A couple of nights ago, Elaine was mentioning a conversation she’d had with a work colleague (during their break of course) concerning good-looking men in soap opera. It actually followed on from a chat we’d had whilst watching East-enders on Monday...
Back in the office, one vote had been cast in favour of Max Branning (Jake Wood) - “awight Tan”. Shaven-headed ginger men aren’t Elaine’s thing (nor mine I hasten to add), but Max does have one fan lurking somewhere near Middlesbrough - “awight Lauren... Abs...” a fact about which I’m sure he’ll be suitably chuffed.
Whilst at work, Elaine’s choice lay between Joey Branning (David Witts) or Scott Maslen, who plays Jack, yet another of the Branning clan. Understandably when she was at home, she took the correct option of picking Dr Legg, thereby sparing my particularly sensitive feelings!
The best-looking female member of the Eastenders cast? Well personality is obviously massively important, but assuming that she's lovely in real life, I must admit that Rita Simons is very attractive...
Anyway, when Elaine admitted to fancying some bloke called “Barlow”, I presumed the conversation had drifted onto Corrie and she was pining for Ken... but actually Miranda was on telly and the object of her desire was actually Gary Barlow.
Best of luck love!!! It’s a long queue... and I think even I’m in front of you!!!
My mind drifted back to when we saw Take That at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light a couple of years ago. I remember just watching Elaine as she sang and did the moves to Never Forget. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her so happy... it was a lovely memory that almost brought a tear to my eye.
Gary (or Gaz as I call him when we text) made a cameo appearance in a fantastic episode of Miranda, which included having his face proverbially “snogged off” by the show’s star (writer’s privilege). Miranda is a wonderful comedy... brilliantly observed and equally brilliantly written. My favourite character is Stevie (played by Sarah Hadland), perfectly crafted and performed and in due deference etc... “What have you done today to make you feel proud..?”
Well Heather, I wrote a blog. All good wishes, kind regards.
I listened to part of a really interesting debate on Radio 5’s “606” phone-in last night... the basic premise of which is that Robbie Savage would have deliberately upended an opposing player and in his words “taken one for the team” to deny a possible scoring opportunity.
I joined the programme just as some bloke castigated (well, he tried...) Savage for “cheating” – for actions he considered to be little different to those of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Robbie Savage is a pundit... a former professional who is (I believe) not setting out to be purposefully confrontational, but whose honest views may well divide popular opinion. That might not be too far away from the dictionary definition of “pundit” – you might not always agree, but at least the argument comes with the benefit of experience.
Apart from spending 25 years as a club cricketer of minimal repute, my views carry a lot less weight – but I’m going to air them nonetheless (coincidentally 606 was usually how one of my overs started!).
First of all, I would draw a major distinction between team and individual sport. The need to rely to a greater or lesser degree on your colleagues will surely create more situations when decisions are taken to the possible detriment of the individual, but the greater good of the whole.
Far more important though is the thought process. Lance Armstrong chose to deceive in a premeditated, calculated way that can never be compared with a split second on-field decision in a fast-paced team environment. Any “foul” play is carried out in full view of officials charged with interpreting the laws of the game and enforcing punishment; Armstrong’s deception runs much deeper than that because there was always a chance (or a hope or even expectation) that he would never be caught.
Enough of the cycling comparison... because realistically there is no real comparison. Team sports will be littered with examples of actions intended to either gain an advantage, or deny an opportunity... the hand in the ruck might cost a three-point penalty and a sin-binning in rugby union – but is that not better than a seven-point converted try?
Whatever the example, is it cheating?
No, of course it’s not. Is it breaking the rules?
Yes, but that’s why there’s a referee, umpire or whoever...
The problem modern sport faces is that the financial rewards for success are so high – and the consequences of failure so costly – that the line between rule-breaking and cheating has become much greyer in colour.
For every deliberate foul, there will be an equally intentional dive. The purpose is still to gain that advantage, but the technology of today can now readily identify the “cheat” and until the day comes when diving and the like is punished with an immediate red card and ban (even retrospectively), then of course the practice will continue.
As for the deliberate foul... well I agree entirely with Robbie Savage. In some ways, it is part of the embodiment of the team ethic and (in my irrelevant opinion) both is and probably always will be an integral element of any professional team sport in which winning is everything.
Interesting debate, good show... just needs a bit more time devoted to Gateshead FC and I’d be tuned in every week!
Approaching thirty years ago (it was actually 5th February 1983), I first saw The Alarm play live... they were supporting Stiff Little Fingers at Newcastle City Hall. Their sound was something new and exciting... their raw energy and passion had an instant effect on me, but I never thought for a moment that what I heard that night would have such a massive impact on my life. However, their music would eventually guide me through the end of my teens and into adulthood (and middle age), along with the ups and regular downs that followed.
I’ve lost track of the times that tingles have shot down my spine on hearing certain songs... there have been moments when the opening bars of Declarationor the words to Unsafe Building have been enough to move me to tears. Not many bands can do that...
I know The Alarm still has a huge base of fans (and deservedly so too...) but my love of their music has for the most part remained intensely personal over these past three decades. I have never met any of the original line-up – it’s unlikely that I ever will, but at least I can have this opportunity to say thank you... to Mike, Dave, Eddie and Nigel. To be able to make a difference to someone’s life is something very special indeed, but you have... and I will always be grateful...
Some of you will already know the identity of the only other band to have made such a lasting impression– Killing for Company. Two main differences... I was with Elaine when I first saw the band (so we discovered them “together”) and I’m lucky enough to be able to call Greg, Andy, Steve, Richie and Jamie mates. So whilst the Alarm’s original line-up may now live (albeit very clearly) in the memory, I am really hoping that Elaine and I will be able to see Killing for Company back on stage very soon...
Can’t wait to “get involved” all over again...
I’ve just sat and read through nearly 80,000 words charting the history of Gateshead Thunder’s rugby league club from November 1999 (when, for the uninitiated, our Super League side was... er... let’s say “uprooted” and generously given to Hull FC) through to September 2002.
The intervening months saw the formation of a brand new club (or should that read “clubs” – plural), an incredibly intense period of off-field politics and drama matched by equally tough times on the pitch.
Apart from today, I’ve probably flicked through the book once in the past decade, but even though I was reading my own words (something I knew because so many were spelt wrong), the memories of that time came flooding back, as did the emotional highs and lows (and a few more lows) that seem to have followed this fantastic club since its creation.
Buoyed by interest from both the club and the supporters’ club, I am planning on publishing this 280 page volume in the hope that others may want to relive a story that was researched and written at the time, but has never really been told. So many things have changed since 2002 – I don’t live in Gateshead anymore for one; but my love for the club has certainly stood the test of time – as have many friendships forged on the rugby league terraces.
I’m aiming to try and have the finished book ready for publication sometime in mid-March. Any comments (or even pre-orders!!!) are
always welcome but I will end this blog the same way I end the book – if there is to be a Gateshead Thunder history from 2003 onwards, somebody else will have to write it!
I wasn’t sure what to write about today, but the simple fact is that I’m feeling pretty lucky to be writing anything at all.
I was driving home along the A1 near Washington at about ten past three when a woman driving a Range Rover joined the inside lane (I was in the middle lane). I became aware that she was drifting towards the edge of her lane... worrying close to me... so I sounded my horn as I glanced to my left.
The look of horror on her face confirmed that she either hadn’t seen me, or hadn’t even bothered to look... but instead of straightening up, she kept on bloody coming and started actually crossing into my lane.
If I didn’t take some sort of evasive action, I was essentially going to get hit by the Range Rover. You’re not afforded much in the way of thinking time at 70mph and I instinctively veered to the right – and promptly lost control of the car. I swerved left then right across the middle and outside lanes for what seemed an age but was probably no more than a couple of seconds. If there had been any cars in the outside lane, I couldn’t have avoided a high-speed collision... but there weren’t and half a mile later, things were basically back to normal and I continued my southward journey.
Through my blog I would like to thank the woman in the Range Rover (never a great combination) for having such a big car but not being able to drive it... and far more sincere thanks to who or whatever ensured that outside lane was clear.
My neck, shoulders and hips are quite sore right now, but I’m sure a long soak in the bath will do the trick. If not the wine is chilling and I think I need to raise a glass to toast some very good fortune...
Well here we are... 2013... and blogs far and wide will be filled with details of New Year’s resolutions. Does anybody really want to know what promises others are going to make... and duly break? I bloody hope so because here are mine...
1) To finish the novel I started way back in 2005 (and have stopped, scrapped and restarted numerous times since...)
2) To try really hard and see if there is an agent or publisher out there who will like my work enough to (as Abba would say) “take a chance on me...”
3) Believe it or not... to exercise hard enough and successfully enough to mark my 49th birthday with a tasteful topless profile pic!!!
And yes, I know that no.3 will instantly lose me a lot of Facebook friends – but a man’s gotta do...
Finally, my arrival on Twitter has gone (as expected) largely unnoticed. I am currently being followed by 27 people and, in thanking each of them, I would make the observation that I am officially 116, 354 times less popular than Holly Willoughby.
That said, the year is still young...
All my own work... almost.