You can’t polish a turd…

You really can’t, you can roll it in glitter, stick stars on it, but no matter how you dress it up it’s still a piece of shit.

The opening line is my favourite saying and it can be applied to so many things, objects, places and my favourite, people.

Everyone has come across places where money has been invested, but for some reason it still looks like crap. An example of this is the People’s Republic of Reading. You go into the town centre there is a god awful street which has all the chav/ yobbo bars down (Friar Street), all changing names as regular as changing your underwear. From there you go head towards Broad Street after passing several skanks on a 50m walk. One end of Broad Street is ok, there is a massive shopping centre which is relatively new with restaurants and bars opening on the riverside. Sounds lovely, but there is no culture and it’s all very generic, you could be in any shopping centre within the UK.

Back on Broad Street, take a walk past John Lewis and the shops change to those cheap ones that appear selling Xmas wrap and facilities to unlock mobile phones, this is the poor end of town (underhand segregation, keep the classes apart!). While one side is given a facelift the other is left in disrepair like a failed 70’s high street. It’s not just this bleakness that I dislike about Reading, but it’s the lack of culture, historical architecture, uniqueness. It’s got to be one of the most uninspiring towns you could possibly visit in the UK. Even the theatre The Hexagon is in an awful building located just off the fly over, not pleasant.

There is nothing unique or classy about Reading, you arrive and it sucks the life out of you, no massive green areas or parks in the town centre (Forbury gardens doesn’t count-too small), just a town that looks like it saw its best days 200 years ago before they tore down anything good.

Reading, you can’t polish a turd.

 

The saying can be applied to people too. Manners, respect for self and others cost nothing, it’s a mindset and part of your personality. Too many people are wrapped up in their own egos that they fail to see what is going on in the world around them and the impact of their behaviour. We’ve all come across someone who is so rude and self absorbed, believing that because they earn a certain amount of money or they own status symbols or they believe the world owes them, that they have a right to be a shit to others? Well they don’t. You can’t polish a turd. Say that to the next person that you hear being rude or underhanded, it will take them a while to figure out what you mean.   

Dr Who Official 50th Birthday Celebration

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Yesterday I was one of the thousands of Whovian’s who made their way to the Excel arena Docklands for the official Dr Who 50th Birthday Celebrations.

Now I am not a hard core Whovian, I stumbled across the Dr by force of my work colleagues at the time, (circa 2009) I would come into work after the weekend and all that was talked about for the remainder of the week was Dr Who; the review of the episode where the story was going etc. After much resistance I gave in and began watching them on BBC Three after work in the evenings, I became hooked. I went and brought the box sets that had been released up to that point and a few months later I found myself on a road trip with 3 of my colleagues to the exhibition in Cardiff. To top this road trip the driver SudoOne had downloaded the theme tune music and played it in the car as we went over the Seven bridge into Wales. Oh yes we were Whovians and I had been transformed into a Geek. The rest they say is history.

So there I was making my way on the tube and the DLR across town to the celebrations, not knowing what to expect. Was it going to be some sort of Sci-fi convention with people who were so entrenched in their interest that there was no other world? I was about to find out.

Fans had travelled from all around the world to this convention and there were some serious hard core Whovian’s; individuals and whole families in character costumes for the occasion. I will admit I did raid my wardrobe before hand to see if I had anything that I could wear that would resemble a companion/ character, unfortunately not! I must do better in future.

Included in our ticket price we had 3 different panel sessions to attend:

  • Regenerations
  • The Eleventh Hour
  • SFX Show

In addition there were smaller panels, costumes/ props and merchandise. You could pay an additional £15 to have a signing with a companion, a previous doctor or a Tardis photo. For those wanting to spend a bit more there was the opportunity to meet Matt Smith for an autograph and photo, needless to say this was sold out way in advanced.

The Regenerations panel featured Colin Baker, Peter Davidson and Sylvester McCoy. Clips were shown and discussions had including an interactive Q&A with us the audience. It was here that I heard about the mini episode that The Resident Weeble blogged about yesterday.  It was great to see 3 of the previous doctors in action and to hear about their stories of went on whilst filming on set, funny moments they had experienced and what they most enjoyed about playing The Doctor.

My personal favourite panel (I’m sure was the same for the majority who attended) was The Eleventh Hour: Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffat and director Nick Hurran. It was great to see them all looking so relaxed at how well received Saturday nights broadcast had been. There was a lot of praise from each individual on stage to each other, much talk about Peter Capaldi’s eyebrows, nothing given away on how he will be playing The Doctor ‘Spoilers,’ however jokes were said about the air inside the Tardis being as blue as the paint on the outside. I guess his well known roll as Malcolm ‘The Fucker’ Tucker has some thinking that the Spin Doctor will transfer across to The Doctor. Either way I’m sure he will bring a new dimension to the character which I for one cannot wait to see.

What was mentioned by the panel, was in the Christmas special there will be a good one liner that Clara comes out with that will be legendary, it contains the word ‘bubbles’.

The final panel SFX show was inspiring. We were treated to the head of special effects showing us some of the items they use on the set of Dr Who, things that have gone wrong whilst filming and once more an interactive Q&A with the audience.

I really loved the smaller panels and interactive sessions too. We were able to speak to the creature designers, actors who played the roles of the monsters/ aliens, prop creators, stunt team. The list was endless. It was all incredibly inspiring for both adults and children alike. It lit a fire inside me and my friends as to what would be fun to pursue, why you should never not think the impossible, here in front of us were people who loved their jobs and brought so much joy to millions around the world, was a humbling experience.

Here’s to Dr Who and long may it continue for another 50 years at least.

Day 17 28DW (Yes I’m still going with this 28DW- I will finish!) Tabloid Newspapers

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The British newspapers sicken me, not every single one but around 90%. Other countries around the world look at our papers and marvel at the choice due to the freedom of the press. Having variety doesn’t mean the news is quality.

Recently the Leveson enquiry took place that made a list of recommendations to the government about the national newspapers and what is wrong with them. Here is a list of the recommendations. http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780.asp

Summarising this, some of the papers were found to be sexist, racist and homophobic, which anyone who has enough common sense and not a Tory can see, spreading hatred and prejudices. I often wonder who buy these papers because if you want real up to date news you would look on twitter or go online, which means whatever is printed is already out of date. But clearly some people do otherwise they still wouldn’t be around!

Only in the UK could you get newspapers that anyone can buy with women topless or posing in a manner of positions and it be considered ok? The Sun. Sarah 19 from Kent wants to ‘change the world’, so why get your breasts out enforcing that belief to the men who look at it, that it’s ok to objectify women and you know what? You can go up to a woman in the street or on a night out and ogle at her breasts and it’s ok to grab her instead, (I’ve seen it happen). It’s not just the picture that is wrong; it’s the way the stories are written in that paper plus others about how they view women which reinforces the objectifying and bad treatment of women more.

We can’t rule out the Daily Express and Daily Mail either. They objectify the middle class woman instead, the woman they photograph are clothed, but once more it’s the style at which they write which instead of a thick shit reading it, it is a 40-50 year old Tory supporter reading it grabbing his man hood instead.  It’s more subtle but it’s still there. With these papers we have headlines about:

  • Benefit scrounging Britain
  • Number of immigrant’s
  • Lack of jobs for the white British person

The underlying racial hatred is disgusting; I don’t know how the editors of either paper haven’t been charged with spreading racial hatred. All of their stories aren’t based on facts; it’s all scare mongering, reinforcing the people who read these papers of their prejudices and justifying them.

After my previous blog post about the Girls Aloud concert I reviewed, I was on a train home from London on the Monday night to discover that in the Evening Standard an article written by a man named Andre (forgot his surname because believe me if I could find this tosser on twitter and give him a piece of my mind, I would), had been at the same concert as me. His review was written in a very different style, detailing the girls in skimpy outfits, not much dancing and had written it from a perspective that he was in a strip club and the girls were there to dance provocatively for him. Well the girls did do their set dance routines, they did sing live and they put on a fabulous show that got all the audience involved. At no point did they insinuate or simulate sex, any man in attendance getting a hard on must have been a sexual pest and should have been removed (he would have been the only straight guy there). Again he had written it from a chauvinistic point of view objectifying women- shame on you Andre You Cunt!

I was lucky enough to be a performer in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics (one of the 1000 drummers in the Industrial Revolution), we got into rehearsal one evening in the stadium to discover that the Evening Standard had gone over in a blimp the earlier in the day, taking photos of a set that was half dressed (mid way through a change as they were testing things), with a full write up of assumptions which they listed to their readers as factual, which were incorrect and sending a message out that the ceremony was going to be a disaster and Danny Boyle had no idea what he was doing. Again utter bollocks, factually incorrect and putting the doom and gloom into Londoners that it is all shit. For anyone who watched it, you know how amazing and thought provoking it was.

The person behind a large proportion of the British press? That’s right it’s that all loving Australian that seems to dodge any form of prosecution as he never knew- Rupert Murdoch, worst bit is he isn’t even British so god knows why he is allowed to own a chunk of these papers and control the way in which the British public view the world.

One of my points to this piece, is when you have an individual who controls a large portion of the British press as well as a section of broadcasting (note I do not have Sky and I never will for that reason), there isn’t much freedom of the press as it’s all controlled and from the same source. What infuriates me more is that the recommendations from the Levison enquiry have been swept under the carpet by the government and the reason for this? The papers ultimately help the government win elections, they all have a biased in some form to a party and a few MP’s are in bed with papers which is why allowances are given. Very corrupt and no real freedom of the press! The only people that benefits are the MP’s – selfish!

My second point of the British press is that they influence their readers on a load of bull shit; everything is reported inaccurately. They write in such a negative style, creating prejudices and hatred towards women, homosexuals, ethnic minorities, non Christians, disabled people and anyone who is suffering day to day in angst.

Third point is the offending papers mentioned and a few more have writers/ journalists that often have no knowledge of the subject they are reporting giving an ill informed account. You only need to look at the Sunday Express and Sunday People’s headline today to see this.

I mean who writes about an alcoholic ex footballer who beat up his former wife and screwed up his family in such a rose tinted view, as looking tanned and radiant as they leave a rehab hospital. Um the yellow tan is because his liver is failing and this isn’t real news… That’s right, The Sunday People do.

The Sunday Express ran with a headline ‘Revenge of Saville Victim’ making a mockery of sexual abuse a woman has endured as a child.

If anyone who is reading this and buys any of these papers or goes onto their websites, please don’t. If you want real news, look at The Guardian, The Independent, I or www.democracynow.org

Day16 of 28DW- Girls Aloud Ten Tour

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Sexy! No No No

Sexy! No No No

Disco dancing with the lights down low…beats are thumping on a stereo…

After a manic week I went to see Girls Aloud on their ‘Ten’ tour. Ten representing the number of years the Girls have been going and their latest album which represents their hit songs so far and a few new ones. If you haven’t heard any of their music then I suggest you go onto YouTube to have a listen!

This is the 3rd time I’ve seen them in concert and I absolutely love them. Their fan base has grown up with them, which just shows the longevity and appeal they have. Good pop music, dance routines to match and 5 very different individual girls who have their own interests and lives outside of the group.

We had standing tickets (managed to position ourselves in the centre right by a mini stage that later they came across to perform on), best bit about this is room to dance like you are in a massive club.

They opened with Sound of The Underground and proceeded to take us down a trip on memory lane creating nostalgia for all of us. The costumes were amazing creating a different feel for each set. When ‘The Show’ struck up we were treated to a catwalk exhibition which resembled carnival queens, it was amazing and got the entire crowd pumped.

The girls are better now than they ever were before. Nicola Roberts has the most incredible voice which makes the hair on your arms stand up and has really come into her own, she looked absolutely stunning.

Halfway through the performance they came flying across to the centre stage on a light up moving platform of their name singing ‘Sexy No No No!’ we all went wild. The gorgeous dancers performing with the girls in the centre, really treating us to the wow factor. Where we were so close to the stage we go the privilege of seeing each of the girls up close smiling and interacting with us all- Cheryl giving us a wink, Kimberly smiling away at us and waving. It drove us all wild.

The finale of ‘I’ll Stand By You’ and ‘The Promise’ got us swaying and then doing our favourite dance routine. It was the best view I have ever had at a concert and for anyone going, you are in for a treat.

I came home with a sore throat from all the screeching I did and with a fond set of memories that I can’t wait to relive again when the DVD comes out.

If anyone from Girls Aloud is reading this (I wish) – Thank you. You are all truly beautiful and inspiring. Might I request that you bring out your own SIngstar game, and/or a fitness/ dance DVD for all the routines for your songs. I’m sure I won’t be alone in the queue for these items.

Cheryl, Kimberly, Nadine, Nicola and Sarah, here to the next 10 years!

Day 15 of 28DW – The North / South Divide

Apologies, I know I’ve been slack at this one a day blog post, but there are very good reasons for this and I will still be hammering out 28 days worth of blogs and continuing with the fun.

Now I am a true Southern Softie, I feel the cold, am convinced that nothing works outside the South East of England and that young boys up north still sweep chimneys (I’m kidding on that last bit). Part of this is because until my previous job, I had been up north twice in my entire life. I’d been on holiday in the South West to various parts of Devon and Cornwall but never the north. Couple of reasons for this:

  • I have no family outside of the London area who reside in this country, no excuse to visit
  • As a child you go on holiday with your parents- hence the yearly excursions to Cornwall
  • In the UK, majority of people go on holiday for warmer weather tend to head south or abroad

People who meet me might think that I hold the view anything above Watford is the north- not quite right, but I would say the Watford Gap services is the border for the Midlands and anything further up is North.

This weekend I was away visiting a friend in the Midlands- Derby. This was my second visit there to see her, but the first visit where I went out and explored the area.

The most obvious difference is people are friendly, much more friendly. They take more pride in English/ British goods, supporting their farmers and local trade (Denby Pottery). There are independent shops and not the chain store clone town look that so many high streets have in the south east. The markets are massive, selling fresh and reasonably priced local food: I didn’t once see a Tesco’s and where I live there are 3 within a 2 mile radius. People seem genuinely happier, simpler way of life not having to keep up with fast pace consumerism? We visited 2 pubs, both independently run, the alcohol was cheap, the bar staff friendly and they wave you goodbye when you leave, you could wear trainers and locals genuinely sat and chatted with each other. There was no one making a scene getting off their face, everyone was respectful and friendly to one another and not a chav in sight.

If you haven’t gone up to the north of the country, or your visiting from abroad, don’t just stick with London and Windsor, it won’t give you a true picture into what us Brits are really like, just the up their own arse obnoxious ones who look at you threateningly judging you!

To the North- the friendlier place to be!

Day 14 28DW- Car Number Plates

This piece is inspired by a twitter account called @ShitNumberPlate that I began following yesterday.

I have never understood why people have personalised car number plates; I mean your car comes with its own unique set of number plates so why pay through the nose for another set? Just seems like a waste of money, more money than sense. Or is it another way that someone can say ‘Look I’m Twat. I have a flash car with a personalised number plate that demonstrates bad use of the English language.’

These offensive number plates are often found on the back of cunt cars such as Audi’s, BMW’s and Chelsea tractors. The new rich? Possibly… Or a flash estate agent who is to into their own self image- you decide!

By Matthias93 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The reason why these number plates appear on cunt cars? Because the cunt cars also demonstrate a level of wealth and with that level of wealth an inability to indicate. Somehow, on paying through the nose for all of this, they were mis-sold their cunt car as it appears to have no indicators! If I was them, I would be taking the car and offending number plates back to the shop and demanding a refund.

I hate those drivers, they’ve given me road rage through writing!


Please check out the work of my fellow 28DW bloggers at The Resident Weeble and Sudo One

Day 13- Complimentary Therapies

I am a guinea pig (not the animal kind) for a reflexology student. Now when I told ‘The Boy’ that I was going to be doing this his response was more of a mini lecture on why it’s rubbish and founded on a load of tosh and it would be a waste, he wasn’t harsh with his words but he was dismissive. I’m a cynic too, I wasn’t expecting to cure anything (my hormones), but if I can help someone out through no cost to me then I will.

The deal is once a week for six weeks, the lovely reflexology student comes to my abode and works on my feet for an hour. I like her; she is straight talking yet has a warm demeanour and doesn’t claim that it cures things. She loves feet and is fascinated by them (not in a fetish way either), that is why she wants to work with them.

In reflexology the soles of your feet are mapped out, different areas represent different organs and systems of your body. It is interesting and despite whether there is any truth based upon on it, you do want to ask questions and find out more, because it’s about you- being human were selfish bastards.

I have now had 4 sessions and my feet are in less pain then when she started and actually I’m finding this whole experience very relaxing and therapeutic. I don’t believe it is having an impact on any of my organs and or the different systems in my body. I’m a healthy person who doesn’t have any major ailments/ problems that I am aware of, (perhaps I’m not the right person to comment on whether it works or not).

BUT

What I would say is that I have had a sports injury for the last 5 years now, that hasn’t got any worse, but certainly hasn’t got much better. I’ve had a break of 2 months from doing any physical activity, which has done my body the world of good, it was somewhat destroyed, well my back certainly was! Now having gone back to my sport I am a bit out of shape, but my god my flexibility is actually better than it has been in the last 2 years. I used to feel pain in the top of my hamstring, gluteus and lower back area; this is no longer there when I stretch making it easier too. Possibly the scar tissue has now gone, who knows? It could be that my body simply needed a rest from tearing round the place and being put through its paces at every opportunity, or could it be the reflexology working on my lower back! Dun dun dah! I know what most reading this are thinking (as well as me) it was the rest.

People I am not a hippy and I don’t believe in Complimentary Therapies curing things, but hey if someone wants to come to massage my feet and get rid of any pains for an hour each week for free then who am I to argue?


Please check out the work of my fellow 28DW bloggers at The Resident Weeble and Sudo One