Monday, 18 January 2010

Where the dark things live…

Where the dark things live
In the sand dunes past the bridge
When the clouds are growing dark
Past the lighthouse and the park
In the deep bleak wood
Where they get up to no good
Where they stare and they glare
And they whisper through the air
In the sand dunes past the bridge
Where the dark things live

They sneak and they creep
When the forest goes to sleep
And they hide behind the trees
And they rustle through the leaves
They will dance and they spin
As their teeth start to grin
When they gather with their folk
By the fire with its smoke
In the sand dunes past the bridge
Where the dark things live

They are furrier than most
And they smell of cinnamon toast
Their eyes are shining green
But they don’t like to be seen
And they sparkle and they glow
As they twinkle on their toes
When they meet and they greet
Round the fire with its heat
In the sand dunes past the bridge
Where the dark things live

If you dare to tread
Go with caution and with dread
Past the lighthouse and the park
As the woods are growing dark
To where the dark things meet
With their claws upon their feet
If you swirl twirl and smile
They may let you stay a while
Round the fire with its smoke
You can watch them share a joke
In the sand dunes past the bridge
Where the dark things live

But you can never speak a word
Of the tales you have heard
Or the dancing you have seen
And their shining eyes of green
In the sand dunes past the bridge
Where the dark things live

Thursday, 3 December 2009

25 Random Things About Jo

Here goes...

1. I'm from High Harrington in Cumbria. I can see the sea and Scotland out of my old bedroom window and some sheep and 3 cows out of the bathroom window. I especially like it when chickens come into the garden. It's right by Workington which became famous when the Sky News chopper flashed it on every tv in the land as the Norths biggest swimming pool. The clean up will take months.

2. I am scared of clowns, they are just wrong. Because of this I can't watch more than 20 minutes of Stephen Kings IT. I stood on a clowns foot at a circus when he tried to give me a balloon.

3. I have done a number 1 and number 2 off one of the 7 great Wonders of the World. But it isnt my fault as they haven't built Toliets into the great Wall of China.

4. I drink so much red wine Lisa has named me Jo Merlot. I drink White when wearing light colours as I have a tendancy to spill or when drinking with Lysha as she prefers it and Ste as he is allergic to red - which is both tradgic and weird.

5. I have a fur coat, he is so furry he needed a name so I called him Henry. He is real but vintage. While I realise this is not politically correct hes too warm to abandon.

6. I can drive a Bobcat fork lift and use an industrial cleaning buffer, I learnt how to do both of these things in prison. The first time I used the buffer I fell on my arse and put a dent in one of the prisoners lockers... it is still there today.

7. I have been to 4 prisons in my life, two paid me, one was for free and one cost me $6 to get in, it was discounted with my ISIC card. Only one had its own gift shop, I bought a post card and an orange pencil.

8. I have a huge crush on Gordon Ramsey, depsite him having a Potty Mouth. I would liked to be spanked by a sauce ladle on a very clean work surface and swore at. He makes me want to shout Woof. I only hope he will make me dinner afterwards, something light like a salmon with green beans and garlic herb potatoes.

9. I wish I lived on the Disc World and worked for Sargent Vimes in the Watch. I would love to think that the world is happily sat on 4 elephants a giant turtle.

10. I've very allergic to peanuts, my throat swells until I stop breathing so I have to carry an epi pen with me where ever I go. So please don't feed me anything with nuts in or eat peanuts in bars near me and yes that does mean I can't eat Crunch Nut cornflakes

11. I'm scared of flying I need 6 gin & tonics and 2 vallium to get on a plane. Despite this I have been to 17 countries and have done a fixed line sky dive, I plan to do another if anyone wants to join me.

12. I actually like my appendix scare, its been there since I was 13 so I would miss it if it vanished. Also if I can see it above my jeans it means my jeans are too low and its very likely you could park a bike in my bum crack

13. I run a club night called Playtime with the boys. Dex has on occasion taken his shirt off and ran round like a pilock and Joel has taken his brain off and ran round like a hamster on speed. We have on bands and DJ's, its been running for 5 years and I happen to believe it is the most awesome night in Chorlton.

14. I don't like public displays of affection, especially by teenagers on buses. I cough and shout "Get A Room". I realise one day this might get me stabbed, especially on the 192 bus as I am convinced most people on that bus are on crack.

15. When I go bowling I can get zero even with lane bumpers. I think this make me special in my own unique way. I do have a knack for bowling on the wii though.

16. I used to work as a photographer at night and a waitress in a diner during the day in Maryland USA, my brother currently works in a children's hospital in Memphis Tennessee. I have no plans to move back over the pond, but he has no plans to return to Blighty

17. I think Dr Zeuss who wrote the Cat in the hat was a genius. I do not like Green Egg and ham, not in a house or with a mouse.

18. I love both Lysha and Lisa equally, so there is no need to fight over me :-)

19. Chocolate milk shakes make up at least 37% of my diet. I have been barred from the Sandbar for drinking them at the bar and once started a petition when the college I used to work at stopped selling them in the canteen. My favourite is Chocolate Brownie Fiji. Mint chocolate is also very impressive, you get minty free breath and calcium goodness.

20. Caffine sends me out of my tree so I only began drinking tea at the age of 27. I like it weak with lots of milk with 3 sugars if you're offering.

21. I am always cold. I have been told its like sleeping with an popiscal. My hands are feet are also an average of 7 degrees colder than my bum

22. Despite the fact I swear like sailor I like to tell the teenagers I teach to "Stop Effing and Geoffing" I sometimes feel guilty as I don't know anyone called Geoff, apart from ali's car which doesn't speak so I don't know if Geoff uses foul language or not, I think he uses Disel.

23. When I was younger I was on a game show, it was embarrasing so I won't tell you which one, but I suppose its not as bad as being a Pampers baby

24. I am additced to humus and pita, especially the red pepper kind from Asda. Carrot sticks are also a popular choice and I'm getting one of my reccomended 5 a day

25. I once went to a fancy dress party as Penelope Pittstop, I think I was my finest moment. Lysha surpassed me in the fancy dress department when she dressed up a rubix cube.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Reasons to be cheerful… one, two, three

Confessions of a geek: Viva Ikea and happy hour is here

In 1979 Ian Dury released the song “Reason’s to be Cheerful” in honour of this I attempting to write a column based on me trying not to be a moaning mini.

My first reason is Cava, its currently 3 quid in Asda I almost enjoy it as much as I hate that ridiculous Soco (Southern Comfort) advert – the one with the theme tune which makes me wish someone would drip wax in my ears and beat me round the head with a dead badger. The bubbles make me think I’m still 16, don’t have a saggy arse and am likely to find a boy like Sid from Skins in 42’s. I also wish I met a boy like Sid when I was 16, his patheticness is endearing and I believe he has hidden depth. But I think his beanie hat needs to be washed with at least three brands of industrial disinfectant, similar to the strength of deodorant needed by Austrian shot putters as he hasn’t removed it since the start of series one. It also explains my current inability to write longer paragraphs. If I don’t finish writing this before the end of my next glass I will be reduced to bullet points.

Reason two, bless my size 5 polyester socks, is an embarrassing confession to say the least. Ikea makes me happy. They have set up the entire store so that you can blindly follow a trail of shiny white arrows that leads you through Swedish home heaven and straight out the other side where you are met by hotdogs and ice cream. In my opinion this is magnificent as I have always been a girl that cannot decipher maps, I believe the mystifying Manchester A to Z is the work of the devil sent to consume both my intelligence and tolerance as I inevitably always end up lost in areas filled with teenagers that believe tracksuits should be worn with earrings easily large enough to lasso a sombrero wearing donkey. Next time I visit I will take one of those pedometer things that usually come free with breakfast cereal as I must have racked up miles.

And finally last week I was filled with joy due to my blender, it not only crushes ice for highly
tasty but alcoholic sea breeze cocktails, creates smoothies from strawberries and bananas which are a damn sight cheaper than buying Innocent ones, but with two potatoes, a leak and a stock cube, it makes great soup. What a multitalented lump of plastic! After acquiring an infection in my wisdom tooth, which provided me with the wondrous combination of eye watering pain, a face that resembled a smacked arse and an inability to eat solid food I came to the conclusion that womankind cannot survive on chocolate Yazoo milkshake alone. The answer was simple, soup and cocktails. With the right marketing this diet could be on the front of Heat magazine by Christmas.

Ok folks I know its been a while... Ba Bar Rainbow Sheep

The political correctness debate

In childhood we were taught the well known rhyme to stop the tears when the vile spotty kid that lived round the corner was calling us names in the street, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. While we could hold our heads high and repeat the phrase, we all thought it was bollocks. Words and language are the most powerful tools we possess, they make us ultimately superior to gold fish and hamsters. Political correctness merely means the practice of using speech that conforms to liberal or radical opinion by avoiding language which might cause offence to or disadvantage social minorities. But has it gone too far?

Education has a duty to teach values of equality and respect, but is banning nursery rhymes really the answer? It has been a children's rhyme for hundred’s of years, but 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' has fallen victim to the drive for political correctness. Nursery school children are being taught to sing 'Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep' instead of the traditional rhyme to promote 'equal opportunities'. This has also been extended to Black boards now being referred to as Chalk Boards and White boards reinvented as pen boards. None of these phrases refer to skin colour in any way, they are merely descriptive of the colour these items actually are. Also which is more disturbing, children who grow up repeating Bar Bar Black sheep or children who spend their time making trips to the country searching for rainbow sheep. Achieving this will require large quantities of illicit drugs and years of expensive therapy. I find the thought of six years old singing about three visually impaired rodents or I'm a size challenged teapot, small in stature and generous of girth, ultimately more worrying.

American feminists are leading the drive to substitute Herstory for History – ‘Herstory’ attempts to remove men from ‘HIS story’. Though there are nearly 900,000 Google citations for ‘HERstory, they are all based on a mistaken assumption. When Herodotus, the first writer that we know of (probably really the first) who tried to find out what had happened in the past, wrote the first history book, the word meant simply ‘inquiry’. Also is the removal of men’s part in our history really equal? Following on from the trend to remove sexism from society an “Inclusive Bible” which is supposed to be an example of Christian teaching in a more diverse manner has rewritten prayers to honour women an example being, “Our Mother and Father Who are in Heaven”.

My personal favourite of all of these is Manchester council employees were requested by e-mail to wish fellow members of staff and members of the public “Season’s Greetings” instead of Happy Christmas. Also More than two out of three Manchester city centre companies have banned Christmas decorations from the office because of fears that they will offend people from different religious faiths and alienate minorities. Before you ask, I haven't become a weirdo fundamentalist. This is not a matter of religiosity, I am personally not religious as I disagree with certain fundamental aspects of the faith I was raised in, my protest is about rejecting plans to turn celebrating any religious festival into a crime, including those festivals celebrated by Christians. I would never want to discourage anyone from celebrating Eid or Hanukah so why is Christmas allowed to be vilified. As only one in 15 Britons actually go to church on Sundays, Christians are becoming a minority. Does anyone genuinely find Christmas offensive or was the idea thought up by an office geek with no friends who is bitter as he didn’t receive any cards or get a snog under the mistletoe at the Christmas party.

PS if this debate has in fact bored you so much that you need caffeine to stay awake, be warned: Coffee shops are changing menus from black coffee to a coffee without milk as it has been deemed to racist.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Reasons to be cheerful… one, two, three

Mint chocolate milk shake, Come Dine With Me and a nut free life

In 1979 Ian Dury & The Blockheads released the song “Reason’s to be Cheerful” in honour of this I attempting to write a column based on me trying not to be a moaning mini so your lovable Jo is back to remind you why life is still predominantly pleasurable despite the fact that there are too many people with faces like bulldogs chewing wasps hanging round Piccadilly gardens.

Reason one is my discovery that in Asda not only are Friji milk shakes on a marvellous three for only two pounds offer, but a new mint chocolate flavour has been cleverly invented. My chocolate milk addiction began on bank holiday Monday three years ago when I discovered that after consuming almost my entire body weight in Pina coladas and undercooked BBQ food, it was really much the only thing I could keep down for the following two days. A cool refreshing drink that is both yummy and high in calcium with the added bonus of Minty fresh breath. Who could ask for more?

My second high point in life is Come Dine With Me on Channel 4 I religiously watch the repeats every Sunday due to the embarrassing fact that I adore this show. In case this genius program concept has escaped your viewing habits the basic plot is four strangers throw a dinner party for each other in their own middle class suburban terrace houses complete with matching dinner plates and garden gnomes. Everyone scores each other out of 10 in secret and the winner get £1000. So you get free food and drink, a cheeky nosey around people’s houses (which usually includes a peak in their underwear drawer) then share with the nation their mushroom risotto actually looked like mole droppings and smelled like wet dog. So imagine my delight when I happened across an advert asking for contestants. While being on TV isn’t a life goal of mine, as I see it as similar to football – I make a better spectator than player, I would gladly make an exception if it meant I could go on Supermarket sweep or cook leak and potato soup serves with honey glazed ham and in season roasted vegetables on Come Dine With Me.

My final reason is that Kellogg’s have created honey cornflakes. This renders my once woefully disappointing existence to almost being standable. I was always partial to Crunchy Nut cornflakes but unfortunately a pesky nut allergy would send me to the ranks of pushing up daisies if I decided to nibble on the aforementioned delightful breakfast family favourite. Now if I can only find a substitute for cocoanut milk in a Pina colada my life will be complete

Sunday, 7 September 2008

The wonders of vintage fashion

I have always been a people watcher, or maybe just incredibly nosey. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than sitting in a café with a cranberry and orange muffin and a creamy hot chocolate with sprinkles creating stories about other patrons and passers by. Is the flame haired woman in the high heels and maroon pencil skirt an innocent colleague of the navy suited man who is sitting opposite, loosening his tie and adding copious amount of sugar to his espresso, or is their relationship something far more intricate and exciting. The shirt and tie hints at work but the fish nets tell an entirely different story…

Fashion reveals just as much about a person intentions as body language, it become a means of non verbal communication. After all no one has ever come up to me claiming they saw my clever wit across a crowed room, but I have had the odd “cracking dress” comment. Dresses in my wardrobe could tell of dancing in heals, or of finding the perfect scarf to match a yellow trim, or giving my hair a 50s flick because the red top demanded it, there is even a few stories of spilled drinks and dry cleaning too. Vintage shops fulfill my fascination for fashion and stories. Each item is not only unique but has a history all of it’s own. I have an original 50’s green and white dress with black flowers and a thin matching belt. It flattens my stomach a lot more easily than sit ups and has pleats which flatteringly cover my bum. I purchased it from American Graffiti for £20 in the Northern Quarter and I knew instantly it would become one of my most prized purchases. It reminds of Reese Witherspoon’s wardrobe in Walk the Line and I like to believe that over 50 years ago the dress was seen with white kitten heals, leaning against a juke box, with its arm round the waist of a guy who was smoking (as all the cool kids did then) while the owner of the dress was chewing pink bubble. It is such a beautiful dress I refuse to believe it could ever be owned by the leader of a dull life. While my interest in outfits may yearn for the fabulous, original and intricate my limited clothes budget usually demands Primark and Topshop, as well as taking full advantage of the Oasis sale, but there is something incredibly satisfying going out in an item that is not owned by anyone else. It is mine all mine! There is something really gutting about walking into a pub and your eyes being drawn to someone in the exact same dress, and to add insult to injury she has better legs. Being a mere 5foot 2, long leg envy is a frequent occurrence.

Thankfully Manchester is positively over flowing with vintage boutique, just head to the northern quarter and you will then them nestled between galleries, sex shops and bar which are frequented by Manchester musical glitterati. You can’t help but wander in shop doorways after seeing flared skirts and spotty neck ties, stood next to double breasted jackets with paisley cravats. Ryan’s vintage has by far the widest and often cheapest selection, a great place to go if you are mood for retro track suit tops and t-shirts. Or, if you feel fashion should have a social conscience you can visit Oxfam Originals on Oldam St which stocks a carefully selected range dresses, shirts, coats and one of the most impressive range of neck scarves and ties I have ever witnessed. If your taste is somewhat more discerning or you simply like your surrounding to transport you back to a time when knitting was a hobby and the term courting could be used without anyone breaking out into fit of giggles, then Rags to Bitches is the shop for you, which features a collection of couture designs based on vintage designs as well as more upmarket dresses and evening wear. These beautiful items are far too impressive to merely sit in the pub, they demand to be taken out for cocktails, will only sit on leather seats, and must be worn with expensive shoes as well as carefully selected accessories. As well as fashion there is a fascinating collection of jewellery, broaches, bags, shoes and trinkets, which gives the place a very intimate feel.

If you have a passion for 60’s dresses and all things kitsch then Pop Boutique should be your first port of call. I have a beautiful black and white spotty knee length dress from the late 70’s which has enjoyed many a night out after I spotted it in the window with a red flower broach attached to it. Down stairs is filled with home original home accessories which can transform even the most mundane abode into a haven of brightly coloured 60’s chic. And if all that shopping has worn you out there is even a café.

Happy Shopping

Reasons to be cheerful… one, two, three

What ever happened to be Mystic Meg and other stories?

In 1979 Ian Dury released the song “Reason’s to be Cheerful” in honour of this I have decided to create a column based on the marvel and wonder that is today and not my usual wine fuelled whinge of future calamities and mocking attacks on society in general. I have essentially found enlightenment, and have decided this should be shared.

My first reason that this will not be the winter of my discontentment is the current lack of Mysic Meg on my television. Mystic Meg was a popular "psychic" and astrologer who had regular astrology columns in the News of the World and now is responsible for the horoscopes in the Sun. She came to greater public notoriety when she hosted what became a regular item on the first broadcast of the National Lottery draw in 1994. Despite the fact that I celebrate her TV demise her predications were always a great source of amusement, they inevitable centred around the premise that at least 90% of the population were able to win. The letters B, C, N and had special meaning and the winner will be someone who wears shoes... Despite always convincing

The second is that Big Brother has ended, for a while I have up most respect for Andy Warhol’s prophesy that everyone will have 15 minutes of fame as it has indeed come true and doomed the public into believing that flashing body parts on Channel 4 is a viable career choice.

My third reason for my contentment is my mother has given me my Grans old telly, which was nice as the telly is similar to me as we were both made in the 80s.

While it looks very cool in a silver back to the future sort of way no one can get it to work as it has no nobs to tune things in, only a really large silver remote that looks like Zacks mobile phone from saved by the bell only with not as many buttons on it. Because of this generous gift, last night I had a dream that it suddenly started working and showed only 80s telly and this morning I'm very disappointed that this hasn't actually happened. But it is quite a small telly (another thing me and the telly have in common) and I'm not sure the hair and shoulder pads (or the jewellery of Mr T) would fit on the screen.

PS. anyone good at fixing tellys? As i like this telly I've named it Merryl and I want it to work