This is The Tea Song (from Yorkshire Tea), full of amazing FACTS about the healing properties of the cup that cheers!
"Charlotte Blacker (Stompy the Bear) is back and made this little dreamy world for a little girl who LOVES mud to romp around in. I love that she has red hair just like Rachel Flotard who sings with me on this song. Enjoy and stay dirty kids!"
SONG OF THE DAY: BMX Bandits - Getting Dirty *
Greater Manchester Police has teamed up with the cast of cop show Scott & Bailey to help raise money for Joshua Wilson, a local boy who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2004. Officers from the Prestwich and Whitefield Neighbourhood Policing Team, the Chief Constable and cast of Scott & Bailey demonstrate their best Gangnam dance moves in a video for the Whitefield student.
Joshua was diagnosed with his first brain tumour when he was just three years old and intrusive surgery means that he now has severe neuromuscular disabilities that require a fully adapted home. His family needs to raise £25,000 to pay for a ceiling track hoist, special building work and other basic equipment.
GMP’s film features the Chief Constable fronting a mock press conference to help track down one of GMP’s most notorious villains, none other than Joshua. Inspector Mark Kenny from the Prestwich and Whitefield Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Joshua loves the police and when he got in touch to see if there was anything we could do to help, we were only too happy to help out.
For more information or to donate, please visit www.superjosh.org.uk
In which our vertically illustrious heroine appears as Yoko ("I'm Japanese..."), assistant to Nathan Lane's Lagerfeld-esque gallery owner. Love that sequinned beret. Not sure about the monobrow.
* SONG OF THE DAY: The Pet Shop Boys - Absolutely Fabulous *
The regulars of The Grapes. Image via www.comedy.co.uk
I've been watching the box set of Early Doors again for the first time in ages. There are a gazillion beautiful one-liners I could quote you, but here's a gorgeous belly laugh courtesy of pub regulars Joan and Eddie:
Joan: "Did you hear about Giro Jim?"
Eddie: "Oooooooh, can I tell the story Joan?"
Joan: "He was in here on Saturday night, and he was feeling peckish, so he called the Peking Palace and ordered his chicken and eggy fried rice to be delivered to his house. He then walked round and went in and said 'Have you get a delivery for Giro Jim? Yes they said - Well, I'm Giro Jim... will you give me a lift?"
Eddie: "And ate his eggy fried rice on the way!!"
* SONG OF THE DAY: Lily Allen - Chinese *
My very dear friend Joe, who is like the big brother I never had, has reached 40! He is not very impressed by this. I wanted to make a special card for him, and it took a long time to come up with the idea, but I'm pleased with how it came out.
Flicking through an old scrapbook, I spotted a page I'd torn from a copy of Scripture Union's bible fanzine, 'disclosure', featuring a wonderful devotional aid from renowned preacher Reverend Gerald Ambulance:
We asked Rev Gerald Ambulance to bring a prophetic word to really speak into your situation. This is the best he could come up with.Reverend Gerald Ambulance now ministers online at Ship Of Fools. :)
Beloved siblings, I have sought the Lord for a word. I sought him by day and I sought him by night, and then in the morning there he was - everywhere. Just like he always is. So that was worth it.
I covered the subject with much prayer, fasting and transubstantiated communion wine. And lo, as I lay on the kitchen floor, the Lord came to me in a dream, and an infallibly spooky vision was manifest unto me.
And behold I saw a beach, with two pairs of footprints on it. And I said,
'Oh no, not that one again Lord! That is so 'Eighties'. The editor will throttle me.'
And he said, 'Just bear with me, OK?'
'All right,' I said. 'Let me guess. This is my life, yes?'
'You and me walking along together, yes?'
'You got it.'
'Then how is it that at the places when times get hard there is only one set of footprints?'
And the Lord said, 'That, my child, is when we were hopping.'
I've just discovered 'bad craft' site Regretsy, and I haven't laughed so much in ages! Regretsy (tagline 'Handmade? It looks like you made it with your feet.') trawls Etsy for examples of truly excruciating handiwork and takes the p*** mercilessly.
They're currently mining a particularly rich seam of Twilight fan art. Other enticing categories include Dead Things, Pet Humiliation and Spelling Issues. It's a guilty pleasure, in the same vein as red carpet fashion site Go Fug Yourself. For more bad craft, there's also Craftastrophe and Glitter Gone Bad.
* SONG OF THE DAY: McAlmont and Butler - What's The Excuse This Time? *
We were walking to Hove Library when Dad (hairy everywhere except his head) let out a cry of distress at this poster in the window of the hairdressers next door!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Super Furry Animals - Ice Hockey Hair *
Bryn and Nessa perform 'Islands in the Stream' on 'Gavin and Stacey' (c) BBC Three
'Islands in the Stream' - the Kenny Rogers / Dolly Parton duet - is one of my favourite songs, and I loved seeing Bryn and Nessa performing it at Gwen's birthday party on Gavin and Stacey. Then today I heard that Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon have recorded it, in character, as this year's Comic Relief single!
Bryn and Nessa's version will be known as 'Barry Islands In The Stream' (!) and comes out on 8th March.
Tom Jones and Robin Gibb make guest appearances on the track, and in the video too (filmed at the World Karaoke Championships in Las Vegas) where apparently it's hinted that Nessa and Tom are old flames! I won't lie to you, I'm really looking forward to seeing it, I am!
The other day The Blonde got herself an upgrade and,as has become traditional, gave me her old handset. So I put aside my nearly-dead Nokia 6610 and stepped into the brave new(ish) world of the Motorola SLVR. But before I did, I had to preserve for posterity a number of special text messages I had saved.
There was the touching message a friend sent me just before I went on a blind date (lovely bloke, no chemistry):
The one which arrived on my 30th birthday, from the friend who'd been too pregnant to come to my birthday do the night before...
...and this gem, from a German friend (who had taken her boyfriend back to Bavaria to make an honest man of him) whose first experience of England was... can you guess?... Sheffield!
Look what I got for Christmas!!! Since I started living on my own, I've got into the habit of watching Charlie and Lola on CBeebies at teatime, and I love it to pieces, so my Mum bought me a C&L plate to eat my dinner off!
There's an exhibition of the wonderful author and illustrator Lauren Child's work touring UK museums currently. Green Drops and Moonsquirters: The Utterly Imaginative World of Lauren Child has been at Manchester Art Gallery (check out their minisite for the exhibition) and will be at Sheffield's Weston Park Museum until 15 February 2009. I'm hoping it will come down south at some point but I can't find any info about where it will go next.
For Christmas 1987, aged thirteen, I got my first Walkman, and Rick's first album, Whenever You Need Somebody (on cassette of course!). My feelings for Rick were fairly pure - I was a late bloomer - but I did have his double-page pullout poster from Smash Hits on my bedroom wall.
He's obviously taken this unexpected attention in good humour - he's just made a surprise appearance in the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in front of millions of TV viewers (see above)! What a thoroughly bloody nice bloke... and he doesn't seem to have aged in twenty years!
When I was eight, my teacher got our class to fill out a questionnaire about our favourite type of TV programmes. I remember wanting to put my tick next to 'Comedy', but giving in to pressure from the other kids on my table, who were all voting for 'Animals'!
So I'm chuffed to bits that there's a fantastic new sketch show specially for kids, Sorry, I've Got No Head. The cast includes Marcus Brigstocke and Mel Giedroyc, as well as several other less familiar faces, (including Anna Crilly, who appears in BBC3's Touch Me, I'm Karen Taylor).
Characters include an easily pissed-off Witchfinder, some very nervy Vikings and a man who can't resist doing the Mexican Wave. My favourite bit is when we visit the tiny Scottish island of North Barasay, where the headmistress goes ahead with sports days, quizzes and school plays despite having only one, not so talented pupil, the hapless Ross. Last Friday's episode saw Dracula being scared off with some garlic bread. :)
Go on, watch some Sorry, I've Got No Head clips on YouTube.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Basement Jaxx – Where's Your Head At? *
Legoactivist via YouTube.com
Both via Indymedia:
"A group of 12 Christians who have spent the week making tea for activists at the Camp for Climate Action today prayed outside the Kingsnorth power plant as part of the "Orange Action"... Praying for forgiveness for all the damage the plant has created during its life-time, and singing simple chants, they were determined to show that Christians are waking up to the need for action to prevent Catastrophic Climate Change."
"E.ON’s replica of the Kingsnorth coal-fired power station has been occupied by one inch tall climate change campaigners. The drama unfolded at the Legoland park in Windsor – sponsored by E.ON – where the Lego Kingsnorth is given pride of place next to Big Ben and Canary Wharf... Lego police are in attendance at the foot of the tower, along with a Lego police helicopter. Neither the campaigners nor the police would comment, because they’re made of Lego and therefore can’t talk."
A great day out today has really lifted my spirits. Good company, a change of scene, some culture, some shopping and some good food have done me the world of good.
Sarah, the Blonde and I went up to the Big Smoke to see the Kylie show at the V&A. I'd already seen it but it's free and they wanted to go so I didn't mind seeing it again at all. Lunch at the V&A wasn't cheap but at least the £7 sarnie the Blonde and I bought to share for economy reasons turned out to be huge and delicious.
Then we snuggled on a Surrealist sofa in the foyer...
Then off to Tottenham Court Road to lose myself in the wonders of Paperchase, and on to Oxford Street Topshop so Blonde could enlarge her sock collection and drool at anything with skulls on. I picked up a couple of David Shrigley cards for my wall - this one cos I've always loved it and this one to make me smile in the face of necessary medication. And, one trip to Schuh later, the Blonde had happy feet.
We headed over to Wardour Street (having warned Sarah about the loos) for lovely Thai food, but stopped off first at Soho Square so I could see Kirsty MacColl's memorial bench - every other time I've looked for it the place has been too crowded, so it was lovely to find it and have my picture taken sitting on it.
After dinner there was an unplanned stop for a crepe before getting the bus back to Victoria, very very full and completely knackered... but happy.
Because I love bluegrass, and I love pop. Because I love unusual cover versions. Because I heard Nickel Creek's performance of Britney Spears' Toxic on Radio 2's coverage of the Cambridge Folk Festival yesterday and I'd love to go there one year. Because unfortunately the word 'toxic' has sprung to mind too many times today.
This is Pickwick, a dodo. She's a birthday pressie for Sarah, to whom I recently introduced the Thursday Next series of fantasy novels by Jasper Fforde.
Thursday is a literary detective who lives in a parallel world which is pretty similar to ours but with some notable exceptions. Books are so important to everyone that they are the subject of organised crime, fraud and extortion. Come Saturday night, there are city centre fights between opposing gangs - those who reckon Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays, and those who credit Marlowe. It's 1985 but The Crimean War is still going, Wales is a socialist republic, croquet is the national sport and technology allows for extinct species to be cloned - hence Thursday's pet dodo, Pickwick.
I mentioned in a previous post that I'd heard about a book called The Eyre Affair, where characters jumped into the classic Jane Eyre (possibly my all-time favourite book) and messed about with the plot. I was intrigued and got hold of a copy - and absolutely loved it. It's incredibly funny, gripping and full of clever ideas, skewed logic and bad literary puns. The other books in the series - Lost In A Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots and Something Rotten - are all fantastic. Inside the BookWorld, characters from books amuse themselves however they like whilst not needed for the narrative (Marianne Dashwood has a fag break, Rochester shows Japanese tourists around Thornfield).
BookWorld is policed by Jurisfiction, whose many duties include catching PageRunners (characters who have got bored of their own book and run off to something more exciting) and running group anger management sessions for the cast of Wuthering Heights (faciliated by Jurisfiction operative Miss Havisham). Unpublished books languish in the Well of Lost Plots, constantly at risk of being broken up for Text.
Jasper Fforde's other novels, The Big Over Easy and his new release, The Fourth Bear (details here) are the first two in the Nursery Crime series. Those are still in my 'To Read' pile for when I've finished Something Rotten. A new Thursday Next book, The War of the Words, is due in July 2007.
Sarah (a librarian) and I met Jasper Fforde last night at his reading/signing for The Fourth Bear at Waterstones in Brighton and he's a Thoroughly Bluddy Nice Chap. S showed him her new dodo. I'd got it by mail order from the gift shop of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (and accessorised with it with a name tag) - and Jasper said that he'd got the idea for cloned dodos from visiting that same museum years ago. Curiouser and curiouser...
Jasper's endlessly amusing official website is: www.jasperfforde.com
Independent: The Fourth Bear By Jasper Fforde
Wikipedia: Jasper Fforde
Writers Write: A Conversation With Jasper Fforde
January Magazine: Interview: Jasper Fforde
The Zone: Interview: Jasper Fforde
BBC Wiltshire: Jasper Fforde's alternative Swindon
British Council (Poland, 7th October 2005): Interview - Jasper Fforde
Film Four advert for 'Film Free Is Free' campaign
I just love the 'Film Four is free' advert on the telly at the moment. It's a joy, full of beautifully-timed comic moments.
I love it when Lucy Liu mutters, "Muppets..." whilst observing Christian Slater and Ray Winstone's dodgy billboard pasting, I love Willem Dafoe's expression as he encourages Mackenzie Crook and I LOVE the moment when Dame Judi Dench, dressed as a LOBSTER for goodness sake, raises her pinchers aloft and trills, "FREE!" while Ewan MacGregor's confused tomato looks on.
If you're suffering from Green Wing withdrawal symptoms, quick fixes can be found at YouTube - loads of clips and compilations on there now and more appearing every day as Green Wing fans upload their particular favourite scene.
Knitted Green Wing finger puppets (c) green-knit-wing.livejournal.com
It had to happen (and I'm very glad it has): knitted finger puppets of the main characters from Green Wing - starring in exclusive episodes! By Rose @ Hullfire.
Ladies and gentlemen - for all those who still have horrible colds and all who are wondering exactly when it's going to get any warmer despite it being nearly MAY... I give you the witty and talented PaMdora's wonderful In Bed With A Bad Cold quilt. Yes, QUILT. Click on the pic for more detail.
The fabulous British Sitcom Guide's newsletter has made my day by informing me that one of my favourite sitcoms ever is coming out on DVD. I taped episodes of All Quiet On The Preston Front off the telly years ago, but have been afraid to watch them lately in case the aging tape finally chews up and I lose them forever. But now I can bin them and watch a shiny DVD!
'Preston Front' was based in a fictional Lancashire town called Roker Bridge, and followed the day jobs and love lives of a bunch of Territorial Army bods. Colin Buchanan, now one half of Dalziel and Pascoe, who played lead character Hodge, who spent most of his time either with best mate Eric, or secret lovechild Kirsty - product of his affair with Jeanetta - played by Caroline Pickles (most recently seen as Shelley in Emmerdale). Geeky teacher Spock was played first by Stephen Tompkinson and then by Alistair McGowan; and Caroline Catz (The Bill, Murder in Suburbia, Doc Martin) played Eric's girlfriend Dawn.
I loved clumsy but well-meaning man mountain Lloydy (Adrian Hood, who later did a lovely turn as Norman the delivery man in Victoria Wood's dinnerladies). One golden moment involved him encouraging Hodge to practice for his driving test in the van from local Chinese restaurant, Roman Holiday:
"Honest Hodge, the gearboxes are dead similar and having that noodle bowl loose on top makes y'concentrate. It's like them Maori women that learn to walk with pots on their heads."15/06/06 EDITED TO ADD: Series 2 will be out on DVD on July 3 2006! Newton's Laws of Television: The Preston Front MBuster: All Quiet On The Preston Front (screen shots from each episode)
I've put together a Squidoo 'lens' for Green Wing - with links to quotes, press coverage, interviews, web chats, fan sites, video clips, photos and info on individual cast members:
There's lots there so far, and more on the way.
"...What he does is ask for scalpels in regional accents, and taunt Tamsin Greig into trying to kiss him, then running away..."
My Green Wing series 1 DVD arrived today! (Currently cheapest online at Woolies.) I tried to be good and tape the re-runs, but the tape got chewed up during episode four, so the Blonde and I are going Dutch on the DVD.
Sunday Times: interview with Tamsin Greig, including a bit about her Christian faith.
Manchester Evening News: Tamsin wings in as Doc Caroline
Telegraph: Victoria Pile - Green Wing's midwife and surgeon
Sunday Herald: Michelle Gomez - Ready, Steady, Gomez
Oh dear... it seems that, at my suggestion, Dave is considering seeing out a feared London flood by sitting on a cushion at the top of a hatstand lashed to the roof of his campervan, with a washing basket full of snacks, and a good book (or The Good Book).
Excellent! Dara O' Briain's getting his own chat show (well, if the pilot goes well). Ever since I saw him do a fantastic guest slot on Jack Dee Live At The Apollo, I've wanted to see him live. Missed him at the Comedy Festival the other month cos it was a mate's birthday, but hopefully he'll be back in Brighton soon - maybe in May for the Fringe.
At last! News of the second series of Green Wing! Via Vogue, of all things - a double page spread in their 'things to look out for this winter' special. I've been checking Amazon for a Green Wing DVD every week since the first series ended, but still no joy - but this gives me faint hope, that it might be released when the new series airs.
Then an update comes in from the excellent British Sitcom Guide:
"Channel 4 have now confirmed with us that series two will be broadcast in the UK in March 2006... We've also got a spokesman at C4 to confirm that they will indeed be repeating the first series in the weeks leading up to the broadcast of series 2.
We've also asked Channel 4 about the DVD and now have a firm answer from them. I think we're the first source to break this news: The DVD will be out March 2006. For sure. Although its been a bit of a wait the DVD certainly won't be a let down. When the boxset does eventually arrive not only will it have all the episodes on but will also be crammed full of bonuses. The extras, we can exclusively reveal, will include some brilliant deleted scenes, a really interesting behind the scenes documentary and loads of other funky things like, for example, a video of the writers playing Guy Ball."
42short loses his cool:
"Sometimes you think you're so cool, then you're eating an apple in the breakroom at work when a sneeze catches you off guard and little flecks of apple shoot out of your mouth and into your hand. That's right, ladies - all of this can be yours."
I was dead chuffed to see that Laura Cantrell, one of my favourite singers, has renamed the stations and lines on the NYC Subway Map to pay tribute to her musical heroines (most of whom I'm ashamed to say I've never heard of) and flag up the free download of 14th Street, a track from her latest album, Humming By The Flowered Vine:
"This map places some the women artists I most admire along the subway lines of New York City, where I live. There isn't much organizing principle, other than the color-coded categories and the kick of seeing Rose Maddox's line crossing Hazel Dickens en route to Brooklyn..."
I love maps, and art made from or about maps. There's Simon Patterson's The Great Bear (1992), which I think was the first instance of someone renaming the stations on an underground map. (The title refers to the constellation Ursa Major, a punning reference to Patterson's own arrangement of 'stars'.) I also like JP 233 In CSO Blue, where he's renamed stars and constellations.
Then there's my longterm favourite Tom Phillips (see his 20 Sites n Years project), and Harry Beck, not a artist but a draughtsman - the man who designed the London Tube map. And ever since I heard about how Damon Albarn from Blur wrote the gorgeous This Is A Low by looking at the names on a shipping forecast map hankerchief, I've wished I had one (see item 80 on this page for a full explanation). It was from Stanfords in Covent Garden - one day I'll get round to going along to see if they still stock them.
Finally, I can't resist quoting some underground map-based innuendo from Friends (when they were all in London for Ross and Emily's wedding):
Judy Geller: Oh sorry we're late, my fault. I insisted on riding the tube.
Jack Geller: Judy? The kids...
Judy Geller: Jack, that's what they call the subway.
"The toilets at a local police station have been stolen. Police say they have nothing to go on."Sad news today - Ronnie Barker has died. Ronnie and his comedy partner Ronnie Corbett were a big part of my childhood. The Two Ronnies and Porridge were regular viewing in our house, but most beloved was Open All Hours - still one of the finest British sitcoms ever written, starring Barker as Yorkshire shopkeeper Arkwright and David Jason as his hapless nephew, errand boy Granville. The phrase 'like Arkwright's till' has entered familial vocabulary - used to describe any dangerously belligerent (seemingly) inanimate object.
"Over six weeks, New Zealand's fourth most popular folk parody band attempt to crack the UK's lucrative novelty music scene with songs such as 'Frodo, don't wear the ring'. Despite the fact The Conchords did appear in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings (do an internet search of the word 'Figwit' if you would like proof) this song was not featured on the original soundtrack, partly explaining why the band left New Zealand in the first place."Best bit so far? When the band call Neil Finn to ask if Jemaine should or should not engage in a three-way with their only two fans...
(Loud Dalek voices): WE ARE THE DALEKS!!!
Dalek 1: No we're not, no we're not - we're just innocent, God-fearing citizens...la, la, laaa...
Dalek 2 (suspiciously): What have you done?
D1: You know the gas man was coming to read the meter?
D1: I forgot, and he... he startled me.
D2: Which one did he look like then?
D1: He was a bit Tom Baker-ish. He's in pieces on the floor. I think he's dead.
D2: As a rule, when one is in pieces one IS dead. You HAVE to get over this irritational paranoia that everyone is Doctor Who! The milkman has his head zapped clean off, because he was a little on the Patrick Troughton-ish side. The lollipop lady, heaven knows why, reminded you of Jon Pertwee and the poll tax collector ended up a steaming pile of goo on the doorstep!
D1: I just felt like nuking him...
D2: It's got to stop!
D1: Aaagh! Peter Davison!!
D2: Er - no - Jehovah's Witnesses...
D1: Oh, nice one!
(Both) LEAVE IT.
I went into the Newsnight website to find a clip of Jeremy Paxman dematerialising, Dr Who-style, at the end of last night's programme - made me laugh out loud (as it did my colleagues when I replayed to them this morning). While I was there, signed up for the newsletter, which has just arrived. And I'd put good money on Annie getting some PRS money from tonight's programme...
"Gum: And with Ken Livingstone now waging war on the gum that sticks to pavements and shoes, we'll be revealing why chewing gum achieved the status of cool, revealing a secret chewing gum war, and asking how we came to be stuck with it. Personally, I stick mine under the Newsnight desk. Join us at 10.30pm on BBC2. Kirsty."
Whilst researching virtual exhibitions at the National Railway Museum's site, I spotted this page on the Shinkansen bullet train, which reminded me of the witty and illuminating newsletters from Matt at Shinkansen Records which I used to enjoy reading in my fanzine days. Matt is now involved in writing Smoke: A London Peculiar, excerpts from which you can read on their site.
'If the words won’t come, I’ll simply stop, put on my coat, and set my controls for the heart of the city; the streets of London are teeming with untold and unimagined stories, we just need to step in their way. Other times, I’ll put on someone else’s coat, and hide in their wardrobe – people get really upset when they think their clothes have come alive...'
PS: Speaking of 'my fanzine days', I'm also shocked to note the name of this photographer - not the Stephen Eastwood who used to referee Planet Sound/The Void on Teletext, surely? And suddenly disappeared from said post with no warning? And interviewed Cyndi Lauper in her fabulous flat for Select magazine? Maybe just my imagination...