Thursday 31 May 2012

Sex in the city

What's wrong with this picture? Looks perfectly normal to me, I hear you say. And from a distance, it does. One city centre office block photographed from, seemingly, another city centre office block. But if you look at what's going on in the bottom left hand window, you may be surprised; unless you're one of the two performers that is, in which case you'll probably be packing your things and looking at the property pages in today's paper. The paper, more than likely, whose Newsdesk received said photograph. And, before you ask, I'm not betraying any confidences here - this 'what the butler saw' snap was posted on Facebook (of course it was) within minutes of the act taking place; probably while yer man was still zipping up his flies. Which begs the question - so what happened to good old fashioned blackmail?

Monday 21 May 2012

Taking a reading

Six months ago I set up a Book Club. We're known as The Sun Readers; meeting monthly in The Sun Inn, what else could we have called ourselves? We're a merry band of readers who between us have an eclectic taste in all things literary. Everyone gets to have a say (we never stand on ceremony) and it's always fun to pull the pin on an idea, lob it into the group and watch the sparks fly. Does the beer stimulate the conversation? Maybe. Do we take ourselves too seriously? Definitely not. Are we brutally honest about our reading experience(s)? Always.

So who have we read? Magnus Mills, Edward Rutherfurd, Julian Barnes, A D Wilson, Henning Mankell and George Orwell thus far. After a rigorous discussion we always close the evening with the scores on the doors - Barnes' Sense Of An Ending is shading it at the moment closely followed by Wilson's Snowdrops and The Scheme For Full Employment by Magnus Mills. Paramedics had to be called to The Sun Inn last week, such was the ferocity of the kicking Henning Mankell received for his non-Wallander dirge - Kennedy's Brain. He'll survive.

We also have a sub-branch: when friends from Nottingham came over  a couple of months ago they took the idea back with them and now, complete with a couple of new recruits, read along with us and email their pithy reviews and all important marks out of 10. If anyone would like to be one of our 'distance readers' we're currently reading The Road To Wigan Pier, followed by Fannie Flagg's Can't Wait To Get to Heaven.

Any excuse to shoehorn Ringo (or a Ringo lookakikey) into my Blog

Saturday 12 May 2012

Car coats and driving gloves

Cybermen not pictured

The Great North Road; just the mere mention of its name is enough to make the screen in my head go all wavy. Time was (when glove compartments were actually used to keep your gloves in), if you were travelling from London to Edinburgh, calling at all staging posts inbetween, the A1, as it later became known, was the only viable artery running through the country. If you don't count chuffers.

Long before all the roundabouts were ironed out and it became just another eight-lane stretch of blacktop, The Great North Road was one of the reasons driving used to be enjoyable. The joy of motoring was not just some mythological time dreamed up by the History Channel: getting in the car and hitting the open road really was something to be savoured. Ten mile tail backs on the M25 was a nightmare that wouldn't be unleashed on the unsuspecting British motorist for at least another 30 years. From the top of the North Circular, where signs to Hatfield and the north promised so much more than a Galleria housing a second division shopping mall built over a tunnel, to Scotch Corner and beyond - The Great North Road allowed your right foot to be just that little bit heavier than normal; except when slowing down for the traffic lights at Sandy, that is. And winding your way through market towns like Grantham and Newark.

Speaking of Newark, it was announced earlier this week that the iconic service station at Markham Moor has been granted Grade 2 Listed status. This concrete structure built in 1961 with its hyperbolic paraboloid shell roof (not unlike a smaller version of Sydney Opera House) was a gas station you didn't mind pulling in at. Any Doctor Whoevians will know it was once used as a backdrop for a John Pertwee episode. Or was it Tom Baker? Anyway, it's now a Little Chef. It could be worse, it could be a Subway.