good money...but due to the debt incurred by the former I'm blacklisted.

When I moved back to Liverpool 5 years ago I was unemployed for 6 months. I was withdrawing cash from my credit card to put into the bank to cover the monthly loan and credit card payments. It was a big old mess and in the end, when my debt repayments were 82% of my monthly income, I signed up with a debt management company to help me out. Of course back then I was only taking home £600 a month. 4 years later after progressing well in my career I'm much better off. But I was warned at the start of the program that it would go on my credit report and I wouldn't be able to get any future credit.

So out of interest I applied to look at my credit report with Experian. And get this...I had a credit score of 842 - FAIR! apparently only 38% of the population have a higher than fair score. That doesn't sound so bad!
And I checked my report and there's nothing on there that even refers to my old debts. It shows a quite reliable person who pays her mobile phone contract and her monthly bank fee on time.

So where's my badcredit gone? Coz trust me - I'm still paying it off!

And what does that mean? If I applied for a mortgage would I not be laughed at as I'd imagined I would?

Well anyway. I'm a long way off saving money for a deposit and such like as yet and when I do I dare say I will have finally repaid all my debts.

But still I'm feeling much happier about my credit rating/score safe in the knowledge that I'm not on the mythical blacklist afterall!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010


I know it's 2010 and we're generally over the whole gender stereotyping thing but there's still a sort of wierd blur around football. I love football, I'm maybe not as passionate about it as my male friends but I'm certainly way more passionate about it than most of my female friends.

So while most women complain about being a football widow: "They're playing again? They played last week!" there is a whole different view point when the World Cup rolls round. Suddenly women all over the country see the joy of standing in a crowded pub, drinking beer and trying to catch a glimpse of a screen in the gap between hulking great shoulders. Men smile down at their girlfriends singing "Three Lions" at the top of her voice and never once wonder why he's never heard her sing "You'll Never Walk Alone".

I left work early to catch the England v Slovenia game. My boss had booked the afternoon off and was quite happy for me to use some flexitime to leave at 2:30pm. Then we got word from the Chief Exec (Sunderland fan. Female) that everyone was free to leave from 2pm if they wanted to watch the game.

Defoe's goal is being shown over and over as the only goal England have scored in the World Cup. I knew we'd go through, I knew we'd step it up for the final group game, but we should be better than that. We are a football nation afterall.

And have you noticed that every advert on TV refers to the World cup. Macdonalds has a whole poem dedicated to people watching the World cup while eating a big mac, and on the final screen it says Official Restaurant...What does that mean? MacDonalds is officially a restaurant?

I suppose I don't watch athletics except during the Olympics. I guess even those most dedicated haters of football want to support their country.

There is one thing I don't like about football though - the celebrity of it. I've never understood the attraction to the celebrity world and I don't understand why people are paid such ridiculous amounts of money - ok so you can convincingly pretend to be a mass murderer/battered wife/slightly humourous person in love...but do you deserve to be earning millions of pounds for that? Compare how much Keifer Sutherland gets paid to play Jack Bauer with how much a Police officer we really value being entertained over being kept safe?

Football is a massive thing. It dominates the TV, people's lives revolve around it and the price tag that goes with it is astonishing. The government has just raised taxes in order to try and get the country out of debt and yet football players are earning £90k a week. A WEEK???? I wouldn't know what to do with £90k a year...I mean really...Nurses save lives, they care for people, Firefighters save lives there are people out there earning crap wages but doing jobs that the world needs to survive.

Is playing footy a few times a week really deserving of £90k a week? And if these plyers are on such over inflated salaries...don't you think they should be trying a bit harder to win?

Sunday, 23 May 2010

The Beat, Neville Staple and Pauline Black - HMV Forum 22/05/2010

It was the longest drawn out birthday ever! Back in February I bought BBE tickets to see The Beat, Neville Staple and Pauline Black in that there London, and finally this weekend a mere 14 weeks later the birthday present happened. And though I say it myself it was the best birthday present ever!

We actually went to the same gig last year in the Camden Centre, it was the night after Madstock and I travelled down to meet up with BBE after persuading him to stick around and go to this gig, which he'd been sort of talking about maybe doing anyway even though his train tickets were already booked to come back. But after seeing The Beat in St Helens and The Specials in Manchester, I was as keen as he was to go to the gig. Plus he really really wanted to see Pauline Black.

This years gig was significantly better than last year. Although the Camden Centre had a charm to it that made the whole thing feel more like a dancehall, everyone was dancing to the Ska / Reggae tunes being played by the DJ and there was a general excitement around the room but with a nice friendly atmosphere too. The Forum in contrast felt like a some kind of rock concert.

It was pretty packed. It was the largest crowd I'd seen for The Beat so far. In December at the O2 Academy (liverpool) the room didn't seem to be very busy at all, I was disappointed. But then last week in the Picket (Liverpool) the place was heaving. Smaller venue true but it was rammed. The Beat were second on the bill and played a much shorter set - which still included an encore despite not being the headliners.

BBE and Myself went and stationed ourselves at the front, holding onto the barrier just left of centre - the side where Ranking Roger positions himself. Ranking Roger is definitely at the top of my list of people I'd most like to meet - the guy is a legend. Admittedly I don't much like meeting "heroes" due to my fear that they'll turn out to be a bit of a twat. Surely the sort of people who seek fame and fortune must be fairly arrogant, but I guess the list of people I'd most like to meet is fairly hypothetical anyway. I had my chance to meet Ranking Roger at the Picket when he was stood watching Levi Tafari. But I didn't take it. Besides which - what am I going to say "Hello Ranking Roger, You're a legend, I love the Beat, I've got all your records"? Well am I? Well that's probably about all I could say to justify speaking to him in the first place - right? Or alternatively I'll be struck dumb, all the pages from my brain dictionary will be ripped out one by one until I can't remember even the most ordinary mundane word like "the" or "Beat" and I'll stand there slightly open mouthed or with a stupid grin on my face and then possibly, most embarassingly I'll do what I do generally under normal circumstances and burst into a bit of Ackee 123 or some other song by The Beat, and then feel really stupid that I just burst into song, and not just any song but a song by the very person stood in front of me.

The best kind of famous person to meet is the kind you don't like. Coz then you tend to have no interest in them at all and you can speak to them like you would speak to any stranger...although why you would want to speak to strangers, or indeed celebrities you don't like is a question that renders the point rather pointless.

So anyway. Pauline Black comes out backed by Neville Staple's band. She's brilliant, slightly intimidating but has a fantastic voice. Had quite a decent bit of space in which to dance too, which is always a bonus. Although that didn't last long once Neville Staple came on. I became aware of someone pushing in next to me, muscling her way in to the barrier and holding aloft a mobile phone pointed at Neville Staple. And there it stayed, occasionally straying across my line of vision and really really pissing me off. I know gigs are crowded but there's still ways to respect other people's personal space. I noticesd with satisfaction that she kept singing the words wrong. Ha. And yeah so what if I'm going to go search for the video on youtube, and appreciate the fact that someone recorded what? She was still waving a bloody phone in my face for the best part of an hour. Neville Staple was a bit of a camera whore. Kept spotting where they were and making a point of looking at them and winking, smiling and posing as much as he could. His set was brilliant. Last year the sound had been pretty bad and he was clearly not happy at all. But last night he was brilliant, entertaining and full of energy.

So then The Beat came on. Camera girl had fucked off - clearly a Specials fan and completely ignorant to the fact that The Beat are awesomer (if that is such a word) and was replaced by a man who had earlier asked me who the previous band were and was clearly a Beat fan!

Ranking Junior was still hobbling about supporting himself on a cane. Last week we'd mistakenly thought at first that he had just come out to the Picket looking all suave in a shirt and tie and a walking cane, but then quickly realised when Roger was dancing alone that he was clearly injured. I wonder if there's be physio, then some light training to get match fit...Skanking should be listed as a sport in its own right...and judging my Rogers 6 pack when he threw his tshirt into the crowd its clearly very very good for you - In fact with only 2 weeks til my holiday I'm going to go kickstart my Beat work out and skank around the house to Wh'appen!!

So the Beat set was just out of this world. It was the bestest gig ever, they played pretty much everything you could hope for (apart from Ackee 123, but I doubt they'll ever play that - no matter how many times I write on their MySpace wall) BBE got a thumbs up from Roger for singing along to Muscle Ska - a new(ish) tune co written by Ranking Roger and Neville Staple. Of course if you keep going to see a band often enough all their "new" songs stop being new, so we were both doing the Vroom Vroom Vroom Zoom Zoom Zoom dance moves to "How Do You Do" and singing along to "Dangerous".

Disaster occurred during the encore when the guitar amp packed in - just as they were about to sing Save it For Later. Ranking Junior stepped up to deliver a few words about saving the day until the sound of guitar filled the room again and Ranking Roger said "now that's what I call an upgrade"

That's one of the reasons I like Roger so much. He always looks sooooo proud of his son Ranking Junior. And he always looks so happy. He sings, he dances around and he just grins all the way through it. I truly believe that he would be one of the few celebrities who wouldn't turn out to be an arrogant twat if you met him!! (Glenn Tilbrooke from Squeeze is the other celebrity at the top of my list - in fact I only have 2 people on my list - and I have it on good authority from other people who met him that he really is a very nice bloke when you meet him!)

So I was pleased to get a nod and a smile from Ranking Roger - whether that is because he clocked that I was dressed as the Beat Girl or whether it was because I gave him a big smile when he looked in my direction I don't know...he may well have been grinning at someone behind me, or maybe he just had wind!! Maybe He thought "Bloody hell are those 2 here again???"

I dare say we will be there again...we just can't stop it!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Holiday diets

Well the countdown is on to my summer first summer holiday in 4 years, and my first holiday with BBE. First holiday with a boyfriend is huge isn't it? The last (and only) time I went on holiday with a boyfriend I broke up with him as soon as we returned. Seems like holidays can make or break a relationship.

Our holiday may well test us to the limit. Did I mention that my entire family are coming too? My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary recently and my siblings and I decided to pay for the whole family to go abroad for a week.

The in-laws plus hot sunshiney weather equals the worst holiday ever...but what makes BBE the Best Boyfriend Ever is his ability to understand (after a little guilt trip followed by barefaced blackmail) when he needs to do stuff he doesn't want to do just because I really want him to. And I don't make him do stuff he doesn't want to do very often...afterall I'm the Best Bird Ever!

So the last time my family saw me in a bikini I was still a teenager with a wierd anorexic looking underweight type body. Now I'm worried that the RSPCA might start poking me with sticks mistaking me for a beached whale.

I'm more concerned about getting my kit off in front of my family than in front of BBE. Whenever I complain about weight gain he cheers and quotes the Bare Naked Ladies at me "She's like a baby I'm like a cat, when we're happy we both get fat" he doesn't get fat though, the miserable git! Although he kindly insists he's getting a bit of a belly!

So naturally given that there's a holiday in the near future my thoughts turn to diets...but as with all thoughts of diets they immedietly get over taken by an overwhelming need to eat chocolate. In fact, the closer the holiday gets the more chocolate I eat.

So instead I've decided it would be better to take one for the team and just stay a bit overweight so that everyone else will feel better!


Good plan!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The New Doctor

Well I've waited a few days to see what everyone else is saying before sharing my views on the Eleventh Doctor, and frankly I dunno what the problem is.

Doctor Who, is magical, whoever plays him, whichever generation he is, he's this magical man who travels through time and space saving whichever planet he turns up on. The man is a legend. Close your eyes and say Doctor Who and 9 times out of 10 you're going to picture Tom Baker, because that scarf just screams Doctor Who, but then maybe immedietly after picturing Tom Baker he'll be replaced by the current Doctor because he's freshest in your mind.

I've read and heard so many people complaining that it just wont be the same without David Tennant, and of course it won't be - just like the David Tennant era wasn't the same as Christopher Eccleston or Peter Davidson or Patrick Troughton or, well you get the point.

The Doctor owns a time machine, he saves the world, he talks to aliens on a daily basis, he has so many interesting stories to tell. He has gadgets galore, he's a genius. He's quite probably the most billiant living being ever...what's not to like there then?

It doesn't matter who is playing him - the mere concept of him is brilliant, awe-inspiringly brilliant!

Matt Smith played the part perfectly as far as I can see, but then, was there ever any doubt? There shouldn't have been. The Doctor is The Doctor, he's lovable, eccentric, funny, kind and utterly brilliant, and always will be no matter who plays him... after all he is just the same man in a different body.

It comes as no suprise to hear females bemoaning the loss of the Tenth Doctor, because let's be honest the Doctor was never famed for his good looks, but then good looks are a matter of taste. David Tennant is a handsome man indeed...although I have to admit that as much as I found myself attracted to him when he was fiddling with his sonic screwdriver, in anything else I was quite uninterested.

Go on admit only fancy David Tennant when he's the Doctor and you'll all be swooning over Matt Smith within a fortnight - I am fairly certain I will be anyway, but then I've always had a thing for geeky men - and believe me, geek is a state of mind, not a fashion statement.

Having watched the Eleventh Hour for a second time I can quite honestly say "oh yes, that'll do nicely"

Friday, 22 January 2010

Digital Piracy Rocks the Music Industry

So I read an article today about how Digital piracy is responsible for the decrease in sales of both hard copy music and downloads from legal download sites such as Itunes and Spotify.

Maybe it's just time for a change? Isn't it an exciting thought that actually people might get to have their own say about what they like? There's very little need for a recording contract with a record company anymore as digital recording software is easy to buy and easy to use. Bands can make some pretty damn fine "demos" in their rehearsal room and actually the quality most times is every bit as good as anything you can buy in the shops.

So you record your demo, then you load it onto MySpace for all the world to see, or you put it on Itunes to sell or you leak it to a site where people can download it illegaly for free.

Rather than bemoaning the falling sales maybe the music industry needs to look at this as a chance to change the way it operates. For years the public has been at the mercy of A&R people, huge companies deciding what we should listen to. They pay huge amounts of money to media to ensure that their next big thing is on the cover of the right magazines and played every 10 minutes on the radio. They saturate the market until even those of us with our own minds can't avoid hearing it. The media tells us what to think all the time, whether it's what music we should like, what constitutes attractive in the celebrity world or how thin we should be.

And ok, maybe we should feel sorry for the artists, those people who have worked hard on crafting their masterpieces only to find no one is buying them but everyone has a copy on their Ipod all the same.

But how sorry should we feel for the artist? ok so no one is buying their records, but when they sign a contract and recieve a huge multimillion pound non refundable advance payment against royalties, they're not the ones losing out are they? Nope. It's the record company that loses out because they never recoup the money back if no one buys the records.

And even if sales did impact on the artist, do we really care? Do they really deserve all the money when all they're likely to do is snort it up their nose anyway?

There will always be some bands you love so much you will buy every format that comes out, I myself recently acquired vinyl copies of the 3 original albums by The Beat, an honest to goodness hard working band, that gig constantly and keep smiling. I would like to hope that they earn enough from gigging to make a decent living, because they are my favourite band to watch and long may they continue to tour.

Maybe that is the key. Where in the past live tours were seen as a marketing expense to promote an album, perhaps the industry needs to stop bemoaning the falling record sales and shift their focus. Make records a marketing expense to promote a live tour. Instead of recording deals they can offer promotion deals, if they think a band is good enough they can raise their profile and make them celebrities so they can sell out stadiums at ?75 a ticket.

Although that wont appeal to everyone, some people like the small gig experience. but then again some people like buying CDs. The Music industry is never going to please everyone, but if they shift their focus they may find they at least still have an industry to call their own.