Sunday, 31 January 2010

Dancing on Ice - the Skate off

With Gary, Danny and Tana in the last three, unless Tana gets through she must be the one to go. Don't lose Danny or Gary now!

In the end it was Tana and Danny in the final with Tana losing out - thank goodness, no more Ramsays!

Dancing on Ice - 31 January 2010

Bad dress choice form the ladies tonight there was far too much dress for Holly and not enough dress for Jayne.

Does anyone else think there are too many contestants in this programme - it takes up the whole night. Can we not lose a few this week - chop it down a bit?

70s Night

Kieron Richardson First up this week and dancing to Play the Funky Music. I hate that song it reminds me of the seedy night clubs I used to go to in the 70s. Not bad but I think he is getting skinnier - he doesn’t have any weight to spare - get some beef dinners!

Tana Ramsay Got a good song. If you can’t dance to an Abba song on 70s night I would just give it up. Good song choice for Tana as she looks a bit like one of the Abba group members - can’t remember the name - Benny I think it was. Apparently Tana has promised Gordon they will have child number five if she gets into the final - God preserve us!

Emily Atack. Great song for Emily the Baccara classic a big song in Gatsby’s in Whitley Bay in 1977. Now I know who Emily Atack is - she is Kate Robbins daughter. Loved the bit where she got the leg sweep wrong and they both nearly went flying - funniest thing I have seen for ages!

Danny Young Thought he looked pretty uncomfortable throughout routine. I think he is going backwards. Don’t think Jason and Frankie get on, bit of a squabble. Not sure why they don’t get on, it seemed to start just after he called her a dog!

Mikey Graham He must have lost a bit of weight as he wasn’t given a jacket to wear this week, but he did have a massive tie to help cover up still heading in the right way. He seems the most improved - he could win this!

Heather Mills Not sure how she did, its difficult to watch her when the alternative is watching Matt Evers! So-so comments from the judges - think she might have peaked

Hilary Jones Can’t bear to watch - time for a cup of tea - please stop voting for him.

Daniella Westbrook Doing well and good scores. Could it be a Mikey and Daniella final - don’t think so really!

Sharon Davies I think she did quite well this week, problem is, no one likes her. Lovely Carol King song - listen again with James Taylor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7RPCFfudmU

Gary Lucy A few wobbles and I hate that song. What they don’t to his hair. Come on Gary you will have to relax a bit to stay in it.

Hayley Tammadon Think that was the hardest routine of the night. Pleased to hear ‘enough is enough’ a great 70s song - no one ever believes me when I say Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand did a duet in the 70s - but here it was. Best score of the night for Hayley.

Spoilt for choice on who to lose this week, Hilary, Emily Heather and Sharon (although I do think Sharon should stay) are all up there to leave. Don’t vote for Hilary!

John Terry

I don’t often comment on such things, largely they are none of my business so not for me to comment, but I have to make comment this time.

Not on the actions of Terry, that is for Terry and the people involved to sort out, but on the role of the hypocritical press in this country. They have been shouting in self-righteous indignation at the nerve of a citizen in this country taking out an injunction to shut them up. The scream about the right of the press and freedom of speech, when what they really mean is ‘hooray the injunction has been lifted we can sell lots of papers’.

It is not in the public interest that I know that John Terry has had an affair. It has no impact on my life whatsoever. It does not improve my life or change it in anyway. There is no public interest. What they mean is ‘a lot of the public will be interested and so we can sell a lot of papers’. It is not the same thing.

This is a win-win situation for the press. If he loses his position they can say how sad that an affair has lost him his job. If he stays as England captain, they can trundle out the story every time things don’t go Chelsea\England’s way. The press must have been upset when he scored the winning Chelsea goal on Saturday!

I have seen a lot about Terry as ‘Captain of England’ and is he fit to be ‘England’s captain. Just a point, John Terry is not England’s captain, he might be captain of a football team that represents England in international football, but he does not captain the country. Thousands, may be millions of people and organisations represent England abroad, but they are not captains of the country.

It is a bit 19th century to ask ‘Is John Terry fit to represent his country when he has had an affair’? Yes I have really heard that question asked. What a load of hypocritical nonsense. We will have to put up with a Prince that had an affair as head of state at some point. If we can manage that I am sure we can cope with a football team captain that has had an affair.

I concede that training might be a little difficult as the boyfriend of the lady in question is in the team. Leading to one or two barbed one liners from Wayne Bridge along the lines of ‘oh yeah and if I don’t turn up for training what you going to do - sleep with my girlfriend?’ But again that is not the public’s concern.

The press just love this - they can make it run and run. If Terry stays as England captain and England don’t win the World cup (and let’s face it, every competition we hear about how ‘this side is the best side for years and has the best chance ever’. when really I was a little lad the last time England won the World cup), they can blame it all on Terry.

If he doesn’t stay and England don’t win the world cup they can say it is all his fault and how he threw away our best chance for a generation because of a brief affair.

The worst result for the press is if Terry stays as England captain and we win. They just won’t know who to blame!

Come on England - and Terry.

Jean Harlow and Marie Dressler

From Dinner at Eight

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zQe-lVm7L4

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Hello Dolly ...

... but not who you think will be singing it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Q3YlnH3p5M&feature=related

Click the arrow to open the video in a new window

Dancing Queens

How many dancing actresses can you name?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fiamrzSkRY

Eye care

I see Garnier is promoting its new eye care product Eye Roll-on enriched with Caffeine. It is advertised as if it is widely accepted that caffeine has skin age reducing properties. As if everyone has known for centuries that applying Caffeine to your skin will remove lines and wrinkles!

Absolutely ridiculous.

But Boots did have it on offer so I bought two.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Popstar to Operastar

Thought I would give it another go. Was a bit better than previous weeks although I was disappointed with Danny. He was great last week but this week not so good and with an easier song too!

If you want to see Danny sing Caruso by Dalla

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TBCp_LbJ-c

What has Myleene (or as I call her Marlene) done with her hair?

Jimmy was not so good and I think he was in the sing off last week so I think it is time we were spared any more of his attempts at Opera.

Bit worried about Darius (has he lost a lot of weight?) he seems to be turning into Rowan Atkinson - please don't. Grenada is not my favourite (I always think of the old TV Rental advert from goodness knows when .... Its Great service you get renting your colour set from Grenada ....) and I cant take it seriously.

Why did Darius change his name from Danesh to Campbell?

Then there was Bernie, another flamming Nolan. I hate to say it but she was really good. Helped of course (as was Marcella) by being given Mozart to sing, but nevertheless it was good.

Best performance was Marcella\Bernie - person to leave Jimmy

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Hotels in Leeds – The Radisson

The Queens was full this week so I was consigned to the Radisson (renamed Radisson Blu from its previous name Radisson SAS – not sure that makes the experience any different but I am sure they have their reasons).

Nice enough building just off The Headrow. The hotel is housed in a Grade II Art Deco listed building and has what the website calls a ‘Modern’ interior.

My blood runs cold when I hear a description of ‘modern’ this usually means it was last done in the ‘70s but apparently the refurbishment of this hotel was completed in 2002. It might have been completed in the 21st century but the interior has a decidedly ‘90s feel to me. I am not complaining – it is a great improvement on the Ashes to Ashes ambience of the Park Plaza.

Check in was easy and quick and then straight off to my room. I have stayed here before so I new what to expect in terms of room design – all the rooms are the same, slightly different layout but furnishings almost identical. Although I say that, my room did have a built in wardrobe with two doors. If I remember rightly on my last stay the ‘wardrobe’ was a circular contraption in the centre of the room, a bit like a revolving door with automatic lights where you hang your clothes. It was quite novel but totally unnecessary as when I hang up my clothes all I need is a cupboard to hang them in.

First things first on getting to my room – does the heating work. My experiences of hotel living over the last few months is that even four star hotels are totally incapable of providing basic heating that a) works and b) is warm. I switched on the heating and it came on straight away – an improvement on The Queens where once you switch it on it is about 15 minutes before it decides it is going to come on – or perhaps not, as the case may be. Not only did it come on, the heat produced was warm …. ish.

The heating system was unfortunately of the ‘blowing warm air from vents on the ceiling’ variety. I cannot understand why you would want to try and heat a room in this way. It is alright if you are 7 foot tall and want a warm head and frizzy hair. But for anyone else it just means that you have a warm ceiling and cold everywhere else.

There was a bit of a twist to this hotel’s heating system. I noticed it produced ‘warm air corridors’ where if you stand in a particular spot it is warm. Step one foot out of this ‘warm corridor’ and you are cold. Again this is fine it you want to stand in the same spot all night and not move, but a little restricting if you want to move about a bit.

The duvet on the bed was the next issue to conquer. I call it a duvet – but I struggle to imagine anyone giving this cotton bag with six feathers in it the title ‘Duvet’. I don’t know what ‘tog’ it was – but it wasn’t 13.5 that’s for sure. I froze the first night and had to ask for an additional blanket for the rest of my stay. I can’t bear being cold in bed so this is a major minus for me.

Went straight to reception the next day and asked for another blanket. The lady was very helpful but suggested I leave the heating on at night. This would have been my preferred option but as the heating system sounds like a vacuum cleaner it wasn’t really a workable suggestion. A blanket was sent up a little later. So a bit warmer the next day, but I would prefer a warm room.

Watching the TV had its challenges. There was a remote supplied so that was a good sign. Moving from channel to was ok as long as you wanted to move from BBC2 to ITV1 or between either of these channels and Channel 4, but moving from any channel to BBC1 was impossible. Equally impossible was the ability to use on/off button to switch the TV on or off. I rang reception.

‘My TV remote doesn’t work’

‘What is wrong with it’

‘I cant get it to change onto BBC1’

‘Do you need to watch BBC1, can you not watch something else?.

‘Well not really, I wanted to watch EastEnders and it’s not on ITV1’

‘Its a bit boring at the minute’

‘What is?’

‘EastEnders, so you’re not missing much’.

‘Well, that’s not the point I will want to watch BBC1 at some time while I’m here’

‘Have you tried swapping the batteries around?’

‘Does that work?’

‘It might’

‘Hang on a minute while I give it a go’ I took the back off the remote and swapped the batteries around. Tried switching to BBC1 and still didn’t work.

‘I’ve swapped both batteries around and it still doesn’t work’

‘Both?’ she said 'there are three batteries in the remote'.

‘No, there are only two in this one’ I said

‘Have you lost one?, We can’t replace the batteries if you have lost one’

'I haven’t lost one - there were only two in the remote when got it’.

‘But you have been here a day already - did you not check when you arrived?’

‘Well no, I didn’t think I had to check the batteries when I arrived’.

‘It would make it easier for us if you did next time you stay here’.

‘Ok but can I have another battery in the meantime’

‘Of course - but don’t lose this one as well’. My Battery duly arrived and full control over the TV was established.

Connection to BBC1 now established I now find that BBC1 has no sound! Should I phone reception again – perhaps not. There was nothing on anyway!

Breakfast proved manageable – but since all I have is a bowl of muesli there is not much scope for getting things wrong there. Although you do have to be quick on your feet, as they insist of corralling everyone into one corner of the restaurant, so if you want a seat on your own you have to disregard where they try to put you and just strike out on your own!

Why do they do that? As I pointed out to the lady, I don’t have breakfast with 24 strangers at home so why should I want to do it when I am in a hotel!

Next week I am back at the Metropole – oh joy. I seem to recall one or two incidents on my last visit. Let’s hope things have improved.

Security Pass

I was chatting to one of our Indian supplier colleague this morning and he was looking at my security pass.

'Have you had that pass a long time?' he asked

'Er no it's about a year old'

'Oh' he said 'you look a lot older now'!

Flaming cheek! Some people don't care if they never work in this city again!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

How much?

Popped into Tesco on the way back to hotel for a couple of things - at the Till the lady picked up an item and said 'how much are these'?

'Oh I don't know' I said .

'Well how am I supposed to scan it in if you don't know the price'?

'I didn't know I had to memorise the prices'

She was getting quite cross by now. 'Well are these the £1 ones or the £2 ones'?

I saw my chance - 'They are definately the £1 ones'

I thought you didn't know how much they were'?

'I just remembered'

She scanned them in and we were both happy.

Voucher

Bought a couple of items at Boots tonight for about £20 (as a result of my mishap reported earlier). At the till the lady (she looked like she was in a bit of a mood) asked me if I had a voucher.

Unfortunately I did not - so she took my money, gave me a receipt and gave me a £5 voucher, for my next purchase!

What is the point of that - I have just bought the stuff, can I not have the money off now? Apparently not. I think people do these things just to get me annoyed!

She seemed to cheer up at this point!

Disaster at the Radisson

Bit of a shock last night, I unpacked my bag in the hotel only to find I had left my small wash bag containing one or two items of toiletry at home!

I can’t understand it as I always leave it in my case and just replace items as and when required. This was total disaster; fortunately I keep a spare mini toilet bag in the side pocket of my case and as I don’t really use that many products all was not lost. But a bit of a scare all the same.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

CSI Leeds

Arrived back in the Leeds office today to find a corner of the office has been 'cordoned off' CSI style.

There is plastic sheeting hanging from the ceiling - I think it is called a tarpaulin.

At first I thought that maybe there had been a fatality – but everyone seems accounted for.

Then someone said its there cause they are making more room. Don’t understand that because now there is less room.

And there doesn’t seem to be a door so I don’t know how you are supposed to get in, and when you walk past, the plastic sheeting wafts, and I don’t think I approve.

Maybe someone will tell me what is going on - maybe they wont.

Who is Brian Green?

New chap started in my workshop today - Brian Green. Who is he and what is he doiing inm y workshop. More importantly why is he telling me what my requirements are?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Icon - Paul Newman

Paul Newman

Date of Birth
26 January 1925, Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA

Date of Death
26 September 2008, Westport, Connecticut, USA

Paul Newman - Viva Forever
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztGkRJ9Nc68&feature=fvw

Paul Newman - Cool
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr0IeZXtMrA&feature=related

Paul Newman - Boys Don’t Cry
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoL5C8qKRNw&feature=related

Tribute to Paul Newman
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo5brxDZKVQ&feature=fvw

Trivia

In 1979, Paul finished 2nd in the Le Mans 24hr race driving a Porsche 935.

In 1968, Paul directed his first motion picture Rachel, Rachel which starred his wife Joanne Woodward.

In 1954, Paul made his screen debut in the film The Silver Chalice.

After spending a year at Yale Drama School, Paul went to New York and attending the famed New York Actor's Studio.

In 1949, Paul received a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Economics from Kenyon College.

Before he became an actor, Paul ran his family's sporting goods store in Cleveland, Ohio.

Paul trained to be a pilot while in the U.S. Navy, but was unable to complete because of his color blindness.

Paul and his wife Joanne Woodward are the only couple to win acting Academy Awards while they were married.

Shocking PC

I have been getting small electric shocks off my PC in the Leeds office for a week or so. have reported and the man from IT was due to look at it today, (have been in the Newcastle office today).

A colleague phoned me to tel me the man had been and looked at it. 'Has he fixed it?' I asked.

'I think so' he said, 'well at least I think he has, he left a bowl of water next to your PC before he left!'

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Dancing on Ice - the Skate-off

Skate-off between Jeremy and Sharon. I hate to say it but Jeremy wasn’t so good and had to be the one to leave. Don’t know if it is worth watching now!

Icons

A weekly series for 2010 where I will feature Icons from the world of performance.

Difficult to narrow the list down to just 52, but the ones chosen have a particular significance for me.

Hope you enjoy the stroll down memory lane and the reminder of some great performances and performers.

Icons already featured, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

Quote of the Century

'I'd like to kiss you but I've just washed my hair'

Betty Davis - The Cabin in the Cotton

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQqKIlga1FQ&NR=1

Dancing on ice 24 January 2010

Not sure about Holly’s dress this week - lovely colour blue - but it made her look a bit washed out.

Emily Atack
Better than last time and I think the practice is paying off - very pretty girl and I’m not sure it was a good idea putting her with Fred - he’s a married man! And What is Fred doing with his hair?

Sharron Davies
Not great - possible for skate-off this week - although there is a lot of competition at the lower end of the table. Pavel could do with losing a few pounds - or he might not be doing the series next year!

Mikey Graham
Could be the dark horse and creep up on the others without being noticed. Need to watch the diet or he might find himself in a jacket one week.

Hilary Jones
Not good and I think he got one of his moves off Frank Spencer. I’m sure he did it on roller skates in an old episode of Some Mothers Do Ave Em. Please vote him off

Gary Lucy
Nice routine - not as energetic as Danny’s but a good routine. Gary is better technically than Danny and in the end this will show. Think in weeks ahead Gary will out perform Danny.

Heather Mills
Not really sure what her performance was like - I couldn’t stop looking at her eyelashes - what was going on there? She looked like Betty Legs Diamond. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYuExOIBp00

Tana Ramsay
Not good - the female Hilary I think - and poor Stuart, he was doing all the work for the two of them.

Kieron Richardson
Not bad but he was throwing that poor girl around like a bag of coal. Have noticed they put fat contestants in jackets and skinney ones in waistcoat shirt and tie. Keep at it Kieron and one day you might be good enough to wear a sleeveless top!

Jeremy Sheffield
Getting better, but I long way to go - hope we don’t lose him on the way.


Hayley Tamaddon
She is good, but I think she is a bit boring. Nice to see Dan though, he is ying to win it so he will be pushing Hayley.

Danniella Westbrook
Can’t help it but she is quite good, she will be around for a few weeks yet.

Danny Young
Nice routine but he is doing the tricks far too early - will show in later weeks. If he doesn’t get the basics right he will lose out. Think I might be changing my mind about him being potential winner. Having said al that he is good to watch - but maybe they shouldn’t ask him to speak - might be better if he didn’t say anything.


Bit of a spat between Jason and Robin this week. I like Jason but really he shouldn’t argue what is technically allowed and what isn’t with Robin Cousins - I think ronbin knows a bit more about ice skating that Jason does.

Skate off this week? It should be Hilary and Tana, but who knows!

Choice

If you have to choose between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, and you do, the answer is always Bette Davis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O14s_03Is88

You will be singing the song next week.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Icon - Joan Crawford

If you do Bette Davis you have to do Joan Crawford.

Joan Crawford Club mix

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpmI3cAGeHw

Joan Crawford Fashionista

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao-G_ftKX-g&feature=related

Joan Crawford Damaged

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZu8EiDMeBA&feature=related

Mommie Dearest - Theatrical Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjRaU8hRVJs&feature=related

Tinaaaa!!! Bring me the Axe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpY0tmpLZBs&feature=related

Wine

Saw a food and wine 'expert' on some TV programme telling us that 'it is notoriously difficult to find wine to go with soup'.

No it isn't difficult at all. If you are having soup and you want some wine, indicate the one you want and say 'I'll have that one there'. Not difficult at all!

Gate Assistance

Would someone give the gentleman working at Leeds train station who has the words 'Gate Assistance' written on the back of his donkey jacket a message.

Please tell him that the best way to give 'gate assistance' is to stop standing in front of the gate and get out of the way!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Missing U

A colleague said that the letter ‘U’ on his keyboard had stopped working. This caused much hilarity in the office, but it did prompt the question ‘Do you really need the letter ‘U’?

I did suggest that he started to say ‘as soon as possible’ instead of ‘quite quickly’. But he didn’t look very convinced.

I think he was making a lot of fuss about nothing. Unless he was planning to write to the University of Uzbekistan with a critique of the Uzbekistan’s army uniform that it was the ultimate unattractive uniform which although unique, unisex and unadorned was ugly, unattractive and unbecoming. Then I couldn’t see his problem.

There are 25 other lettered keys on his keyboard after all. Some people are ever satisfied!

Dining Out

When dining in a arestaurant I am sure we think we are in control of what we buy and what we pay. Maybe we are not - check out this guide on how not to buy the most expensive item on the menu.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/21/menus-cunning-marketing-ploys

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Icon - Bette Davis

They don’t show Bette Davis films on TV anymore.

Bette David eyes Remixed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O14s_03Is88


Bette Davis clips

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea5__uUuxoU


Miss Bette Davis at her most magnificent, and watch out for a cameo of an early Marilyn Monroe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg-ckMup6SI

National Television Awards

Not really into TV awards - all the same loveys going from one red carpet to the next and telling everyone how wonderful they are. But there was nothing else on last night so had it on in the background.

I see Ant and Dec got a couple of awards, well done. And I think they didn't even vote for themselves this year!

Has Ant changed his hair? About time, his forehead was getting higher and higher.

Has Simon Cowell taken over everything. Not only was he nominated - the 'impartial' National Television Awards was hosted by Dermot the X Factor host. Geordie Joe, X Factor winner, opened the show with a new tune and we even had Jedward (X Factor last 12 finalists) singing (well I say singing) their new song - Under Pressure (Freddie and Bowie if you are too young to remember the original.

If you want to see how it should be done


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fpupBCL6TE


NTA? It was more like Simon Cowell Show with a few extra bits to make up the time!


Catch up with all the Awards - check out the site

http://www.nationaltvawards.com/default.aspx?page=2


or watch it on ITV Player

http://www.itv.com/itvplayer/

Strange Facts

A person at rest generates as much heat as a 100watt light bulb

A quarter of Russia is covered by forest.

A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continually from the bottom of the glass to the top.

A silicon chip a quarter inch square has the capacity of the original 1949 ENIAC computer, which occupied a city block.

A sizable oak tree, during the typical growing season, gives off 28,000 gallons of moisture.

About 300 million cells die in your body every minute.

About 3000 years ago, most Egyptians died by the time they were thirty.

A zebra is white with black stripes.

Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel in 1952.

All 17 children of Queen Anne died before she did.

Canada has more lakes that the rest of the world combined.

Canada is an Indian word meaning Big Village.

Due to gravitational effects, you weigh slightly less when the moon is directly over head.

During a life time, one person generates more than 1000 pounds of red blood cells.

Awards Season

This years Awads season is almost upon us and I know that you, like me will be worring about what to wear.

Check out this timely article from the Guardian.

Follow these tips to avoid fashion disasters and being ridiculed in public.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/20/brits-baftas-oscars-fashion

Spread of the Thermos

I reported a while ago the phenomenon of the spreading Thermos flask and how more and more people seem to have them.

Emboldened by the spread of the Thermos they are walking around quite boldly carrying these flasks as if it is the most natural thing in the world – maybe it is and I just missed the memo.

But now I think things have gone too far – I saw someone the other day filling a hot water bottle – and a red hot water bottle at that would you believe!

Snow Returns

GMTV reported the return of the snow this morning, saying it will snow in parts of Wales and Central England. With snow even in Oxfordshire.

OMG EVEN in Oxfordshire! What is the world coming to when there will be a snow flake in Oxfordshire and none in the North - it is outrageous - I blame Gordon Brown. There was never snow in Oxfordshire when Maggie was around!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Paper shortage

Bit of a crisis in the office today – no A4 paper for the printer. It was suggested we photocopying the little amount of paper we had left, but funnily enough this didn’t seem to resolve the problem.

At one point I heard that a couple of colleagues were cutting A3 paper in half to see if that would help, but I had to stop them – they were cutting the paper horizontally not vertically!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Dancing on Ice - the skate-off

I was surprised to see Gary in the skate off (pleased to see Jeremy get through though), although having said that I don’t think he comes across as a very warm person and I think that has impacted his vote-ability. I thought it would have been Bobby and Hilary. Not much doubt who would get voted off pity as I would have liked to have seen more of Bobby. Still there you go.

One question - why does Philip have to shout the results - he has a microphone and we can hear him quite clearly - please stop shouting!

Dancing on Ice - the Boys

First the important bit - Holly’s dress. Lovely in Green, very Katherine Jenkins, until we saw the back, and then saw there wasn’t a back, very nice. And a nice touch from Philip Schofield with matching handkerchief in his pocket - very David Niven - I have a work colleague who would approve. Although one small point, by matching with Holly’s dress he missed the bit about matching with his tie, so he only made sense when Holy was standing next to him. Am I being too picky?

And of course we have Jason - the pantomime villain on the Judges panel. But he said an interesting thing up front, saying 'I call it the way I see it’ A lot of people say ‘I call it like it is’ which is not the same. It is a subtle distinction not many people get.

Anyway the performances, first up

Gary Lucy

Steady performance and a good mark, but I think he is going to struggle to be a ‘dancer on ice’.

Hilary Jones

Think he might be fighting for last place with Bobby Davro, And Hilary, please fasten that shirt up - its not nice.

Danny Young

My favourite (sorry Gary) great start considering no past experience. They gave his some complicated things to do and he did them. You could tell he was thinking each move through rather than just dance it - but it is the first week. I’m sure he will be great - and we have a winner!

Bobby Davro

Never been a fan of Bobby but he came over quite well, and the clowning around when you are trying to rehearse would wear a bit thin. But a natural performer so should see Hilary off in the dance off - if they are the two in the dance-off of course.

Kieron Richardson

Better than I thought he was going to be - could do a bit more movement on the ice. Good lifts and a lot of potential for the future. He could do with a few beef dinners to fill out that shirt a bit. Nice to see Chris Fountain, some of us haven’t forgotten how he was robbed in 2008.

Jeremy Sheffield

Ok it was slow it was laboured but for me it was the best dance performance of the night - the Royal Ballet training certainly came through. Please vote for Jeremy don’t let him go so soon.

Mikey Graham

Performance was ok - but I can’t get past thinking of him as being the boring one out of Boyzone. Good score though.

My leader board

Danny Young
Gary Lucy
Kieron Richardson
Jeremy Sheffield
Mikey Graham
Bobby Davro
Hilary Jones

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Popstar Opera star

I love opera, I love the music I love the glamour, I love the clothes, high end couture so although I don’t like to do two reality shows at the same time, (I am already doing Dancing on Ice) I decided to give Popstar Opera star a go.

First up was Jimmy Osmond. Why did the audience start ecstatic cheering as soon as he started singing? I am no snob (you know me) but I’m sorry that audience wouldn’t know its violin bow from its arias. The singing was awful, I’m sorry Jimmy but you couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. Bless him! (Note. For those not familiar with alternate lifestyle culture, Jimmy Osmond was awarded ‘Bless him’ status after his appearance on I’m A Celebrity, up until then he was just embarrassing!)

Then we had Bernie Nolan - just exactly how many Nolans are there? Last year on Dancing on Ice we had to put up with the scantily clad Collen Nolan being hurled around the ice rink every week. I have seen parts of her anatomy that quite frankly I thought I would never have to see. And as for the poor professional dancer that had to lift her up and throw her over her head it was quite deflating to see him get more and more depressed each week as the audience kept voting her in.
I have the awful feeling that Bernie is going to go the same way and we are going to be stuck with her till the very end.

Darius of course is lovely but if I hear one more version of Nessun Dorma I will kill myself - please sing something else!

Then there was Alex James. What the bloody hell was that!

Wasn’t he in that pop group Blur? It is bad enough having to see the column he writes in the Independent each week and witness his smug self-satisfied view of life without having to see him try to sing on TV.

If you haven’t seen his column in The Independent it is all about how wonderful he is and how wonderful some tatty small holding he runs in the Cotswolds. You must read it sometime - on second thoughts don’t bother.

And just for the record Mr James while you are telling us all how great and clever you are and how successful you have been, just remember 20p of your money came from me in 1994, and I would like it back thank you very much coz your group turned out to be rotten.

All in all the show was not good - Katherine Jenkins aside, she was magnificent.

But I should have realised it would be poor when I saw Alan Titchmarsh was hosting it. Who on earth thought ‘now let me see, we are making a show about high opera who shall we get to host it - oh I know Alan Titchmarsh’!

I think I will give it all a miss.

If you want to check it out - the official website

http://www.itv.com/entertainment/popstartooperastar/

Drama at the Hairdressers

Went to get my haircut this morning and Michael wasn’t in. He had been dramatically rushed to hospital the previous night to have his appendicitis out. He is to be operated on as soon as possible.

This caused me a great deal of alarm, but it was alright - they had arranged for Hayley to cut my hair instead.

Cold Hotels

A colleague told me that the other week at he height of the bad weather he had checked into a Duncan Bannatyne hotel but his room was very cold. He told reception, there was no heating and it was -5C outside could they do something - they said there was a heater in his wardrobe and he should think himself lucky to have that. Nice customer service!

Similar to my experience last week at the Queens in Leeds - my suite had no heating and I was told they weren’t giving out heaters and I could have an extra blanket!

How can hotels get four stars when they can’t provide heating to rooms in the midle of winter!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

No Problem

I have noticed an increasing use of the term ‘No problem’ over the last few years. When did the things in everyday life become ‘problems’ that had to be solved, and why do I have to be told that things that shouldn’t be a problem are ‘not a problem’?

For example, I recently wanted to go to a rotten bar in Newcastle so I booked a taxi over the phone.

I told them who I was, where I was, where I wanted to go and what time I wanted to go there. My booking was confirmed and I was told ‘not a problem’.

Well I didn’t think it would be a problem, what with you being a taxi firm that takes bookings for taxis and me being a person that wanted to book a taxi!

Please stop saying ‘No problem’.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Darwin Award - Two Nominees

There were two early nominees for the Darwin Award for services to the Evolution of Human kind this morning.

Firstly to the gentleman who conveniently left his bicycle inside the Boots shop at Leeds train station. He gets a special commendation for taking special care to block one of the tiny isles for anyone trying to get in or out of this smallest of stores and for leaving the peddles sticking out so everyone could trip over them.

The second nominee is the lady that stood in the queue watching half a dozen people get served and then when it was her turn and the lady had put her purchases through the till went through the following sequence of events when ask to pay for her goods:

· Registered shock at being asked to pay
· Retrieved and opened her shopping bag
· Rooted around and retrieved her handbag
· Opened handbag and rooted around for her purse
· Opened purse and rooted around for money
· Retrieved and handed over £10 note
· Returned purse to handbag
· Listened to question ‘Have you got an Advantage card?’
· Registered shock at the question and realisation that she did indeed have an Advantage card
· Opened purse rooted around for Advantage card
· Handed over Advantage card.

The reverse manoeuvre of these events is too depressing to document – leave it to say that it took her as long to be in a safe position to leave the store.

Why does it come as a complete surprise to some people that they have to pay for things at the checkout!

I am a bit concerned that I should be at the same place and at the same time as two potential Darwin Award winners.

If you were in Boots at Leeds station this morning – I was the person standing patiently with steam coming out of his ears.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Working in Leeds

Followers of my blog will know that some days in the week I work in the coldest building in Leeds. I have noticed over recent days a number of people walking around with Thermos flasks. Today I noticed an explosion of flasks – everyone seems to have one.

I am not really familiar with the concept of flasks so I asked a colleague to explain what they are for. She explained that they keep ‘hot food’ hot and ‘cold food’ cold.

‘Interesting’ I thought, ‘I wonder how it knows what to do’.

I asked my colleague what she had in the flask. She said she was taking full advantage of its technology and she had soup and ice cream!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Moving Day

Moving Day is a tradition (not a legal requirement) in the province of Qubec Canada, dating from the time when the province used to provide fixed terms for leases of rental properties. It falls on July 1, which is also Canada Day.

The tradition began as a humanitarian measure of the French colonial government of New France, who forbade seigneurs, the semi-feudal landlords of theseigneures, from evicting their tenant farmers before the winter snows had melted. In law, this date was set as May 1. Later, this evolved into a requirement that urban leases begin on May 1 and end on April 30. May 1 thus became "Moving Day", the day during which renters who wished to vacate their current premises physically changed domiciles.

In 1973, during the Quiet Revolution, the government decided that it would be better to move Moving Day to the summer, so that students would not have to move during the school year. The law changed Moving Day to July 1 as of 1974, but no longer set a fixed term for leases. However, tradition has held sway, and the vast majority of leases are still a year long and begin around July 1. In 2004, approximately 120,000 households moved on or around July 1, corresponding to 4% of the population.

Moving Day is a boon and a headache for commercial moving companies, and people often must reserve their services at least three months in advance. During this period, moving companies work around the clock, with moving charges often being three times the normal rate. In Montreal, where as of 2002 only 36% of residents own their home, Moving Day is particularly busy. The difficulty of moving is further complicated because, by convention, most Montreal landlords do not provide their tenants with a fridge or cooker, meaning that tenants are forced to bring theirs with them.

Also, exterior staircases leading up to second, third, or even fourth-storey apartments are common in many neighbourhoods, in part because historically this reduced the size of buildings and therefore decreased the owner's property taxes. These staircases are often narrow, curved, and metal – not ideal for nonprofessionals carrying major appliances. Cities also schedule extra garbage and recycling pickups for this period to deal with unwanted furniture and empty boxes left beside the road.

The July 1 date of Moving Day also somewhat reduces the significance of Canada Day as a public holiday in Quebec, as many who might otherwise attend holiday festivities are occupied by moving. Suggestions that the move was a deliberate decision byQuebec sovereignists to discourage participation in a patriotic Canadian holiday ignore the fact that the change in date from May 1 to July 1 was the result of a bill introduced by a federalist MNA, Jerome Choquette of the Quebec Liberal Party.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Dancing on Ice - Ladies night

First the important bit - Holly’s dress. Very nice stunning in white and bosoms on full display.

Individual Performances

Danniella Westbrook
Oh my goodness - how annoying, not a bad performance at all. But didn’t she look a lot like Bianca Jackson!

Tana Ramsay
Partnered with the poor guy that had to lift Colleen Nolan up over his head every week last series, and she has as much chance as winning as Colleen did! My tip to be voted off.

Hayley Tamaddon
Dancing with her friend Dan. He is very competitive and will be determined towin, think they are in with a good chance. But each year Dan seems to have a little less hair - not that anyone has noticed.

Sharron Davies
Not such a good performance and who would have thought Danniella would be better than Sharon! Hasn’t she got long arms!

Emily Atack
How annoying was she, I can’t see Fred putting up with her for the whole of the series. Don’t want her to be voted out - if only to keep the lovely Fred in.

Sinitta
With the magnificent Andrei. Early favourite for me, but I think she might not come across too well for votes, if she can get through that she might do rather well.

Heather Mills
Good performance, but again she might struggle to get votes.

Leader board for me.

Sinitta
Hayley Tamaddon
Danniella Westbrook
Heather Mills
Sharron Davies
Tana Ramsay
Emily Atack

Dancing on Ice Begins

First show about to start - what do I know about the contestants, not a lot but here is my first view of them before we get underway. No doubt I will know a lot more before the series ends. My prediction for the winner in my next post.

Emily Atack
Never heard of her.

Sharron Davies
Always thought she was a bit boring as a presenter.

Bobby Davro
Not one of my favourites - was he in EastEnders at one time?

Mikey Graham
The ‘not so good looking one out’ of Boyzone

Hilary Jones
GMTV Doctor - why do we always have to have someone off GMTV on these programmes?

Gary Lucy
My favourite from Hollyoak days. Although he needs to stop standing next to Danny Young its making him look a bit weedy

Heather Mills
What can I say about Heather Mills that has not already been said? I can’t bear him so was on her side through the divorce, but she didn’t make it easy. it’s a bit difficult to believe she only wants to be left in peace when she keeps appearing in these reality shows, she can’t need the money - she got a bag full off Paul.

Tana Ramsay
Well I have heard of Gordon, seems like we are now having celebrities that are one step removed from the celebrity. Few years from now ‘Celebrities’ will be people that live next door to celebrities!

Kieron Richardson
Never heard of him, but another one from Hollyoaks. It seems like on these reality shows you have to have ‘one from GMTV, one from Hollyoaks and one from Holby City.

Jeremy Sheffield
Holby City’s lovely Dr Alex - bookies favourite to win, how can they decide so soon?

Sinitta
Goodness Sinitta, times must be harder than I thought. Always a soft spot for Sinitta, after she caused a bit of a sensation in the mid 80s by having boy dancers backing her when she sang So Macho. She was Simon Cowell’s first signing (in 1986) and although So Macho bombed when first released it was released a further two times before it sold 900,000 copies and got to number 2. The song spent 28 weeks in the UK chart - how times have changed - that would never happen now.

Hayley Tamaddon
Never heard of her.

Danniella Westbrook
Oh no - not again - this woman is almost as annoying as Kerry Katona

Danny Young
The one that left Coronation Street to go onto better things and we haven’t seen him since. Still has given him lots of time to get to the gym - time well spent by the looks of it.

Icicles

I noticed yesterday that the icicles hanging from next door’s roof were a lot bigger than the ones hanging from my roof. Today my icicles have disappeared but next door still have theirs.

What does this mean? Should I be worried? Should I be pleased? Why does no one tell that this will happen!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Getting Home

Got a bit concerned on Friday afternoon about the deteriorating weather and getting home from Leeds. Checking train departures showed all the Newcastle trains were being cancelled. The only train that seemed to be going from Leeds to Newcastle was the 15:07 and at 13:00 it was running over an hour late. Discussed it with my boss and I said I would go to the station see if I could find out bit more information about trains and if the 15:07 was the only train running I would meet him later and travel together.

Got to the station and the only other way home was to go to Middlesbrough. I have nothing against Middlesbrough but I have never been and have no idea how to get home from there. So resigned myself to waiting for the late running 15:07 train.

Rather than wait in the cold station I decided wait in my hotel reception, (hotel adjoins the station). After an hour or so I got a call from my boss to say he had decided to take any train out of Leeds and was on his way home.

Nice I thought as I was still sitting waiting for him. It felt rather like being in the Raffles hotel Singapore in February 1942 waiting to be evacuated by the British on the last trains out of town, only to find that everyone else had gone and left me stranded.

I wont forget this - I can make him suffer for this for years!

Still I got home without much trouble, (once I had permission to leave the city of course), waited 20 minutes for the York train. A particularly nasty dirty little train. We were welcomed on board by a tannoy announcement saying that if you put your feet on the seats you will be told to remove them, clean the seat and be fined £10. Nice, why would anyone have to be told not to put dirty feet on a seat.

Still I got a seat in a block of four and then it was standing room only for the 20 minute journey. Kept my coat scarf and gloves for the journey - too cold for anything else. I noticed one or two ladies standing glaring at men who had seats - ‘Well you can glare all you like’ I thought, ‘I’m not moving’.

Only had a 15 minute wait at York and got a very nice Edinburgh train with lots of seats and a bit of heating as well. Only one drawback was the annoying woman with the loud voice at the other end of the carriage. She sounded like Janet Street Porter with a bad cold and insisted on chatting all the way to Newcastle. I did tell the customer service manger that there seemed to be a Corncrake on board and could she have it removed. Only I don’t think she knew what a Corncrake was.

After an eventful journey I got home just after 19:00. Can’t wait for next week!

Dancing on Ice

Well since I gave Celebrity Big Brother and Strictly a miss, think I'll give Dancing on Ice a go.

Just a thought - Fred Astaire was celebrated as the greatest dancer of the 20th Century -but Ginger Rogers did everything he did but she did it backwards and on 6 inch heels!

Review of Contestants to follow.

Emily Atack
Sharron Davies
Bobby Davro
Mikey Graham
Dr Hilary Jones
Gary Lucy
Heather Mills
Tana Ramsay
Kieron Richardson
Jeremy Sheffield
Sinitta
Hayley Tamaddon
Danniella Westbrook
Danny Young

Friday, 8 January 2010

Late Entry for Darwin Award

Since I launched the monthly Darwin Award for services to Human Evolution I have been inundated with late entries for this month’s competition.

One worthy entry was for the gentleman that walked from Leeds train station to the Crown Point Retail Park on the road with his back to oncoming traffic all the way. Totally oblivious to the fact that traffic had to slow down, slide and swerve into the next lane to avoid him.

He even swapped sides when he got to parts where he would at least be facing the oncoming traffic.

A near miss for this month’s award but almost a worthy entry for the annual international Darwin Awards for removing oneself from the human gene pool.

If you want to see the 2009 winners for the Annual Darwin Award For Removing Oneslef From the Human Genepool

http://www.millionface.com/l/the-darwin-awards-2009-can-anyone-be-so-stupid

Dress Up Friday

Noticed a colleague was looking particularly dapper this morning. Complete with tie and silk handkerchief in his jacket pocket. Apparently he likes to dress up on Fridays.

I’ve never noticed, I just thought he was having lunch with David Niven.

Fashion Disasters

I know it is cold, but really there is no excuse for some of the fashion disasters I have seen over the last few weeks.

The list of unacceptable outfits as people make their way through snow and ice goes on and on; mis-matched scarves and coats, jeans tucked into too tight boots, even a shorts, stockings and high heel combination (where on earth was she going at 8 o’clock in the morning), one jacket on top of another one - when anyone can see the fabrics were not meant to be worn together.

The list is never ending. I even saw what I took to be the leader of an urban paramilitary group, complete with balaclava helmet (you know one of those black ones with only a hole each for eyes and mouth) buying a cheese sandwich and a Kit Kat in Boots this morning, although I don’t think he counts because he probably wears the balaclava helmet every day.

But can I give one word of fashion advice to my boss regarding what I think is called ‘a hat’ that he was wearing yesterday. There is no where on this planet that is cold enough; there are no possible combinations of extreme weather where I would wear the hat he was wearing yesterday.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Neighbours in Winter

In all this bad weather we are being told that elderly people should to look out for their neighbours. Well my neighbour is 93 and she has never been near me to see how I am or if I need anything! And I know she hasn’t gone away because she seems top have ordered lots of milk.

Empty Restaurant

Having a quiet time in Leeds in the bad weather as the hotel is almost empty. In fact the hotel was so quiet I was the only person in the restaurant this morning. So quiet in fact there was no pre-cooked breakfast on the buffet, not that I have any of it but I like to see it.

But of more concern was that the milk urn was not in use, instead there was a large glass jug of iced milk for my muesli. I am not averse to hard manual labour in the right circumstances, but I don’t expect to have to life a great big heavy jug just to have my breakfast.

The six o’clock news is right – we have to undergo difficult situations in this bad weather.

Goon and Blewitt

Labour aren’t very good at getting rid of its leaders. It took Gordon Brown ten years to shift Tony Blair out of Number 10 (who would have thought we would miss Tony Blair?). Last year we had James Purnell marching out of cabinet for everyone to follow him, only to turnaround and see there was no one there. Now we have Dumb and Dumber have had a go with just as big and spectacular a failure.

The Tories do it better; I remember when they threw Thatcher in tears out into the street in front of the whole world’s media. Now that is how to remove a leader!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Quote of the Day

'You can't control how old you are, but you can control how fat you are'.

Not sure I fully agree with that - I have been controlling how old I am for years!

Darwin Award for Evolution

Introducing a new feature where I will be giving Awards to those people who have done their best to prove Darwin’s theory of natural selection. The Award confirms that we have evolved into the most intelligent and sophisticated of species.

This month’s Darwin Award for Services to the Evolution of Humankind goes to the lady in front of me in Boots this morning.

As I understand it there are only four possible ways in which you can put a Boots Advantage card into the reader – the lady in front of me managed to find 17 different ways to try to put it in and still couldn’t get it in the right way.

Nominations for next month’s award are now open.

Travel Chaos in the South

The South of England is now bravely battling against the snow – according to the national news this morning – a road has been closed in a Southern county.

Further North the bad conditions are bringing out the investigative instincts in GMTV reporters. For example I saw this morning an intrepid reporter interview a viewer whose boiler had broken down asking the devastatingly clever and incisive question ‘What’s it like in this weather with no heating?’

In Yorkshire the question posed to a man covered in snow - ‘Have you ever seen snow like this before? Indeed the man had, but not since 1978. Turning to the interviewee’s next door neighbour the same question ‘Have you ever seen snow like this before?’ Funnily enough he had and again in it was in 1978.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Running out of Grit

According to the news due to the extended period of icy and snowy weather councils are running out of grit for the roads.

I'm not surprised - our council has been sending trucks up and down the streets throwing grit away.

Celebrity Big Brother

Should I watch it or should I not - it is the last one. Don't know, not watched it so far. If this snow doesn't go away soon I might never get out of the house again and have to watch it.

Airport Security

Item on the news about plans to introduce full body scanners to British Airports. Said they were going to be introduced but only for people arriving in the country!

Am I missing something, I thought the people we were trying to detect were the ones boarding planes with explosive devices on their bodies. So should we not be scanning the people leaving the country not arriving? After all the ones we are trying to detect are not planning to arrive anywhere!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Driving in the Snow

Quite a lot of snow round here now, was walking to the gym yesterday and a car at the junction of this and the next road was skidding and sliding all over. As I watched, three pieces of advice came to me that I wanted to give the driver:

Clear all the snow off your windows so you can see where you are going;
You might want to use indicators so other road users and pedestrians can work out where you are trying to go (indicators are the orange lights on the side of the car)
and what was the other thing? Oh yes if you put your mobile phone down you might find it easier to steer the car you ****!