Friday, 18 April 2014

Easter Greetings

'Some Thoughts On the Common Toad' by George Orwell, writing in April 1946


Before the swallow, before the daffodil, and not much later than the snowdrop, the common toad salutes the coming of spring after his own fashion, which is to emerge from a hole in the ground, where he has lain buried since the previous autumn, and crawl as rapidly as possible towards the nearest suitable patch of water. Something – some kind of shudder in the earth, or perhaps merely a rise of a few degrees in the temperature – has told him that it is time to wake up: though a few toads appear to sleep the clock round and miss out a year from time to time – at any rate, I have more than once dug them up, alive and apparently well, in the middle of the summer.
At this period, after his long fast, the toad has a very spiritual look, like a strict Anglo-Catholic towards the end of Lent. His movements are languid but purposeful, his body is shrunken, and by contrast his eyes look abnormally large. This allows one to notice, what one might not at another time, that a toad has about the most beautiful eye of any living creature. It is like gold, or more exactly it is like the golden-coloured semi-precious stone which one sometimes sees in signet rings, and which I think is called a chrysoberyl.
For a few days after getting into the water the toad concentrates on building up his strength by eating small insects. Presently he has swollen to his normal size again, and then he goes through a phase of intense sexiness. All he knows, at least if he is a male toad, is that he wants to get his arms round something, and if you offer him a stick, or even your finger, he will cling to it with surprising strength and take a long time to discover that it is not a female toad. Frequently one comes upon shapeless masses of ten or twenty toads rolling over and over in the water, one clinging to another without distinction of sex. By degrees, however, they sort themselves out into couples, with the male duly sitting on the female’s back. You can now distinguish males from females, because the male is smaller, darker and sits on top, with his arms tightly clasped round the female’s neck. After a day or two the spawn is laid in long strings which wind themselves in and out of the reeds and soon become invisible. A few more weeks, and the water is alive with masses of tiny tadpoles which rapidly grow larger, sprout hind-legs, then forelegs, then shed their tails: and finally, about the middle of the summer, the new generation of toads, smaller than one’s thumb-nail but perfect in every particular, crawl out of the water to begin the game anew.
I mention the spawning of the toads because it is one of the phenomena of Spring which most deeply appeal to me, and because the toad, unlike the skylark and the primrose, has never had much of a boost from poets. But I am aware that many people do not like reptiles or amphibians, and I am not suggesting that in order to enjoy the spring you have to take an interest in toads. There are also the crocus, the missel thrush, the cuckoo, the blackthorn, etc. The point is that the pleasures of spring are available to everybody, and cost nothing. Even in the most sordid street the coming of spring will register itself by some sign or other, if it is only a brighter blue between the chimney pots or the vivid green of an elder sprouting on a blitzed site. Indeed it is remarkable how Nature goes on existing unofficially, as it were, in the very heart of London. I have seen a kestrel flying over the Deptford gasworks, and I have heard a first-rate performance by a blackbird in the Euston Road. There must be some hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of birds living inside the four-mile radius, and it is rather a pleasing thought that none of them pays a halfpenny of rent.
As for Spring, not even the narrow and gloomy streets round the Bank of England are quite able to exclude it. It comes seeping in everywhere, like one of those new poison gases which pass through all filters. The spring is commonly referred to as “a miracle,” and during the past five or six years this worn-out figure of speech has taken on a new lease of life. After the sort of winters we have had to endure recently, the spring does seem miraculous, because it has become gradually harder and harder to believe that it is actually going to happen. Every February since 1940 I have found myself thinking that this time Winter is going to be permanent. But Persephone, like the toads, always rises from the dead at about the same moment. Suddenly, towards the end of March, the miracle happens and the decaying slum in which I live is transfigured. Down in the square the sooty privets have turned bright green, the leaves are thickening on the chestnut trees, the daffodils are out, the wallflowers are budding, the policeman’s tunic looks positively a pleasant shade of blue, the fishmonger greets his customers with a smile, and even the sparrows are quite a different colour, having felt the balminess of the air and nerved themselves to take a bath, their first since last September.
Is it wicked to take a pleasure in Spring and other seasonal changes? To put it more precisely, is it politically reprehensible, while we are all groaning, or at any rate ought to be groaning, under the shackles of the capitalist system, to point out that life is frequently more worth living because of a blackbird’s song, a yellow elm tree in October, or some other natural phenomenon which does not cost money and does not have what the editors of left-wing newspapers call a class angle? There is no doubt that many people think so. I know by experience that a favourable reference to “Nature” in one of my articles is liable to bring me abusive letters, and though the key-word in these letters is usually “sentimental”, two ideas seem to be mixed up in them. One is that any pleasure in the actual process of life encourages a sort of political quietism. People, so the thought runs, ought to be discontented, and it is our job to multiply our wants and not simply to increase our enjoyment of the things we have already. The other idea is that this is the age of machines and that to dislike the machine, or even to want to limit its domination, is backward-looking, reactionary and slightly ridiculous. This is often backed up by the statement that a love of Nature is a foible of urbanised people who have no notion what Nature is really like. Those who really have to deal with the soil, so it is argued, do not love the soil, and do not take the faintest interest in birds or flowers, except from a strictly utilitarian point of view. To love the country one must live in the town, merely taking an occasional week-end ramble at the warmer times of year.
This last idea is demonstrably false. Medieval literature, for instance, including the popular ballads, is full of an almost Georgian enthusiasm for Nature, and the art of agricultural peoples such as the Chinese and Japanese centre always round trees, birds, flowers, rivers, mountains. The other idea seems to me to be wrong in a subtler way. Certainly we ought to be discontented, we ought not simply to find out ways of making the best of a bad job, and yet if we kill all pleasure in the actual process of life, what sort of future are we preparing for ourselves? If a man cannot enjoy the return of Spring, why should he be happy in a labour-saving Utopia? What will he do with the leisure that the machine will give him? I have always suspected that if our economic and political problems are ever really solved, life will become simpler instead of more complex, and that the sort of pleasure one gets from finding the first primrose will loom larger than the sort of pleasure one gets from eating an ice to the tune of a Wurlitzer. I think that by retaining one’s childhood love of such things as trees, fishes, butterflies and – to return to my first instance – toads, one makes a peaceful and decent future a little more probable, and that by preaching the doctrine that nothing is to be admired except steel and concrete, one merely makes it a little surer that human beings will have no outlet for their surplus energy except in hatred and leader worship.
At any rate, spring is here, even in London N1 and they can’t stop you enjoying it. This is a satisfying reflection. How many a time have I stood watching the toads mating, or a pair of hares having a boxing match in the young corn, and thought of all the important persons who would stop me enjoying this if they could. But luckily they can’t. So long as you are not actually ill, hungry, frightened or immured in a prison or a holiday camp, Spring is still Spring. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.

*Amen*

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Meeting a Hero

Today I had the honour and privilege of meeting Holocaust survivor Arek Hersh.
I feel as though what ever I write in this blog post will not accurately convey how I felt about meeting a true hero, so please excuse me if I get emotional.
He came to Benton Park to talk about his experiences as an 11 year old boy during the Holocaust. His story of how his childhood was stolen from him is humbling. I make offhand comments about 'being starving', 'loosing the will to live' and 'being governed by Nazis' but here is a man who has genuinely lived through all of this. A real, physical, visceral reminder of a period in history when Jews were stripped of their rights, dignity and finally their lives at the hands of their fellow human beings.
I had the pleasure of sharing a Kosher lunch with him and he is such a lovely man. He commands an air of silent reverence and everyone that met him was deeply touched. It struck me that I was sat next Arek Hersh, an 86 year old man eating a houmous sandwich , whereas he had once been prisoner B-7608, a small boy, eating the burnt leather from the soles of his shoes in order to survive. 

When asked what message he would give to the young people of today, he told us that we should value our right to vote in democratic elections when we come of age and ignore dangerous extremist parties like the BNP. In his words; We are the future. 

I will always remember Arek, and also his Mother Bluma, Father Szmuel, Sister Itka, Brother Tovia and Genia, his First Love who weren't so lucky and lost their lives to hundreds of years of anti-semitism. 

I urge you to read Arek's book 'A Detail of History' and also watch the harrowing documentary about his life called 'Arek' by Unison Films.  




Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Political Apathy

I'm not doing very well with this blogging thing, am I? In September I wrote a brilliant blog entitled 'Miliband the Magnolia' about Ed Milliband's lack of policy ideas. Unfortunatley, the lightning-paced nature of politics meant that by the time it was ready to publish, he'd practically re-written the Labour Party Manifesto!


Anyway, someone that's been worrying me recently is Russell Brand. Surprisingly; it's got nothing to do with his sex-addiction, old heroin habit or questionable dress sense. Instead; it's got everything to do with his interview with Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight.

For the first time in my life, I might actually agree with what Jeremy Paxman has to say. When I watched the interview I was literally dumbfounded. Shocked and speechless can't really describe my reaction.  Here was Russell Brand, a man whom I quite admired, actually encouraging political apathy! This is a guy who has lived on the very fag end of life, suffered mental health problems and overcome addiction. He has championed the cause of the Tibetans, hugged the Dalai Lama and supported Chelsea (Formerly Bradley) Manning. On paper, you'd image him to some trendy bohemian comedian with a heart and a passion for politics.
Instead, he's appearing on Newsnight ranting at Jeremy Paxman like an angsty 17 year old that hasn't got chest hair yet. It's embarrassing. He sounds like he's stolen 'Das Kapital' from his local library and suddenly become a revolutionary. He appears eloquent, but his argument has no substance.

The worrying thing is that his argument has gained some momentum. Ed O' Brien of Radiohead recently came out in support of Brand on the band's website Dead Air Space. His argument just re-enforces the idea that "All politics is crap and therefore worth ignoring."
 Fortunately there have also been some voices of dissent, such as Robert Webb's who is 'renewing his labour party membership' in response to Brand.

As a 16 year old who will be 5 months too young to vote at the next general election, it massively irritates me when people like Russell Brand just carelessly discard their vote like an empty crisp packet. Sitting on your arse and eloquently moaning about the political class does not change anything. Be the change you want to see!




Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Christine the freefall parachutist

Hello!
Not blogged in a while, but as you can see I have a lovely new layout. The birds are meant to have a calming effect. As you are aware, summer not only heralds Glastonbury and midges but the dreaded exam season.

I've often wondered who it is that sets the questions. Who are these mysterious people that get paid to set exam questions? What do they do in their free time? Sit around playing bridge and smoking pipes in matching tweed separates?  Also, who are the people in the exam papers? Is Christine the freefall parachutist real?  What about Sumeet with his triangular prism shaped pool? And poor Viv, who lacks enough mincemeat in her quest to make 45 mince pies in June?

Ahh, questions questions questions.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

White smoke and holy mirrors


I was hoping for white smoke to signal a black pope - not only because it sounds irritatingly catchy but also because I had a quid resting on it. Cardinal Turkson was obviously not meant to be.
Instead, we have some Argentinian bloke, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis.

Anyway, It's not even been 24 hours and already the Fran/ Pope Francis jokes have got out of hand ( Mum, if you're reading this, IT'S NOT FUNNY)





Jim Bowen, is that you?

Monday, 21 January 2013

Pinch me, I must be dreaming

Hello hello hello,
I've got some questions that need answering. For the sake of my (questionable) sanity.
Firstly, I must ask; Am I dreaming?

In all seriousness, we're a mere 21 days into the new year, and already some pretty bizarre stuff has happened.  Correct me if I'm wrong but, on the same website #Cut4Bieber , #OrwellDay and #CBB have been trending. (Ironic, no?)
David Bowie has made the sneakiest comeback in musical history, still managing to exude cool at the age of 66 and with his head superimposed onto a doll's body.
Tesco have managed to alienate Jews and horse lovers alike, by including cute little piggies and ponies in their beef burgers.
The Pope has found new and interesting ways in which to erm... reach out to the youth of today.
Unfortunately, armageddon has hit the British Isles in the form of frozen flakes of water falling from the sky, resulting in a severe impairment to the U.K's journalism and many broken dreams. The effect of falling snow may have even caused several mental health conditions to form in the brains of 'wannabes', as 'Becoming famous' now constitutes sucking a used tampon and filming yourself in the act .However if turning vampire doesn't appeal to you, you could 'do a Katie Price' and  marry your 3rd husband in 8 years because a psychic told you so.

That's not all though. My personal favourite of this month's crop of non-news stories has to be Jimmy Savile's guest appearance on the tweenies. Not only was it tear inducingly funny, the song Jimmy introduced was 'one finger one thumb keep moving'. Again, another triumph of the BBC over the British taxpayer.


This is the stuff that makes history folks. 



Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Now that's what I call broadcasting

Hello.
 I sometimes listen to the radio.

Okay, that's a really banal statement, but you'll see where I'm going with this in a minute.

Anyway, the other day I was listening to  BBC Radio 4, when suddenly, an article about soft drugs came on.  The broadcaster in question was speaking about the beauty of 'weed bags'. Yes, I-SHIT-YOU-NOT, there was a fully grown man, on a national radio station, almost at the point of orgasm... over little polythene baggies used to store cannabis in. According to the aforementioned bloke, Weed bags should be "Stored in a museum, so people of the future can fully appreciate the beauty and hedonism of the 21st century." Apparently for him; "Finding them on the floor gives me a tiny insight into the mysteries of a total stranger's life."


Yeah, I wasn't quite sure I was fully awake either, but after establishing that I'd not nodded off after eating a large quantities of Brie, I realized that I bloody love the BBC.

Not only do I want to hunt down Mr Weed-Bags and force him to teach Year 10 PHSCE in Leeds secondary schools, but I also want to hugely thank the BBC for spending tax payer's money on gems like this. 
I smile a little to myself every night in the thought that 'Hard working British tax payers' like this man here:

 are paying for the casual Radio 4 listener to be informed of the beauty of Weed bags.

So let's forget about scandals involving Jimmy Saville, Andrew Sachs and senior Tory MP's, The BBC is worth every single penny of tax payer's money. 

Aunite Beeb deserves a bit of love. 
                                          


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Electioneering

I'm not even going to pretend I know anything about American politics . Everybody with a reasonable grasp of literacy and wi-fi has been blogging left right and center about the upcoming elections, and I could blog forever about how much of a misogynistic, homophobic, free market capitalism loving, Arab bashing, working class hating, Mormon idiot Mitt Romney is, until my beard grazes the floor.

So I'm keeping it simple. If reading this blog in a country called America:

Please go to your nearest polling station and put a cross in a box next to this man's name please.



And er.... COMPLETELY IGNORE anything this man says: 





Because the fate of the rest of the universe rests on YOUR  shoulders. 

Repeat after me, OBAMA GOOD, ROMNEY BAD.
Got that?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Bad tidings

Okay, so it seems to be the holidays again. Everyone I know is busy making strange outfits from bits of curtain and fake blood. Apparently it's some kind of  Western tradition  and if you ask strangers nicely, they give you sweets.

I personally plan on standing semi naked in the middle of my garden, belting out an acoustic version of OutKast's Hey Ya. Because if that doesn't scream 'Trick or Treat' at you, -sadly, nothing will. 




Friday, 26 October 2012

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Hey, last night I went to go see a fantastic production of Tennessee William's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the West Yorkshire profile, courtesy of The Guardian,  and they published my review!! But because I'm so completely un-original I thought I'd publish it here too:






 The scene was set. On stage, a fan whirred monotonously round, doing little to dispel the thick soup of the Mississippi delta air, or the sense of frustration at the forefront of everything.
Maggie flounced on stage, and so 3 hours in the company of the dysfunctional and deeply unhappy Pollitt family began.
Admittedly this is not the smoothest of metaphors, but the only thing I can liken the play to is a 1950’s style EastEnders. Although Phil Mitchell fails to make a surprise cameo and denounce the Pollitts as liars in a booming cockney accent, he may well have done. All the parallels are there. Suicide, alcoholism, homophobia, a loveless marriages and deceit.  Lots, and lots of deceit.
The whole play is centred on the various family members lying to each other. Brick lying to Maggie, Maggie lying to Big Momma, Big Momma lying to Big Daddy, Big Daddy lying to Gooper and so forth.
All this is done with the utmost precision from the cast.  Zoe Boyle’s portrayal of cat like Maggie, oozing sexiness and beguilement is darkly contrasted to Jamie Parker’s portrayal of Brick and his cold indifference to anything but whiskey.

 Although not always mentioned in a review, it’s hard to imagine what the play would have been like without the score of lurking bass and crashing cymbals, courtesy of the Leeds Improvised Music Association.
To say that a few skeletons are un-earthed during the course of the play is an under-statement. Skeleton after skeleton surfaces from the dark waters of the Mississippi- and hit the audience right where it hurts.  In one scene, Brick lurches at Maggie with a chair, and narrowly misses sending her sprawling to the floor.  This sent up an uneasy ripple of laughter from the audience, which I found very disturbing.  Perhaps it is because Brick’s chair forced us to reflect upon our own lives, and realize that sometimes we are not so different from the Pollitt family.  Ensuring that long after the set was dismantled, and the saxophonist caught the bus home, the story of Cat On a Hot Tin Roof would lurk somewhere at the back of our minds.


If anyone else went to see it, feel free to comment below, I'd love to hear everybody's thoughts.
You can see it on the guardian site here, and add comments there too. 

*Also, sorry about the strange font arrangement- my laptop is menstruating.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Hometown glory

I have some more D.I.Y. poetry... don't blame me, blame Miss Shah and Mrs Brown  who managed to bully me into writing a poem for the 'Letter to Leeds scheme'. I don't know if anybody has heard of it yet, but I think it's a pretty good idea.

Basically, The British Library is funding a huge project across Britain, entitled 'Writing Britain' and Leeds library has decided to grab a piece of the action, and on the 4th of December 2012 there will be an exhibition on all things Leeds in the central library exhibition space. 
The letters will feature as a backdrop to all of this, and within the letter you can write, draw and rhyme your feelings about Leeds.



So I thought I'd put my two pence in, and write an untitled poem:

I walk through this land, the place of my birth,
Leeds, West Yorkshire, Planet Earth.

My scuffed converse kick the ground, 
through my ears ring the sounds,
of the suburbs.

Teenagers skating by the city hall,
autumn leaves fading to nothing at all.

Random thoughts drift lazily across my brain,
I glance at the slate grey clouds
-It looks like rain.

All around me stranger's bodies hum,
who was it that said Yorkshire people were dumb?
Our accent isn't un-educated,
in fact, far from it,
It's warm and it's gentle and it cloaks me like honey. 

Okay so our football team always lose,
but we're better at rugby in yellow and blue!

From the pigeons sat on Prince Edward's head, 
to the  weeds at the back of my Grandad's shed,
and the library and the park and the giant chess set as well,
to the lights at Christmas and the tolling church bells.

I'll never be ashamed of the city I call home,
because I am Leeds right through to my bones. 


If you want to get involved (which I urge you to do!) go to Letter to Leeds to find out more. Once you've completed your letter, mail it to: 
 The Letter to Leeds scheme
Leeds Central Library,
Calverley Street
Leeds
LS13AB


Also, you can engage in the twitter debate by tweeting either @lettertoleeds or #lettertoleeds


Go forth and write your letters!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Another year closer to death


Hey, the 15th day in October just happens to be my birthday.
I share this date with the motley crew of people that are The Duchess of York, P.G Wodehouse, Nietzsche and Paul-Michel Foucault, so yeah. Happy birthday to me!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

My life is now complete

Okay, I'll apologize in advance for this blog post. I've been a fan of Radiohead since the tender age of 11 and could probably do them as a specialist subject on Mastermind.

Anyway, I SAW RADIOHEAD LIVE LAST NIGHT! 
I know! I still can't believe it either.  

And guess what.........?
                                    THEY WERE BEYOND AMAZING!!!


And I don't say that lightly either. Even my Mum who is a staunch hater of any band that uses more than four chords in  a song had a good night. 
After Caribou had finished their set, Thom introduced the band with "Hello, I'm lady gaga!" and they stormed  straight into Lotus Flower. Manchester arena was up on it's feet screaming and doing Thom's dance. At this point my brain exploded. It really did, and plastered itself JFK style all over the neighboring seat.  

The rest of the night involved lots of dodgy dancing, several life affirming moments, Jonny Greenwood's fringe and a bit of vomit. 
I think the whole night can be summed up with a transcript of the conversation between the blokes sat behind us. 


Bloke 1: "The fact that they can play with two percussionists in such an odd time sig...."

Thom Yorke: "We're going to play a really, really old song now."

Bloke 2: "OHMIGODSHUTUP THEY'RE PLAYING PLANET TELEX!!



 I can assure that the other 21,000 people singing along to Paranoid Android had a good night. Not only was the set beautiful and the songs perfect, the musicianship was seamless. I understand that Radiohead aren't everybody's cup of tea, but you can't say that they're not good musicans because they really, really are. In fact the whole night was just brilliant. Every single second of it.

Anyway, I'll stop orgasaming over Radiohead and let you eat your tea, but before I go I would also like to remind you that it it's Thom Yorke's 44th birthday today, so happy birthday, you legend. He head a 'Free tibet' flag over one of his amps. You can't get more awesome than that. 



If you'd like to find out more about my night in Manchester, checkout the setlist here, some reviews of the gig here and here and the rest of the tour dates here


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The revolution is live

As you know, I occasionally have a stab at some DIY poetry....and if it's not completely rubbish it ends up on here.

So, here is a poem I have cobbled together entitled 'The revolution will be televised' as a tribute to the late Gill Scott-Heron. It was inspired by a recent Philip Larkin reading I went to at Ilkley literature festival, and of course Gill Scott-Heron himself. 
Now I hope everyone here is familiar with the legend that is Gill Scott-Heron, jazz musician and soul poet. His works were mainly about consumerism in 1970's/1980's America, and racial segregation.  He's someone that inspires me greatly, and I was incredibly sad when he passed away on the 27th of May 2011. I just wished he was still alive now, to witness the effects of the Arab Spring, and an underground revolution amongst the youth of Russia!
But anyway, here it is. 

The revolution will be televised,
In 4 parts on prime time ITV2,
Sponsored by Wonga.com with an interest rate of 4214 percent.
The revolution will be televised.

The revolution will be televised,
Hashtag revolution
With a facebook page and multiple tumblrs,
Highlights published in newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch,
The revolution will be televised.

The revolution will be televised,
Featuring soundtrack by Adele, Coldplay and Gary Barlow doing a closed fist open fist key change,
Page 3 models will make philosophical comments,
And the revolution will be televised.

The revolution will be televised,
With a montage of the Olympics and Mo Farrah’s twin girls.
Margaret Thatcher as the first women prime minister and the elimination of the working class.
A disabled soldier will hand out awards,
Because the revolution will be televised.

The revolution will be televised,
And during the break refreshments will be available
 Drinks of caffeine mixed with cane sugar and chocolate sprinkles
Colonel Sanders grinning down, with sachets of ketchup and polyethene cutlery,
The revolution will be televised.

The revolution will be televised,
It will not feature sax solos from Gill Scott-Heron, because he passed away in the spring of last year.
                  Available from freeview, Sky T.V and other satellite providers,

 
The revolution will in fact, be televised. 



If you're interested in Gill's original song,  here's a brilliant montage I found on Youtube.  

Monday, 3 September 2012

Ah, those were the days.

Hey folks!
It's that time of year again....the dreaded first week of September.
And we all know what that means, don't we?


It means getting up at 6:00am again, trying to perfect a semi-graceful manner in which to run for the bus, and physics revision. Poo. As well as all of that, It's GCSE year! And as Micheal Gove has decided to launch the biggest shake up of the British education system since the 1980's, that should be....fun.
Anyway! It's not as if I haven't already been going to school almost every year since the tender age of 4! 

Going back to school has led me to reminisce about my Year 7 days. To be honest, year 7's are generally not the coolest people on the planet, but aged 11, I was the worse than most children. I was the epitome of all that is uncool. 

I really, really was.  

I had a hair cut that made me look like the love child of a wookie and the Bee Gees. 



I also had  face eating and soul destroying acne, and on top of that, my school bag was so big it looked like it was  about to eat me. So you can imagine how attractive I looked. 
Consequently, I wasn't one of the popular kids, a thing which has stuck with me forever. 

So, let this be a lesson to you all.  Benzyl Peroxide and GHD's are your best friends!






Thursday, 30 August 2012

Scotland and psychedelics

Eyyup campers!
I don't wanna bore you with holiday stories or anything,  but our annual family holiday was to sunny Glasgow this year!


The hotel was gorgeous and the Scots were friendly, however I had an interesting few days...as I mainly spent the holiday vomiting into a wastepaper basket and inspecting the Scottish National Health Service! In the end me and Mum had to go home early, but not before we went to the amazing Gallery of Modern art! 
We saw lots of really weird and wonderful exhibitions, including the handprint of one of my all time favourite authors!

Aldous Huxley himself. An author loved by millions, famed for his surrealist influenced novels and being off his head on Mescaline in the name of art and science. 


That's Scotland for you! 



Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sisters, we salute you.

Hey Folks!
At this point, I'm sure you're all aware of er...Russia's pussy situation. (okay, stop laughing it's actually quite serious) 
If you haven't, you need to escape from whatever woodland you've been living in, and head over to 





A balaclava clad Russian punk band, criticizing the Russian Orthodox church (and it's vice like hold over Russian politics) and Putin's regime, has been imprisoned for 2 years on the medieval charge of 'Blasphemy'.

Whilst you may not agree with gatecrashing a church service and singing punk songs, Pussy Riot's message is a far deeper one.
Their aim is to highlight what really happens underneath the veneer of Putin's regime. In recent years Russia seems to have been making small steps of progress towards respecting human rights, but this is clearly a crumbling facade.


Although now cruelly imprisoned, Pussy Riot have achieved their aim. Everyone from Paul McCartney to my Gran is watching Russia's every move, with the message that Russia is wrong, and the hope that Pussy Riot will be freed. 


So, whilst you're drinking a brew, all cosy and warm in bed tonight, spare a thought or two for the martyrs of Pussy Riot, in a freezing prison cell, missing their families, all in the name of free speech and punk rock, whilst Putin relaxes in comfort and grandeur. 



                                                             Girl Power!! 







Wednesday, 15 August 2012

We didn't do too badly, did we?

So, the Olympics are over.
That's it for another 4 years, but bloody hell, we went out with a bang.
Now I'm not your stereotypical patriot. I don't have 'England '66' tattooed in fading ink across my bicep. I'll never sacrifice my life or kill another human being in aid of my country. I don't hate The Queen, but I'm not her biggest fan either, and I certainly do not agree with the amount of taxpayer's money we spend on her each year. I'll also happily admit that I don't attend church on Sundays, and my stint as a Girl Guide was short lived.
However, during two weeks in the middle of August, I felt quite proud of our tiny little island.
Our tiny little island that is famous for it's class system, sarcasm, and the national drink of some Chinese leaves in hot water,  which will now be remembered for the Olympics.


As I've said before on this blog, the London 2012 Olympics are far from perfect, but we did a pretty decent job! We hosted them with a smile (albeit sometimes a forced one), which turned into mild surprise when we ended up 3rd in the medal table with 29 gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze medals, and realized that we are much better at sport than Eurovision.

So anyway, I'll stop rabbiting on about my national pride, and give the closing ceremony a mention.
Other than the questionable decision of inviting One Direction, Jessie J, Take That, Ed Sheeran (who murdered a Pink Floyd song) The Spice Girls and er... Naomi Campbell (Blood diamonds anyone?) 
It was pretty damn good!
I'll refrain from making George Micheal jokes, but you really can't fault The Pet Shop Boys accidentally  dressed as The KKK!

Another highlight was 80,000 people erupting into John Lennon's Imagine, whilst a sculpture of his face was constructed  IKEA style with some white boxes.  Somewhat ironically, this was set to the background of some confused North Korean athletes, who will probably never understand peace, and unsurprisingly  won all the medals involving weapons. 
 

By far though, the best part of the night was Beady Eye's (sadly not Oasis, but you can never have it all) rendition of Wonderwall, which brought back memories of Year 8 music lessons and also brought a tear to my eye. 

The Who then played everybody out with My Generation, in an explosion of tears and confetti. 
At this point I received a text from one of my mates, enlightening me to the fact that the guy playing bass for The Who, was wearing a suit made of wool  from her parents factory. 
I shall take that as my Olympic claim to fame (however tenuous it may be) and politely decline to mention my wool allergy. 

                                                 So, that was the Olympics 2012.  





I shall leave you with a picture of some constipated divers.

  


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Technophobia

Hey there folks,
I Just thought I should write this blog post as a farewell to my laptop. Because on Friday, my old bacteria, sticker and dirt covered laptop, will sadly be sent off to the home of obsolete software in the sky. I know it's only a laptop, but for 7 years, it has been there to let me tweet, blog, and browse whenever I feel like it.
It has also been my rock, quite literally, in that the thing is built like a TANK.  And when I say tank, I mean TANK.  I once dropped it on to  my toe, and a solid concrete floor.  My laptop didn't even suffer a scratch. In fact my toe suffered more, and the floor was decorated with nice pool of blood.

So although I'm looking forward to having a laptop that actually works, with decent software, a webcam, and  Windows 7, please have a moments silence for my old friend.






Friday, 3 August 2012

Postcards from far away

Well, summer has been eventful so far!
As well as generally lazing around and drinking tea , I have been...er....watching the Olympics.


Now, I know what you're thinking. I have moaned incessantly about the Olympics, from the moment 7 years ago, on the 6th of July 2005 when we found out we'd won the bid. For 7 whole years, I have groaned, complained, protested and whinged. There's no denying that the Olympics isn't perfect, so far, there have been: deaths, un-acceptable and shameful corporate sponsorship,a horrific scandal concerning DOW chemical, and a cancelled Glastonbury! 


However we've also had Mr Bean playing a synthesiser,



 a gigantic 100ft Voldermort, 


15 gold medals for Team GB, 


                                             and er....Boris Johnson dangling from a zipwire. 


Only in Britain. 


So, as much as I want to hate the Olympics,  well...I'm actually quite enjoying them, and so far, the opening ceremony has been a highlight, I loved it, and I'm sure the 27 Million U.K. viewers and the rest of the world (even if some of the Korean viewers weren't quite laughing at the classic British humour) loved it too. Especially the Arctic Monkeys. (Or to be even more specific, Alex Turner.)

The only complaint I would have that whoever said "It's a small world" Has evidently never had to sit through the calling out of the countries at the opening ceremony...bloody hell, I managed to have 3 cups of tea just through the S's!  I swear at one point they were just making countries up to make sure Her Maj was awake. Poor sod, I wonder if she was allowed Gin in the stadium? 

We'll remember the opening ceremony for years to come, and if I was old enough to bet, I'd put £100 on Danny Boyle getting a knighthood. The word legend is overused, but not in this case. 

So yes, as much as I have moaned about the Olympics, I will be avidly watching from my sofa, eating some custard creams, but sadly not dreaming. Because any one who knows me well, will know that Fran and sports don't really mix. Okay, Fran and sports do not mix AT ALL. I cannot throw, I cannot jump and I most certainly cannot  run. The only sporting talents I posses are the ability to walk to the fridge plus some mouldy swimming badge, (that will be floating round in my Gran's knicker drawer) saying that I can jump into a large body of water in my pjamas, and swim breaststroke for 100m. 

I think even John Prescott doing the hurdles has more sporting talent than I can only dream of. 

So please don't hold your breath to see me at Rio in 2016. 
                                    
                 
Anyway, enough of my ranting, GOOD LUCK TEAM GB!









Monday, 16 July 2012

Guest Blog: It's the end of school blues.

Hey ya'll!
It's almost the...


 we never actually thought it would happen! In fact we had lost all hope, and believed that year 9 would be an endless loop of physics, biology, geography and extreme mental torment over sports day.
However the whole shebang is bitter sweet, as our beloved form tutor Mr Hancox is retiring. We'll really miss his smiling face in form on a morning. "you're late, your top button is undone and you're weilding a chainsaw....HAVE A VIVO!"
Who knows who'll be our form tutor next year?!?! 
So, whilst things are going good, Maisie and I thought we should celebrate and write a guest blog, so over to you Maisie. 


 Oh hai. Right, where to begin? I'm at school, in front of a computer, so bored that I'm killing brain cells and staring at the wall of fame (It's the I.T. geek wall of seduction..) at the back of the classroom wondering why I'm not up there. So, now it's time for THE THINGS WE WON'T MISS ABOUT SCHOOL, (And a few things we will!) :


unos. Physics exams. Physics is advanced maths with waves, telescopes and the occasional atom thrown in just to confuse you a bit more. (And gallileo just for the hell of it. Blame the greeks.) IT'S HARD AND THAT'S ALL THERE IS TO IT.


zwei. Student Voice. It's basically like student council. But worse. We know that the things that 'Student voice co-ordinators promise us will  will never happen. They never do. These people are supposedly determined to change things. Well, supposed to anyway. They're only doing student voice to look like OFSTEAD robots.


troix. PE. A humiliating event for people who have no coordination,  You see other girls elegantly  performing a serve in volleyball, whilst I miss the ball before it's even left my hand, and then on that rare occasion when my hand decides to work in synchronisation with my eyes, I end up hitting the ceiling and turning it into a ball of death, knocking the girls on the other team over like pins in a bowling alley.





négy. (That's four in Hungarian if you didn't know). Starting at half past 8.  It is absurdly early to be revising for an exam! We then get the blame for bad results when half the stuff goes in one ear and out the other.



Anyway, school is annoying, and I am glad that it's the holidays, but I will miss my peeps, I love you all too much...

And that was Maisie Nutton, with another of our lovely guest blogs! 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Stop traditional Christmas card scenes from dying out.....Save the Arctic instead

Please forgive my lack of  recent blog posts,  here's something to keep you going until I can magic my fingers into typing something coherent and vaguely amusing. 

www.savethearctic.org.

 It's quite simple really. 

I've already sent Shell a huge terrifying 'save the Arctic' poster, so please tweet/ sign the petition for/write to/email/ Shell and Greenpeace, because I don't want to have to tell my children the bloody story of why Peter Vosser killed all the cute polar bears.

Please just take 5 minutes and do something, The Arctic is not something we can just ignore....




I'll leave you with that thought.