Monday, 11 July 2011

Bombastically Brilliant

Hundreds of grey quiffs and skinny boys sporting Morrissey slogan tees filled the Victoria Hall on Tuesday creating an air of excitement and anticipation for the arrival of a legend. Arms outstretched, the hardcore amongst Mozzer’s Men fought their way to the foot of the stage, desperate for the slightest bit of interaction from their arrogant hero.

The bequiffed lyricist swaggered on stage opening with The Smiths ‘I want the one I cant have’ succeeding with material from a body of work that spans three decades. His mixed set of classic Smiths hits and solo work ensured every fan was catered for. Personally, I was disappointed ‘Suedehead’ and ‘This Charming Man’ were missing, however, his flawless singing and typically haughty stage presence meant the audience was suitably enthralled throughout.

Morrissey performed the powerful ‘Meat is Murder’ against a backdrop of video footage showing animals in a slaughterhouse not before lambasting the nations sweethearts, William and Kate for their recent trip to Canada, where the “hysterically good” Kate was taught how to make the “cruellest dish on the planet,” frois gras. He ended his onslaught by declaring: “William and Kate, Bag of Sh*t!” This had the audience eating out of his hands. If he’d told them to only consume vegetables that had died of natural causes you can bet the five person deep fanbase at the front of the stage would duly oblige him.

Ending on the more recent ‘First of the Gang to Die’ the whole audience sung along with stadium like enthusiasm. The crowd erupted into what can only be described as a bizarre Morrissey mosh-pit, sweat dripped from the brow of everyone present, including the main man himself.

Returning on stage for the encore after a quick shirt change, he wore three in total, each one more fabulous than the last, ‘Panic’ is to be his final number. A perfect end to a near perfect performance. I say ‘near perfect’ as I have to disagree with his comment, “Stoke on Trent. Where the men are men and the women are... men.”  Give it a rest won'tcha. 

All in all a fantastic performance from an iconic and captivating artist.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Let’s Talk About Sex

As I embarked upon the mystifying, transitional journey from child to adolescent I became reliant upon the genial advice offered to similarly confused pre-teens in the problem pages of bubblegum magazines such as Mizz and Sugar. Their affable responses to sleep addling questions such as, “I touched my boyfriend’s penis, am I pregnant?” helped guide me gently through the rough waters of adolescence. Coupled with the playground oracle who has been sexually active since they were 11, I began to develop what I considered to be a wealth of knowledge on the subject of sex and whilst despite receiving relatively little information in the way of sex education in school, thanks to the increasing exposure of sexually concerned media and the generic ‘birds and the bees’ chat from my parents, I felt somewhat prepared for what to expect. That said, I am completely behind the current sex and relationships (SRE) curriculum presently taught in some primary schools and only wish the wealth of resources available to educators now were existing when I was younger. (Mostly, this is due to the joyous little illustrations that encapsulate and explain the various ambiguities surrounding the topic).

Being able to address the mechanics and understand the ins and outs (sorry) of sex without embarrassment in early education is in my opinion one way to attempt to counteract the over sexualisation of children. Sex is found around almost every corner in every possible medium we encounter on a daily basis, it would be laudable to try and impose standards of chastity on those under the arbitrary age of the physically mature 16 year old. The goal of SRE is to inform as much as it is to guide and protect, and by introducing children to the anatomical aspects as well as emotional responses to sex, children are more likely to develop a mature and healthy attitude.

The report by the Christian Institute, which tries to raise concerns about SRE in primary schools, is particularly worried about "explicit" materials that it says may become more widespread if a campaign for compulsory SRE in schools succeeds.

The Christian Institute has complained that at least 10 books or teaching packs used in English primary schools for lessons on sex and relationships contain images or descriptions that are "obviously unsuitable". Its report, Too Much, Too Young, criticises, among others, a BBC teaching pack for its images of a nude man and woman and the children's book Mummy Laid an Egg, by Babette Cole, for its child-like drawings of a man and woman having sex on a skateboard and wearing red noses. It should be noted that this book won the British Illustrated Children's Book of the Year.

The report also advises parents to contact their children’s schools and recommends they ask teachers to show them the materials being used. This I wholly agree with, I’m sure sex educators do not wish to cause unnecessary upset to parents and children, and the teachers with the responsibility of conducting SRE classes will use their professional judgment when deciding what materials are appropriate. The resources and teaching packs available are simply recommendations and not compulsory, however, if they were to become utilized in a greater number of schools, I can’t foresee the extent of the damage the Christian Institute believes they would cause. The lessons are not used as an intention to teach children to have sex, their purpose is to educate on the facts and the difference between boys and girls’ bodies. I may be criticized for commenting so ineptly on a subject that I can’t claim to have any association with, I’m not a parent nor am I an educator. I do have friends with children though, and they have begun to express an interest in understanding their bodies and have been given matter of fact responses when they’ve queried “how?” Or “why?” And their response towards the opposite sex when it is suggested that they may have a boyfriend/girlfriend is generally one of utter repugnance. I don’t think you’d be taking away from a child’s innocence by giving them frank answers on the birds and the bees and I certainly don’t think it would encourage children to engage in sexual activity any earlier, if anything, the viewing of a live birth or a photo of someone’s STI riddled genitalia may be enough to put them off the idea for years!

Ultimately, teaching about sex and relationships in schools is always going to be a grey area, riddled with opposition from those with a religious bias. It shouldn’t be a subject at the heart of so much controversy though especially when we live in times where sex, whether we like it or not, has become an everyday occurrence.

Friday, 11 February 2011


Having just clicked on the ‘What’s On’ section on The Sentinel website I was somewhat dismayed to find the section completely devoid of information. Is there really nothing taking place in and around Staffordshire worth mentioning or promoting? Well the answer is a resounding YES, it seems. This is certainly true for February 11th anyway. How disappointing. The city has a vibrant and impressive wealth of musical talent as well as a colourful art scene and yet the support from local venues for gigs and events seems to be missing.

Last night whilst at work at Soniq Studios - City Youth Centre, a gentleman called in to inform us he was looking for young local rock bands to come and perform at an event he was organising. How refreshing it was, knowing that there are people in and around this city aware of the up and coming talent residing in this city and to actually take the time out to come and show an interest and help support and nurture this emerging talent was so reassuring.

Unfortunately, as a city we are notoriously left trailing around 20 years behind the rest of the country in terms of economic development and expansion, in recent years though, thanks to clubs such as the Sugarmill and the Underground, local music has seen interest in the city swell. We should be encouraging this further and ensuring the rest of the country take note of just how darn brilliant we can be. We need to pull ourselves out of this recession depression and throw ourselves into projecting our creative diversity. Not only helping local talent but also helping ourselves. Come on, Stoke!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Bus Off.

Another exemplary article published in The Sentinel today regarding the preposterous decisions made by local councils. Why would you design a building specifically intended to act as a comfortable bus shelter for members of the local community waiting to use and on the whole pay for public transport but locate said building metres away from the bus stop? This sort of inanity is something I would usually readily associate with Stoke-on-Trent City Council not the Staffordshire Moorlands...


Bus passengers are turning their backs on a brand new heated waiting room – because it's been built too far away from where the buses stop.

The ‘bus hub’ which cost around £15 million to construct was built as part of the Sainsbury’s superstore development in the centre of Biddulph. However, bus passengers are reluctant to use it as they say they miss their buses if they take shelter in the err shelter. Given that it was erected 50 metres from the bus stop, it’s taking elderly passengers around 25 minutes to stand up, gather their belongings and walk to the bus, by which time it’s already pulled out of the depot.

Now Biddulph Town Council is writing to bus companies who use the stop, including First and Bakers, to ask their drivers to give people a little longer to get on the buses.

The issue was addressed at last night's town council meeting, following complaints from residents.

Town Mayor Rodger Deane, said: "The problem is people are walking out of the hub to the bus stop but by the time they get there, the bus has pulled off.

"I think we need to send a letter to the bus companies who use the stop asking them to be aware of the situation and for them to give adequate time to get to the bus.

"All they have to do is look in their left mirror and they will see a line of people walking towards the bus.

"The actual hub itself has been designed poorly and you can't actually see the buses coming down the road if you sit in it."

A spokesman for Sainsbury's said the company had carried out a full consultation with the public and relevant authorities regarding the positioning of the hub and had received positive feedback on the designs.

He said: "The bus hub has been built in full accordance with the planning permission, providing both an indoor and outdoor waiting area and public toilets. The High Street was not considered an appropriate setting for the bus hub as there is not enough room for it."


I have a feeling that if the bus stop was moved 50 metres closer towards the bus shelter we’d all be really happy again. It’s that kind of thinking that could see me voted Lady Mayoress of Stoke-on-Trent.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Seasoned Criminal Behavior

Things I can live without, certain condiments. Things I can’t, books. I read this story and was personally offended. It’s as bad as someone spitting Haribo at Adam Ant.

Police in Idaho think they might have solved a yearlong condiment crime spree after 74 year old Joy L. Cassidy was arrested on Sunday after being caught spicing up the Ada County Library books’ drop box.

Police stopped the suspect moments after watching her deposit an open jar of mayo into a box designated for reading materials. Cassidy was released from jail and faces a misdemeanor charge of malicious injury to property, she is also believed to be behind at least 10 other zesty condiment related cases of vandalism that started in May 2009. Since last summer library employees have reported finding books in the drop box covered in corn syrup and tomato sauce. (#sickinmymouthtomatosauceblergh.)

Chuck McLure, police spokesman said that a motive for the alleged vandalism had yet to be determined.

I don’t like Stephenie Meyer either Joy but come on, leave the sauces at home.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Singin in the Rain

I can't put it off any longer. I. Must. Update. Blog.

Wet Weather Woe.
We've just seen the back of another successful British bank holiday. The London Underground practically shut down, train lines all over the country were affected by engineering works and the weather was, as expected, shit. I'm sick of hearing and reading the words 'unsettled'. I had totally forgotten about the weather risk involved during bank holiday weekends and packed my suitcase for London with dresses and sandals. Idiot.
Meanwhile, on Sunday in Bath, 234 glass half full types, grabbed their brollies and stuck two fingers up at the miserable weather and broke the Guinness World Record for most people singing with umbrellas.
"I've got a world record"
"Oooooo, what for?"
"Most people singing with umbrellas."
I’d rather be in Hyde Park shielding my eyes from the blazing sunshine breaking the record for the most amount of time sat on the grass having a nice time. Probably have to do that on a week day, ay weather? Stupid Mother Nature.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears

I’ve had a dash of the mean reds this week. Please rest assured I’m not about to commence on an explicitly revealing blog detailing my womanly monthlies, I’m merely referring to that mood where everything around you irritates you. First highlighted by Holly Golightly in Truman Capote’s ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, the mean reds are similar to the blues but are located further down the mood spectrum. Your troubled state of mind causes you to cry at RSPCA adverts and people laughing leaves you fuming, mostly because you can’t muster a smile, let alone indulge in a spot of giggling! In light of my misery (ha!) I’ve written a list of my pet peeves. In no particular order...

3D films, 3D televisions, 3D glasses, Disney 3D, James Cameron.

Being on a cheapo London Midland train and having a smug Virgin woosh past.

Any electric guitar whilst I’m dashing around, Underground. I’m a music fan, honestly. I often throw my change at white bearded men with clarinets and old dancing puppets but the amount of screechy Springsteen’s and rubbish Radiohead covers is beginning to make the bus look rather inviting.

Playing Brick Breaker and absorbing a ‘flip’. Omfg.

10 Downing Street. Mess.

Lee Evans and Jimmy Carr. Sorry boys, I’ve tried to like you, I really have. It’s just isn’t happening. That goes for you too Chegger’s and Edmunds.

Kate Thornton. I’m not sorry for disliking you. You seem mean; you’re so insincere and always very abrupt. Perhaps you take a tube to work in the morning and encounter an electric guitar? In which case, you’re excused. Loose Women is an afternoon show though Kate, you really have no reason to be so unhappy. You should have snapped out of the morning mean reds by now. Whilst I’m on the subject though, I want to add all the Loose Women to my inventory of worsts, working alongside Jane Macdonald would make anyone miserable. I think I just don’t like you Kate. I’m not going to try and justify it any longer. I also don’t like Ruth what’s-her-name? Triangle Face, Mrs Ealmon Holmes to be. Well her, massive pointy thing. Also, Gail Platt.

Facebook groups. ANNONYMOUS became a fan of ‘Don't You Just Hate It When Someone Interferes In Your Relationship’ and 36 other profiles. FFS. KMT. WTF. :(

Age, that’s on my list. What an unfortunate thing to bestow upon the youth! Id like not to dwell on this. It's aging me since im frowning so.

People sitting next to me on public transport, I’m not proud of myself about this but it does something to my mood. Like these idiots have come along with the sole intention of purposely making me lose my place in a book and to sit on my coat. Deep down I know this is unfounded but it still gets me. It really does. Sigh.

People who start sentences with, “I’m not racist, but..” Enough said.

I could certainly add to this list but rambling is another thing that I find particularly tiresome (and something I’m frequently guilty of) SO my plan is to just join, become a member of or even create groups on Facebook. That way everyone will know just how Goddamn serious I am.