Category Archives: film

Disney Star Wars: Exclusive.

robert downey new han solo

Disney Star Wars: A New Hope?

Something amazing has happened, something that was once declared dead has been resurrected and has had new life breathed into it. One of the most loved franchises in the sci-fi genre, or any other for that matter, is to be rebooted. At the helm will be Andy Fickman, a Disney director with a history of creating great family classics such as Race to Witch Mountain.

It has been revealed that Hamill, Ford and Fisher will play no part in the new films and that replacements have already been found for two of the three. The part of Luke Skywalker in the new film, set 20 years after Return of the Jedi, will be played by David Wenham (best known as Faramir in the Lord of the Rings trilogy), and the part of Han-solo will go to Disney favourite Robert Downey Jnr. The part of Leia is yet to be filled but rumours suggest that Sarah Jessica Parker is a front runner. Other lead roles will include the young offspring of Leia and Han, although who will play the 10 year old twin boys (Anakin and Bail) is anyones guess. They will be accompanied by animated characters such as Boo Dan Binks, son of Jar Jar, and Kana of Grentarik (home world of Yoda), who will feature heavily.

The plot is said to centre around the republic and its transition into peace time. A dark force rises and the young children are thrust to the forefront of the action when they are kidnapped by a Sith Lord named Seil-Lla. They must use their limited Jedi training to escape his clutches and, when they do, end up on a planet that mixes past, present and future. It appears to have taken a leaf out of the Star Trek universe and will revisit themes of previous films. It is hoped that this will allow the franchise to head in new directions and not be retrained by the older story lines and universe.

The hope of Disney is to try to attract the same audience that has made the Clone Wars animation series so successful. A source at Disney has said “They’re planning on expanding from Star Wars and making it part human, part animation ‘like Pete’s Dragon, but with Jedis’. They will be working with the Fantasia digital team who have promised the films will give a subtle nod to Disney classics along the way to celebrate the new partnership. Young Jedis mopping the deck of a star destroyer using the force to control the mops might be a little far but there will be plenty for die hard fans to find.”

It also appears that a new direction will be taken with the musical score to give the franchise a lighter feel. Disney stalwart Alan Menken, best know for his award winning soundtrack for Beauty and the Beast, will take the helm on producing the original pieces that will “mix and intertwine with the original Williams score.”

The new film named Star Wars: Death of the Republic, will open on May the 4th 2015. Advance press release and reviews are expected April 1st.

May the force be with you.

george lucas sells his sole

Disclaimer: this all totally made up and has no basis in fact or reality. It was fun to write though.

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Armchair tourist

Hi, my name is Andrew and I’ve been a TV addict for 33 years.
teacher, mother, secret lover
Television is, for me, the single greatest invention of the last hundred years. I know we have cured diseases, travelled the world, travelled the stars, built communication networks and seen the birth of the computer. I’m not saying that all of these are not important, it’s just that they’re not TV. Television allows me to do all of these things vicariously, and for that I love it.
I love the fact that I can trek through the stars, I can enter a courtroom, I can see into the past and can even get to know the people I admire better. What TV does best though is allow me the opportunity to travel the world. I don’t mean documentaries or travel shows, I’m talking about something much more fun. American crime drama. Here’s my top 5 wish list of crime capitals as portrayed on TV.
las vegas strip csi
1) CSI Vegas. I used to watch all the CSI series, now I don’t watch any. Actually that’s not true, I have recently started to watch the first few series on re-runs, only the Vegas one though. So enamoured were myself and the wife with it that we decided to go. The casinos on the strip, the desert, the odd people who live there and the allure of the tables. I had visions of strolling from casino to casino, losing a fortune and looking like a rockstar in the process. The reality was so much better and so much worse in equal measure. The downside was the fact that it takes 20 minutes to find your way out of a casino let alone get to the next one (at least another 30 minutes). Playing at the tables was really intimidating, like being a kid at the adults table, it was serious stuff. The upsides were as follows 1) You got free drinks, even if you were only playing on the slots. 2) Our room (booked by my lovely wife) was bigger than our flat and had a TV in the bathroom. 3) The shows were amazing. We saw Elvis, MJ, Madonna and old blue eyes in the same show. 4) The all you could eat breakfast spread spanned the length of a couple of buses. 5) It was so weird it was like being on a different planet. If you’ve been you know, if not you should. Blimey, that was lengthy. Maybe I should make it a top 3.
Jed Bartlett for president
2) The West Wing. What a show. Smart, funny, satirical and smart. It showed you what life would be like as the leader of a superpower and what goes into it. It’s one of those shows that disproves the myth (perpetrated by Brits) that the people of the USA are stupid fatties. I would love to visit the white house, do the tour and make the famous pose in the oval office. The last part is less likely but never say never.
get your white t's here
3) The Wire. Possibly the best show ever. This show though made me realise I didn’t want to go to Baltimore. I’m quite happy watching it through the screen. The grit, the despondency and the ease of which drug and gang culture can swallow you whole. I am sure that it has some very nice parts and would make a great holiday destination. The reality though, I would imagine, is that it has done more in deterring tourism than promoting it.
The nearly made it list…
Sex and the City. Not my cup of tea really but instrumental in our (mainly the wife’s) honeymoon choice. A winter wedding with a weeks honeymoon equalled New York. And yes, we did the tour. It showed off New York beautifully and led to us seeing parts that we might never have thought of.
sex and the city bus
NCIS:LA. I would love to visit LA. The beaches, the bars and the beauty. The strange thing is that I never watched the original NCIS series but the new one really appealed to me. I think the perfect holiday would be being shown around LA by LL CoolJ. All the best sites and you’d never get mugged.
mama said knock you out
A bit of a bucket list? You bet. I have a dream of retirement (many years in the future) where the wife and I can tour every state in America. Maybe staying in swanky hotels, maybe in an RV or maybe just sitting at home all day watching old re-runs of our favourite shows with a nice cup of tea.
Enjoy your weekend.
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Comic book geek?

The dark knight returns comic
I have recently been inspired. Not often do I see or hear something that actually inspires me to do something about it. I have been inspired by Kevin Smith and Bruce Wayne. I think I might want to get into comics!
Don’t get me wrong, loads of things have inspired me over the last few years. The Olympics inspired me to watch it but not to go out and kayak (to be fair I don’t think I was the target audience for the inspire a generation campaign), great art can inspire me but that doesn’t mean I can draw and music definitely inspires me but I still (after 16 years of owning it) can’t play more than 6 chords on my guitar. Comics though… Now there’s something I can do.
kevin smith the green arrow
What Kevin has done has shared his infectious love of Batman and all things DC. Kevin Smith, for those who don’t know, is an actor and a director. He is Silent Bob in Clerks, Mall Rats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Dogma. He also directed all of those and more. If you’ve seen any of those then you know his love for comics. He has also written for DC for both Batman and The Green Arrow.
Let me take you back quite a few years, not to my childhood, to when me and the wife, then girlfriend, were looking for people to share our flat. We had rented a big place and had only one income at the time due to one of us studying. We put out an advert on gumtree and waited. We didn’t have to wait long as about half an hour later we had a couple wanting to come round. They came, they were extremely odd and we ushered them out the door with a promise to let them know. We had a couple of phone calls of the same ilk until finally a normal sounding Aussie called. She said that her and her bloke were interested, they came over and they were normal (ish). And so they stayed for a few years. Why am I telling you this? Because the guy half of the couple was a comic book nut.
gumtree aussie rooms
Jimmy was a funny guy who was constantly hungry. He loved computers and comic books. When I look back now I regret not tapping into his knowledge and, at the very least, getting a comic book 101 lesson. Why? Here comes the list.
1) I don’t want to look like a newbie or get ripped off. I need to get knowledgeable about comics without looking like I need the knowledge. This is where the Internet comes in. I can research them in the comfort of my own home and can also buy them and store them on my iPad. I know it’s not the same as owning the actual books but you gotta start somewhere.
Apple iPad Comic Books
2) I want to know the best arc to follow. It seems it’s not just about which character to follow but also about which version or arc. Do I go for the new Batman reboot (the 52’s) or some other timeline? This is what confuses me the most. If I was 10 I’d take whatever I could get. Maybe having money and an ability to over think things is doing me no favours.
3) I don’t have enough time for crap. Seriously. All I want is someone to tell me what to do. Where do I start and where do I go after that. I’m beginning to think that I may have the wrong comic book attitude.
If you don’t feel the need to get into comics at least have a listen to Fatman on Batman. It’s a podcast (available free in iTunes and smodcast) where Mr Smith has various guests on from the world of Batman. The first episode is all about Mark Hamill (yes, that one) who voices the joker on the animated show. It’s funny stuff, even if you’re not into comics.
fatman on batman kevin smith
Maybe I’m having a pre-second baby panic or at the very least a mid life crisis. I do know that I have started to watch Batman cartoons on TV and that my 2 and a half year old doesn’t like them. I try to tell my wife, and myself, that it’s to keep up with what the kids at school like so I can relate to them. The problem is that she can see through me and read my like a graphic novel.
Enjoy your weekend.
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International talk like a pirate day

international talk like a pirate day

The 19th of this month was international talk like a pirate day and I missed it. I found out on the 20th and felt like I had been cheated out of a days worth of fun with the kids. Being a teacher means different things to different people. To me it’s all about having as much fun as possible and carrying that over to the learning. Pirate day would have been awesome. I also own a pirate costume, that helps get in the spirit. yarrrrrr.

International pirate day got me thinking about what other made up days we should have. If I could get the world to buy into a day what would it be? A list of made up days you say? Go on then.

1)International music amnesty day. I like a certain type if music and I believe that style of music to be socially acceptable (at least to those in my social circle). Rock, metal and most stuff with guitars to be honest. I do have a few guilty pleasures though. Bands or artists that, when they come on my all songs shuffle list, make my friends give me the look. The look that starts off as surprise, turns to disappointment and ends in anger. What I’m suggesting is that we have a day at work where we all bring in our secret CD stash and sing along. I’ll start off with mine… I own every Robbie Williams album. Sorry guys but it’s not just on my iPod because my wife likes it. It’s all mine.

2)International David Hasslehoff day (Hoff day for short). I love the Hoff. I think we should pay homage to this great icon and give him his own day. Adults could wear wigs, orange shorts and talk to their cars. We could reminisce about all the wonderful television he has given us and sing the bay watch theme (I reckon you may be doing so at this very moment). And for the kids, a history lesson about the Berlin Wall and his part in its downfall. I would definitely get a curly wig, leather jacket and learn the lyrics to his songs. Who’s with me? Good. I’m thinking Friday the 28th of September. Facebook, tweet and let the world know of the mighty Hoff.

3) International wear your pyjamas to work day. I think this would make for a great atmosphere and many fun pub crawls after work. We have done it a few times at school for charity and the kids loved it. Maybe it could coincide with comic relief or some other charitable event. Either way, worth a go.

For fun I asked my kids at school what day they would like. Two lists in one week? Oh go on then.
1. National Rollerskate everywhere day. Self explanatory.
2. Lasagne day. We all have lasagne for dinner.
3. National dress up like a superhero day. According to the child I asked this should coincide with national dress up like a super villain day. Genius!
4. National celebrity day. As I understand it, celebrities are allowed a day off from the paparazzi as long as they take the bus and shop in Asda. They also have to visit schools and have their photo taken with the kids.

Love it!

What about you? If you could introduce a national or international holiday what would it be? I’d back you if I thought it was a goer.

I leave you with this link. It’s from my sons favourite show and teaches you how to talk like a pirate. Yo ho lets go Just hit the play button and sing along.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

international hoff hasslehoff day

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My 12th annual 21st birthday

It’s my birthday today (only if you’re reading it on the 15th) and I’m actually quite excited. The thing that’s exciting me this year is the fact that my little boy knows what’s going on. A bit sad? You bet.
It got me thinking about how my view of birthdays has changed over the years and what birthdays mean at different ages. A list you say? A list with a twist.
Early years – early birthdays are all about the chaos and confusion of it. A house full of family, as much cake and sweets as you can eat and a conveyor belt of presents. It’s the presents that I remember (maybe its a false memory as I’ve seen, and am lucky enough to have, video tapes of those early years) and the fact that they kept on coming. A conveyer belt of ripping, shaking and discarding before moving on to the next item. The other side to the coin was if you got the one you really wanted early on then the others waited for a long time to be opened. I love the start of ‘Toy Story’ when you see it from the perspective of the toy, the panic that new toys bring, “pull my string the birthday party’s today!” a shocked Woody exclaims. One of the best openings to a film I’ve seen.
woody the cowboy toy story
Primary school age (4-11) – This is now more about the party and a little less about the presents. At this age you get to invite your whole class and run around like nutter, high on sugar, for a few hours. The doorbell has never been such an amazing noise. The party food and spread is also very important. This is something I tried to capture in the second Squidge book. I wanted to write about Christmas but not all totally about it. I came up with the idea of the big elf celebration (they were far to busy and then exhausted to celebrate Christmas) being a birthday party, and who better than Santa to throw the biggest party of the year. Here’s a little excerpt.

Now, if you are an elf, then Santa’s birthday party is the best time of the year. Elves don’t really celebrate Christmas like us because they have no time to prepare. Christmas takes a lot of hard work to make great and the elves are too busy making toys. Santa knows this and so makes sure that all of the elves get to have a great big party on his birthday. To give you an idea of how big a party it was, here is one page of Santa’s party preparation list:


Jelly and ice cream

Crisps (all flavours, shapes and sizes)

Donuts (jam and chocolate)

Fizzy drinks

Sweets (soft, hard and chewy and all the colours of the rainbow)

Sausage rolls

Pizza (one of each topping and 2 pepperoni as its Santa’s favourite)

Jam sandwiches (with the crusts cut off)

Ham sandwiches (with the crusts left on)

Balloons (the ones that float)


A Piñata (full of marshmallows so they don’t hurt you when they fall out)

A gigantic birthday cake (must be chocolate sponge with chocolate icing and chocolate buttons)


And there are 20 more pages just like this one. I bet if you can think of something you would like to have at a party, you would find it on Santa’s party list.

squidge Christmas elf

Teenage years – as you get a bit older the party at your house, with the cake and cliche, just won’t cut it. It’s a time in your life when it’s all about you. I want this, I want that, and so on. You want one big present (usually very expensive) and a cool party at the bowling ally, swimming pool, fast food restaurant, quasar (look it up kids) or cinema. What you don’t realise is the expense. Your parents have to pay for the lot. At 13 or 14 though you don’t really care or consider it.
Early 20’s – clothes and a pub. It really is that simple. You can legally drink and you wanna look good doing it. The choice of pub though is very important. You want somewhere cheap, and that usually means a chain, but you also you want somewhere with atmosphere and that means expensive. Do you go to the local or somewhere different. These decisions are very important in your early 20’s and the clothes choices infinitely embarrassing when you look back.
the chequers billericay
Early 30’s – my 30th was a massive event. Bouncy castle, fancy dress (I went as a Jedi), old school sweets, shed loads of beer and pumping 90’s tunes. Everything from the Chillies to MC Hammer and all that is in between. This birthday though will be as the last couple have been, very low key affairs. A couple of friends, a couple of kegs of beer and laugh or two.
adnams broadside and bitter in my fridge
I’m off for a swim with my son now (partly so he’ll have a good nap and not be grumpy when my friends show up later) and then maybe out to lunch to line my stomach for the beer ahead.
I envisage a Sunday morning hangover followed by a fry up and many cups of coffee. Enjoy your weekend people. I know I will.
The final picture is of me and my dad at my 30th. He says he’s meant to be John Wayne, I think he looks Like Woody. You decide.
me and my dad peter
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My friend Alex came over yesterday. We watched Blade. Alex had never seen it.

What makes a film timeless and what makes it of its time? Last night while watching Blade I noticed that it felt a bit dated. It was very much A 90’s film ( a fact that I IMDBed. Maybe I should try and get that into the urban dictionary.”I wanted to know what other films Kris Kristofferson had been in so I IMDBed it.” By the way he hasn’t been in as many films as you think, check it out. Oops, digression).
So what makes a film of its time and what makes it timeless?

1) A film set in a certain time that is filmed at the time. Some films are set in the fifties and filmed in the 80’s. This seems to work as there is an effort to make the film authentic to the era. Blade was filmed in the 90’s and really feels like it. The clothes, the back drop the 90’s ness of it. I also think its one of those had to see it at the time films. If you saw it at the time you don’t notice the fact that it’s dated. Prime examples of this are a) The Goonies b) Ferris Buellers Day off and c) Mall Rats.
Some films can escape this trap but not many.

2) Sayings and phrases. As if! Cha-Ching! Bonus! Granted most of these are 90’s slang but that’s my comfort zone. It’s funny when you watch stuff back and have that ‘I used to say that all the time’ feeling. You can also tell the language is of it’s time when the older generation start using it 10 or 20 years later. My parents tell me they are having a chill out day quite often. I can’t remember the last time I put the out at the end of chill. What I also find amusing is that the current generation of kids laugh at me for my miss use of current slang (innit fam).

3) Technology. Will anyone watch the social network in 20 years time? Will any 20 year old even know what it is about? My 2 year old will never know a world without the Internet or the global domination of fruit named companies such as Apple and Blackberry. Give me an example I hear you shout. Fine, no need for that tone.

The Net
Angela Bennett’s a software engineer type who works from home and has few friends outside of cyberspace. Taking her first vacation in years she becomes embroiled in a web of computer espionage.

I just IMDBed that.

It’s not just that though, it’s the fact that they put a cassette tape in the tape deck in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’. A kid in my class found a tape in the stock room the other day and asked me what it was.

4) Special effects. Just go look at ‘The Last Starfighter’ and ‘Flight of the Navigator’.

Alex enjoyed the film by the way. I think it was more in a cheesy 90’s nostalgia way though.

All pictures in the blog today are from IMDB. I IMDBed them all.

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The future is coming!

As a teacher I get to impart my knowledge to the children in my class. Yes I do have to follow the national curriculum and yes most of the time it’s about being 2 steps ahead of the kids with your subject knowledge. At the moment we are looking at films and the composition, lighting, mood, language and so on. It made me realise how much I love films and how passionate I get when talking about them. It’s as if I am actually in the film when I watch a good one. It also means that I retain a great deal of useless information. One of my favourite knowledge banks is that of future dates in sci-fi films. Here are some of my top ones.

22nd of December, 2012. Fox Mulder uncovered a plot for alien colonisation of Earth. In one of the last episodes of the show the deep throat cigarette smoking dude fills in Fox on the “End Game” plans by the military. This prediction was made in 2002. Unfortunately we have all seen our last Christmas in the comfort of our own homes people, that’s why I’m having presents early this year and running up a huge credit card bill.

21st of October, 2015. Back to the Future, Part 2. Three years till hover boards! This has its inclusion because of the alternate time line in the film. If an idiot like Biff can run a global empire then imagine if someone with brains got their hands on a DeLorean and a sports almanac from the future. Fistfights, chase scenes and teeny tiny pizzas that you can rehydrate? Bring it on.

Sometime in November, 2019. The replicants are coming! The humanoid clones return to Earth on a stolen spaceship, hell bent on killing the evil suits at the Tyrrell Corporation. Ex cop Rick Deckard is the “Blade Runner” who is sent to chase them down. I think if I was sent off-world to do some of the crappy jobs I’d also be a little upset. Prediction made in 1982 and any other time the director/media company needed an extra few quid and released another version.

Sometime in 2022. The secret is in the sauce. Earth has run out of natural foods and is overpopulated. Step in Soylent, a company with all the answers. Detective Robert Thorn nearly ends up as lunch when he discovers the truth about what goes into making “Soylent Green” when investigating a murder. It’s still got to be better than a pot noodle. Prediction made in 1973.

3rd of August, 2032. Getting sent to the cooler takes on a whole new meaning. Simon Phoenix and John Spartan, the “Demolition Man”, duke it out in the futuristic land of San Angeles. Phoenix escapes and Spartan is unfrozen and tasked with bringing him down. My main concern about this is the fact that they don’t seem to have toilet paper, that and sex is a non contact sport. Prediction made in 1993.

5th of April, 2063. To boldly go… Captain Picard and crew fight off the Borg infestation aboard the Enterprise so that “First Contact” can go off without a hitch. The meeting between Zefram Cochrane and the Vulcans is the backdrop for an epic battle against assimilation by the Borg, who attempt to set up a sub space beacon directing the past Borg to Earth. It’s a prediction made in the present about a future star ship going back in time to our future. Confused? Prediction made in 1996.

2 extra come from two very different sub groups of sci-fi. I have left them out of the main list partly because they won’t concern the inhabitants of Earth directly and partly because they are sooooo far away. The first is 18th August 2158, the day the Na’vi protect their home world and fight off that hard ass army dude. The second is May 2511. Malcolm Reynolds makes his last stand in the Battle of Serenity Valley. If you haven’t seen Firefly (or the spin off movie Serenity) then you must. It’s a cult thing these days but you won’t be disappointed.

Please let me know of any other disasters or important moments I’ve missed (or might miss).

Enjoy your weekend, it could be one of the last we have on this planet.

Feel free to leave a comment, your email address won’t be used for any sinister plot. Alternatively you can cut and past the URL into your Facebook status or twitter to share it. That is all.

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Pregnancy (a manly approach to)

My lovely wife is pregnant. Again. And I couldn’t be happier. It’s funny really as we have been trying for a few months and almost started to panic that it wouldn’t happen. Strange to panic as the average time it takes is about a year (according to Internet sources, not the most reliable I know). It got me thinking about the panic of my younger years, when I found myself in the midst of a birth control ‘malfunction’ and thought I was going to be a dad at 18. The chances, it would seem, were very slim.  I’m not suggesting we throw the pill and condoms out of the window (the pigeons my choke on them for starters), what I am saying is that the chances of my early fatherhood were much less than I thought at the time. I’m still not sure that this information would have calmed me down at the time though. Either way, we have just come back from our 12 week scan and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A very serious, sentimental and shared experience. The problem comes in the form of my brain and the thoughts that go through it. Let me try to explain. 1) The first thing they do is check how many babies my wife is carrying. What if its 2? Or 3? Or more? The logical thoughts on this are a) as long as they are both healthy b) how are we going to afford that and c) wow, that’s gonna hurt. My brain works in a different way. My thoughts were as follows a) I hope it’s a boy and a girl b) at what point do I suggest the names Luke and Leia and c) how can I convince my wife to call them Luke and Leia? Not the kind of thoughts to share at this tender, loving moment. I had a crack at a star wars name with my first born. I suggested Anakin and my wife liked it. She then realised where it came from, and that was the end of that. His middle name is Luke though. By the way, just one baby being carried by the wife. 2) Alien. That film has a lot to answer for. The beautiful symbiosis of mother and unborn child has forever been tainted by things bursting out of bellies. I can remember feeling my son kick for the first time. All I could think was Alien. Another wonderful, loving, sharing, caring moment ruined by my stupid brain. The scan room looks like something out of a science fiction film too, with it’s gel and scanner, flashing computer screen and roll ball mouse thing. Makes it kinda cool though. 3) Boy or girl. I really want to find out the sex. I want to know because I can, science affords me that luxury. I can’t really understand the counter argument of ‘it’s a nice surprise’ All that means to me is that the child spends its first 3 months on this Earth in yellow. No blue, no pink, just yellow. Couple this with the fact that I live in a flat in London, I need the space. Clear out the old stuff if it’s a girl, give it hand me downs if it’s a boy. This is where my brain comes in to play. It would be nice to have another boy as a) it would save me money and b) I wouldn’t have to go shopping for kids clothes as often. I also like the fact that when he grows up, he can’t get knocked up. I would, of course, be happy with either. So, all that’s left now is to explain to my 2 year old son that he will soon be sharing his toys, tell my family the good news and have a beer. That’s why the blog is on Sunday this week. My dad, mum, grandma, nan, sister and boyfriend (my sisters, not mine) are all at my flat (squeezed in amongst the toys) for Sunday lunch, the announcement and celebrations. Hurrah! As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address

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Why are ginger blokes funny?

It seems to me that all the ginger men I know are funny. Not funny looking or funny weird, but funny ha ha. It was a blog I was reading the other day (the ginger fight back, give it a go) that got the cogs in my head turning. Are ginger men born funny? Or does it develop over time? Is it nature or nurture? What I mean is, does the fact that they get mocked because of their hair (I’m not condoning it, just stating facts of the schoolyard) mean they develop a self defence funny bone? A self deprecation that led one of my friends to walk around wearing nothing but a box which said ‘ginger nuts’ over his own (they are a type of biscuit for those that don’t know). I shall attempt to use some other genetic examples to quantify my theory.

1) Are all fat pepole cheerful? I once heard someone tell a large lady near me “if you’re gonna be fat, you could at least have the common decency to be jolly”. Let me set something straight from the off, this is not an attack on anyone, but if you are big boned or fat, you generally have a rosy completion and a cheeky, chubby face. This, to my eyes, gives you a cheerful quality. I think we could call it the Santa effect. And to be fair, most large people I know are very happy and laugh often. They are also great at hugs, but I digress. I also know some real miseries who are portly, so this does nothing to help prove my theory. Next.

2) Are all short men angry? I’m not, but then I’m just below average height. And once again, let me state that this is not an attack on dwarfs (even though one was called grumpy) or little people. Many famous leaders where short blokes:

Alexander the Great
Cruise (maybe not)

All under 5’6, all wanting power, all angry about being short. Napoleon even had a complex named after him (in the psychological sense, not the building sense). I think then that this is nature. And why do short blokes date tall women? Anyway, next.

3) Are all pretty people arrogant? Yes we are. Only kidding. I think that this is more a nurture thing. I know some very attractive/pretty/sexy people (I also know some proper ugly ones, just to show I’m balanced), and it seems that some are very lovely and others are so full of themselves that they become repulsive, despite their looks. This viewpoint is not one of jealousy as my wife is attractive/pretty/sexy, so I’m not jaded by being turned down by the gorgeous folk, I married one. This to me is about upbringing. My wife is down to earth and doesn’t know how pretty she is, those who have been told their whole lives ‘you’re so gorgeous, you should be a model’ feel entitled. It reminds me of a song by the streets, Fit But You Know It. As an aside, I went to school with this guy below (yes, me and David Gandy are the same age, and have surprisingly similar dress sense). He never got the girls then so I hope his late blooming has kept him grounded.

So then, what have we learnt here today? Not much really. I think that the ginger blokes I know are funny because they learnt, at an early age, to laugh at themselves. My hair is all but gone and I can now laugh at bald jokes, I think it’s given me an avenue of comedic thinking I had never really gone done before. So in that respect, gingers are ahead of the curve.

Keep on being who you are my ginger friends, I may not be one of you, but pretty soon I’ll have so little hair it won’t matter anyway.

As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address

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Up in the sky…(or the Boutique and Bistro in the clouds)

I remember, many years ago, smoking on a flight to America. I was 16, away with a group of friends (most of them older than me but not all over 21 so the drinking thing wasn’t too awkward) and we had 3 smoking seats between 7 or 8 smokers. It was the longest game of musical chairs in history. I understand why they stopped smoking on planes, I also understand though that the air is recirculated less (due to the lack of smelly smokiness), and so the lack of smoking directly links to the increase in picking up coughs and colds while up in the sky (and why do they still have the no smoking signs?). The point is that flying has changed massively over the past 20 years.

I also remember when you got lots of free stuff. Nuts before take off, drinks throughout the flight, snacks as well as meals, headphones, ear plugs, eye blankets (I think the correct term is face mask but eye blankets sounds better to me). Now, you get food that tastes of plastic, the drinks cart comes round every couple of hours, you have to pay for headphones, you still get the nuts but they are now mixed in with pretzels. I think that flying has become like a long train journey. It’s so ordinary and everyday that you forget how good it used to be. The following things have happened to me in planes over the last few years…

1) I had a leaky seat. Well, it was the ceiling really. It still worried me and made me study my crash card more carefully.

2) My TV didn’t work. This was responded to with the utmost malaise. The promise of a DVD player that took 3 hours, and having to ask 10 times, to come. The film choices were pretty dire too.

3) They ran out of booze. This one was terrible. It was a morning flight, heading out to the crazy world of Vegas, and so I decided to wait until a decent hour to have a beer. At 11.30am they announced that the bar was closed due to lack of alcohol. I complained and was told that some people were very drunk and rowdy…

“Good for them, I’d like the same oppertunity”

“We are very sorry sir, but we can’t discriminate on who we serve alcohol to, so we can no longer give any out”

“So you haven’t run out?”

“No sir”

And try as I might, they didn’t give me a beer. They also have flights where they need to have enough for the round trip and so cut you off at a certain point. If they can fill up on fuel then they can fill up on beer.

But this isn’t the main point of my Blog today. The main point is that of the budget airline. They have really gone the extra mile in separating you from your money. They offer very small items (of the brands you know, so you think it will be bigger than it is) for a very big price. The can of beer that is the same size as a can of Coke, the packet of Pringles that is a third of the usual size, a bag of chocolate that has less than a handful of sweets. Grrrrrrrrrr, here comes the rant… The seats are too small. The leg room is rubbish. You have to fight and scramble to get aboard to sit together. You have to pay for your bags. They constantly use the intercom to try and sell you stuff. There is no entertainment. They all wear orange. And breathe. This is all nothing new, what has changed is the pretension of these airlines. While sat in my small seat, waiting for the trolley, the following announcement was made.

“If you would like something to eat or drink, or if you would like to purchase some of our special offers in perfume of spirits, then why not take advantage of the Boutique and Bistro”

I have heard some exaggeration in my time, I am a man so prone to it myself, but to call the food trolley a Bistro and the duty free a boutique? Words fail me, and that happens as often as a freebie on a budget flight.

I am flying home today with the orange airline, wish me luck.

As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address

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