Vis-à-vis a Vignette on the Victorious Visiting of Vibrant Venerables

Had another great weekend (the last one away for a little while) with my mates Rich and Soneva in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. Rich has just taken that remarkable leap and bought a house. And what a nice pad it was too. The kitchen is big enough to cook, eat and dance about in (all three are just about possible at the same time) and the lounge is big enough to house a host of the most comfy and luxurious, black leather chairs you’ve ever seen. I even got my room with an emperor sized double bed. I was impressed.

Saturday’s rain defeated our attempts to go to the intriguing sounding Monkey Forest and bowling was booked up so we went to the movies and saw “V for Vendetta” which I quite liked and I now really want to read the original comic (or should that be ‘graphic novel’). I’d deliberately kept my expectations low as I’d heard it was being directed by the 1st AD from the Matrix movies and had been fraught with problems but it was quite exciting stuff with CGI explosions that actually meant something and a shaven Natalie Portman (no, not like that). A thoroughly glorious weekend and a long overdue visit but then often the best visits are!

Swashbucklin’ (not) in Brooklyn

Did a bit of public service yesterday in quashing someone’s poor attempts at hilarity or scaremongering. The warning about an ‘Invitation’ virus has been rehashed so that you now ought to be on your guard lest you receive an Olympic Torch forward from one of your friends. The person who had sent it to my mum’s boss obviously hadn’t checked it out first before sending it to everyone in their address book. A quick check on the major news sites, McAfee and then a trip to trusty ol’ Snopes reveals that they were had by a hoaxer and not even a new one as the same gag has been around since 2000. I then felt obliged to write to everyone on the forward and put them straight.

What I don’t understand is how the source of this kind of trick gets anything out of stunts like this? Is it just designed to ‘shake things up a bit’ in a sad display of frustrated angst or do they genuinely believe it’s funny? Twats.

Are You Up to the Job?

This morning’s job-hunting yielded some rather intimidating vacancies amid the Grauniad’s arts and heritage section. Anyone reckon they could become “Keeper of Asia”? I assume you get deputies to help you, as the job must cover a lot. The other daunting position was that of “Director of Public Understanding” which sounds impossibly difficult and probably quite thankless. I think I’d prefer the former but then decided that at this point any job will do. This gave me the idea of putting my morning’s questing to music using the tune from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s (spit) “Any Dream Will Do” with more of a vocational theme. Then I decided that would just be silly.

Congratulations – It’s a Boy

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Hatch: Congratulations to my cousin Christopher and his wife Elizabeth on the new arrival of their bonny, bouncing baby boy, Hamish. Born on Monday 6th at University College Hospital, London and weighing in at 8 pounds and 1 ounce he looks to be on fine form. Great stuff.

Ground Zero

Popped to Brum on Wednesday night for Miriam’s leaving drinks. Miriam has been on Doctors a lot longer than I had been and being frustrated with the lack of opportunities to move up she’s taken the decision cut loose and have a well deserved break. The evening was partly about remembering the good times and making it clear that everyone would miss her but also about celebrating the next phase of her career, and indeed life, now that the world of Letherbridge (the fictional Midlands town that the GP’s inhabit – it’s all on the website) is behind her. It was a bit like a New Orleans street funeral where people are sad and sombre and then explode into wild and euphoric dancing. There was drinking, and then there was more drinking. And then there was karaoke. I had actually got the courage up to sing but the song I had chosen wouldn’t play. Which at the time, seemed a shame but the next morning had a been a cause for rejoicing.

On the way to Selly Park from the city centre I was awestruck as we drove past Pebble Mill…
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Or at least, where Pebble Mill had been. This mammoth (albeit profoundly ugly) building had stood for about 33 years and now it was reduced to a few modest banks of rubble, waiting the developers who are soon to move in and begin work on the science park that will eventually appear in its place. I can remember that anyone new to Pebble Mill always got an overwhelming sense of the history of the place. The BBC in Birmingham had facilitated a vast host of great programmes of every genre that helped to reflect the midlands and give programme makers a way of showing viewers that not everyone in BBC in England was London-centric and that people in the regions could have there own voice and, to some extent, identity in the same way that people in Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast had enjoyed. I had only worked there for a few years before it was closed but I still remember being impressed by the many pictures that adorned the walls including Warren Clarke in Dalziel and Pascoe, Richard E. Grant in The Scarlet Pimpernell, Pete Postlethwaite in Martin Chuzzlewitt and of course the assembled casts of Doctors and The Archers, and that was just the drama. I’ve yet to visit the guys in the new Drama Village in Selly Oak and it really does sound comfortable and well designed but won’t ever be as remarkable in the way that Pebble Mill was. And it probably struggles to double for an ancient and neglected hospital exterior. But anyway, enough of all this moping – best of luck Miriam! Enjoy Palm Springs and enjoy the future!