The negotiations on a better EU deal for Britain conducted during the period of the coalition government had, unsurprisingly, reached a complete impasse, when it was decided that the best course of action would be to hold a sporting event to settle the issue. If the British won then they would put membership to their people, if the Europeans won then Britain would remain a member on the prevailing terms.
Various sports were considered and rejected. A soccer match between England and Germany was the obvious choice but the British, fearing it may end in a penalty shoot-out, declined. The next suggestion was a Rugby match between Scotland and Italy, but this time the Europeans felt that would be too one-sided. Continue Reading
Finding something by accident is always more fun, and such was the case yesterday when I stumbled upon Channel 4’s new series of Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year. It is a programme that just epitomises the eccentricities of the British, and how some go to extremes in pursuit of their dreams – and more power to their elbow for doing so!
The first episode featured two categories of this year’s competition – Summerhouses and ‘Not a Shed’. The first of these was won by The Mushroom House an amazing creation built by a father for his 12-year-old daughter, and the second by an Underground Bunker accessed through a quite normal garden shed and created by an inventor, who demonstrated one of his inventions – a rock guitar that blasts flames from the headstock! However my favourite was the guy who had recreated a replica 1950s ABC Cinema in his back garden, complete with authentic foyer, auditorium with 34 seats, and original projector!
Which brings me to the reason for my enforced near-absence from blogging for a couple years – a potential new neighbour who was proposing building a shed at the bottom of my garden. However, this was no ordinary neighbour, nor a shed that would provide the type of joy generated by the entrants of the above competition. Our nextdoor neighbour’s shed would have been part of the category that encompasses industrial units, because ‘shed’ is the term developers casually use for a massive distribution centre. Continue Reading
“It’s all gone a bit flat here.” These were the words of BBC 5-Live’s chief football correspondent George Riley in his report from Rio this morning, following England’s rapid exit from the World Cup at the hands, or should that be feet, of Costa Rica – before we had even played them! As might be expected, his report was heavily cliché-ridden, focussing particularly on the need for facing uncomfortable Truths.
Last night’s message from the Costa Rica fans
He was making his comments from the comfort of the massive World Cup Media Centre in Rio de Janeiro, but was he reflecting the mood of England fans in Brazil, or the atmosphere among the thousands of two-bit Fleet Street hacks whose long summer holiday watching the Girl from Ipanema had just been cut drastically short? Because the greatest Truth to be faced here is that, were world cup success for our soccer team measured purely in back-page column-inches, then we would have won more trophies than Brazil and Germany put together. Continue Reading
When an 89-year-old is told by his care home that he would not be able to go on a trip to France, you might expect him to just accept it and settle down in his armchair for an afternoon snooze. But Bernard Jordan is made of sterner stuff. In fact, one might have thought that the over-officious staff at his home in Sussex might have recognised this, as he had already demonstrated such qualities seventy years earlier, on 6th June 1944.
Which is why Bernard hatched an escape plan that may not have been as complex as some of those in the annals of Colditz or Stalag Luft III, but was nevertheless just as daring. He simply pinned his medals under his coat and told the staff that he was going out for an early morning stroll. Then, having enlisted a lift to the station from a friend, he made his way to Portsmouth to board a ferry for Normandy, where another veteran bound for the D-Day 70th Anniversary celebrations took Bernard under his wing. Continue Reading
I first came across Sam Eason a couple of months ago when he supported Scott Matthews at the Colston Hall in Bristol, and was really impressed with his short set. So when I saw a poster for Sam Eason & Friends at this super venue, I decided to pop along last night to see how he would be as a headliner.
At the Colston Hall, he performed his own songs with a friendly and relaxed air. He quickly built a good rapport with his audience, raising a smile with his occasionally self-deprecating little links between the songs. Armed with acoustic guitar and looper, his music is very much in tune with the current crop of singer/songwriters, with observations on life and love, told from the viewpoint of an observer who appreciates the lighter side to life. He was joined there for the last two songs by his wife, Beth, whose harmonies fit his vocals perfectly, and it is easy to see where the inspiration for his uncomplicated love songs comes from.
He has produced three EPs since 2011, plus a digital album of demos and covers, and I bought the latest EP called Leave the Dark Low that night, the title track being the opener for his set at the Old Theatre Royal, and one well-deserving a wider audience. Continue Reading