Monday, February 26, 2007
It's very funny, called 40 days in the wildreness, and you can read it here.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
I think some Marple traders make the trudge a pleasure. Saturday mornings are fun and it's good to potter, but for convenience and price you can't beat a supermarket. And when you've got 5 kids, pottering isn't always an option.
Why would anyone elect to trudge through mud and sleet wearing fourteen layers of clothing to shop at establishments who - if they actually had what you needed in stock - would charge you more for it than say Tesco or B&Q? The idea that the average High Street proprietor is more knowledgeable about his product or more concerned with satisfying his customers is, frankly, balderdash!
Customer service is universally bad, and the only place to get decent advice on
product is on the Internet - specifically from other consumers.
But I suspect the truth is that they fear that the majority of people do actually want the convenience and economy of a supermarket. So what these self-styled 'community activists' are saying is that townsfolk must be forced to shop in the High Street for its preservation and, apparently, their own good. This is a mini fascism.
Friday, February 23, 2007
1984 Second division v Leeds United 2-1, great game on Boxing Day, young skilful Leeds team got swept away by some Simon Garner magic
1990 FA Cup 3rd round v Liverpool - 1-1, when a Marko Van Atkins OG kept that whiney git Kenny Dalglish in the cup
1991 Second division v Plymouth - 5-2, the legend that is Kenny Dalglish is unveiled as manager
THE BEST 1992 play off semi final v Derby - 2-0 down, won 4-2. Mike Newell's wonder goal set us up nicely. The singing went on all through half time. Derby were shell shocked.
1995 VE Night v Newcastle. 1-0. You have to ask?
2001 First division v Burnley 5-0. April fools. Could have been 10.
2002 Worthington Cup semi final v Sheff Wednesday - 3-1 - We're all going to Cardiff
2002 UEFA Cup v Celtic, lost 2-0, but what a noise
2005 FA Cup replay v Burnley, won 2-1. By jove they gave us a game.
2006 Premiership v Manchester United 4-3. "Rio, Rio"
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
A Mole writes: Wayne Hemingway was on BBC Breakfast yesterday complaining that modern housing is not up to scratch and how most of it shouldn't get past the
planning stage because of the lack of thought placed on "community" amongst other things.
Found his preaching a little strange seeing as I'd recently viewed some apartments in Manchester city centre (the birchin) that he had put his name to thus earning piles of cash. The thing is the apartment I was looking at was supposed to be a two bedroomed. Bedroom two wasn't big enough to fit a washing machine in let alone a bed. When I pointed this out to the estate agent showing me round, their reply was that it wasn't really two bedroomed but they had to pretend it was to get through planning. Manchester City Council insist on a certain percentage of all units in anapartment block being 2+ plus bedrooms to attract more families to the city centre. Nice one Wayne Hemingway!
The self same professional northerner and alleged Rovers fan once upset a room full of Liverpool property people with righteous bleating and poor Scouser jokes. I was paying his bill.
You can link to it here.
* Are there really speed cameras on the southbound stretch near Kendal?
* Why doesn't Carnforth have a brown sign - Gateway to the Lakes?
* Is there a more dangerous junction than Lancaster North?
* Is there a more magnificent civic monument than the Ashton memorial?
* My personal Room 101 will be to be trapped forever at Forton services.
* Is there still some rude graffiti under the big T bridge at Scorton?
* Those chevrons on the southbound side between Galgate and Broughton, what are they all about?
* Adverts on lorry trailer parked in fields, that's not legal is it?
* My goodness isn't Lancaster University ugly?
* Has anyone from Dolphinholme or Bay Horse ever been arrested and prosecuted for using the works access roads?
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
We were entertained before the game by Sean Styles a local comedian we've booked before. Great Alan Hansen impersonation. Also this: "Blackburn fans eh? You've had some great players over the years. Alan Shearer. Haven't left anyone out have I?"
Anyway, it was far from quiet on Saturday; they were queueing outside by 10. The staff were rushed off their feet and initially we overhead some punters grumbling that their food hadn't arrived by 8.30, just as we arrived. If anything our concern was the opposite; we were rather rushed along. Not by a very sweet waiter, but by the manager who was rushing around.
The food was OK. Poppadoms were a bit stale, beer glass smelled of soap, but the rest was good. A nutty lamb balti, mixed sizzling grill, cheesy peas and a damn fine Peshwari naan.
Also pleased to see the Marple Bridge man who was at great pains to tell me he hasn't won the casino bid. It'll come, Ken, it'll come.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Best white wine: Marlborough Montana Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand
Best red wine: A really dark creamy Merlot (Argentina)
Best bottled lager: Cains finest lager (proper stuff, gorgeous cold)
Best draught lager: Staropramen
Best bitter: Moorhouses Pendle Witch (from Burnley, I know, I know)
Best place to buy wine: Majestic (just gets better)
Best vodka: Absolut Citron (keep it in the freezer and serve neat over ice)
Best champagne: Veuve Clicquot
Best late night tipple: brandy warmed and in a big glass
Best stout: Guiness in Dublin, obvious but so true
What do your employees get up to in cyberspace? Are you aware Miss Jones in accounts advertises herself on a social networking site as a bisexual paganist with a penchant for partner swapping and painful piercings?
Being a broad minded sort, you’d probably respond that while people kept things like that to themselves when you were a lad – worse luck – what she does in her private time is up to her.
Yes, but what about that young salesman who can get a bit lippy? Have you seen his Myspace blog? The one where he slags off all your customers. Still think social networking websites are something you don’t need to add to the long list of ball-aching things to worry about?
Ask the chief executive of Thorntons. The chocolate shop chain has just learned a very hard lesson courtesy of one of its junior managers.
Drafted over from Newcastle to Barrow-in-Furness, Steve Beall didn’t take to his new location. Trapped in a Travelodge on the outskirts of town, he told the world, via his Myspace blog, that Barrow-in-Furness was “a shithole” and queried how anyone could possibly live there.
Mr Beall, or Stevo to his Myspace friends, posted this on a page open to public access. Therefore anyone with a “Barrow-in-Furness” Google alert was sent an email directing them to his words of unwisdom.
One of those people was myself, editor of the North-West Evening Mail, read by more than 75 per cent of the adult population of Barrow-in-Furness. Do our readers have a right to know that the manager of a new store who smiles and takes their money by day is slagging them off to all the world by night? Yes, obviously they do.
So Mr Beall’s indiscretions appeared on our front page and some of our readers felt the need to speak to him. Thorntons’ staff felt threatened, police had to be called. Mr Beall was despatched back to Newcastle and the company’s chief executive issued a grovelling apology.
What followed was 15 minutes of infamy. Not just for Mr Beall but for me as well. On the blogosphere I was accused of suppressing free speech, invading privacy and putting a lonely young man at risk of losing his job just before Christmas.
Before you get the violins out, Mr Beall was not sacked, just reprimanded.
Even so, here are the views of one blogger, a PR man called Stephen Newton: “If anybody should be sacked over this affair it’s the editor Steve Brauner, who thought Steve Beall’s MySpace page was news.”
Did this flash of insight come to Mr Newton after his Apple iMac fell on his head? Does he think the scores of newspapers, websites, TV and radio stations who followed up the story were all stricken with the same lapse of editorial judgement? He needs to realise that cyberspace is not a sim world where it doesn’t matter what you do or say. Free speech comes with responsibility and consequences, on Myspace or anywhere else.
RockTalk 106.1 is wholly-owned by The Guardian Media Group. It will provide "a speech and rock music service for 35-64 year-olds, which contains a strong commitment to local news, current affairs and interactive debate for the Manchester area. Comprehensive local, national, world news and information is included, with a wide variety of rock music played during off-peak and Bank Holidays".
In Manchester, GMG now owns the only daily paper (The Manchester Evening News), a TV station (Channel M), loads of weekly papers, it has a stake in the Metro free paper, it also owns two other FM radio licences (Century FM, Jazz FM).
Thursday, February 08, 2007
With this thought in mind I can tell you all, brothers, that I’m reading a remarkable book at the moment called What’s Left – how liberals lost their way by a writer called Nick Cohen. He charts the betrayal of causes such as freedom of speech, human rights and equal opportunities by people who have completely lost their moral and political compass: people who will defend Islamist death cults, or Serbian thugs, because they are against George Bush and Tony Blair. Or the west. Or whatever.
The very things that many on the left wanted in the 1980s are now comfortably within the reach of our children. The liberators are education, freedom of thought and freedom to trade. Socialism is a dead ideology. But the ability to do business and the benefits of doing good business are there for all to see.
There’s probably an even better book to read, if you have the time, which picks up where Cohen finishes the question – what is in fact now left to care about? It’s called The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. The subtitle is – a brief history of the twenty-first century and it argues that a new flat world is a fairer world to hope for. The end result is the same, but the journey is very different. Comrades: there are still some battles worth fighting.
This piece will appear in a newsletter for Downtown Liverpool in Business
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
It is also not on to post anonymously on this site naming people as being responsible for any of the above misfortunes. I won't have it. Be honest, be loyal, be kind.
Monday, February 05, 2007
The Progressive Patriot - a search for belonging by Billy Bragg. Cockney folk singer makes a decent stab at English history by evoking traditions of the English Civil war, the domestic front during the Second World War, the labour movement and folk music. It's a lively and informative enough read, gets bogged down a few times in an obsession with a Bill of Rights and the history of Barking, but it's billed as a personal journey so why not? Six out of ten.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
Best phone-in programme: Alan Beswick on Red Rose Radio in the mid-1980s
Best football commentator: Mike Ingham on Radio Five Live
Most negative summariser: Richard Dinniss on BBC Radio Lancashire - "there's just no coheeeesion"
Best radio station in the world: BBC Radio Lancashire
Biggest berk on the radio: Tim Westwood
Best football phone-in: Legends on Century FM, especially when a hysterical Gary Owen is in full flight
Best double act on the radio: Jane Garvie and Peter Allen on Radio Five Live
Last time BBC Radio One was any good: When Chris Evans did the Breakfast Show
Best fictional radio station: Chorley FM, "coming in local ears"
Worst choice of topic for a radio phone-in: Islamic terrorism
Put it this way, it's probably a very nice drive during the day.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Guerra by Jason Webster. Slightly annoying English bloke is bored living in Spain, wants to find out about the Spanish Civil War. Book alternates chapters between a very breezy history (good) and tales of him playing keystone cops around the underbelly of Spanish society (hit and miss).
6 out of ten.