Archive for the ‘in the news’ Category
Britain’s Got Talent has been known for many golden moments, Cher Lloyd’s tantrums, Susan Boyle’s amazing voice to name but two. But for sheer visual impact one lady always stood out. Personally I always liked her for making Simon Cowell’s facial expression change from boredom to sheer amazement in less than a minute.
Step forward Miss Fabia Cerra
If you didn’t catch her act the first time it was repeated on youtube endlessly for the viewing public. Now, this is the first time a burlesque performer had appeared on BGT so there was some doubt as to what to expect. Needless to say her performance titillated, stunned, amused and amazed the people of this fair land.
In the wake of the spotlight came huge, and scarily persistent media interest, particularly from The News of the World (you remember them).
But the fifteen minutes of fame tick away fast and she has been working hard. She consolidated her success by moving into new areas of business, such as perfume. A lot of her spare time is spent in charitable works and volunteer projects, such as Abdabs, a youth community theatre project based in Witney. She has even had a letter from Buckingham palace, but more on that later.
To see Fabia’s outstanding performance please click here
I still love the look on Simon Cowell’s face, it was the only time he cracked a smile. Lucky that desk was there, eh, Simon?
So I finally caught up with Fabia for a chat this week.
What drew you towards the Burlesque style of performance?
There are many things that come naturally to me, for example mixing flavours and anticpating customer needs. Some things don’t, and sadly public speaking is one of them. So I would have to be a total lunatic to suggest that I speak live on radio about not being able to speak. But why?
Coming soon to a cinema near you, and an Oscar favourite to boot, is a film called the King’s Speech. Colin Firth portrays King George VI, a rather shy fellow who was suddenly pushed on to the throne after his brother abdicates. Traumatic enough in itself, his problems were compounded by the fact that he had a severe stammer. The film has proved a major talking point in the US, with debates online and on radio.
I knew instantly it should be worthy of some attention in dear old Blighty too so I fired off an e-mail to the main man at BBC Radio West Midlands. Adrian Goldberg is a fellow I had been in correspondence with for a while but never actually met. I wrote a few pieces for his website, the Stirrer, last year.
My day got off to an expensive start when I filled my tank with as much petrol as I could afford. To put it in perspective, if it were beer to drink, I would still be under the legal limit. My sat nav is never happier than when I take it to Birmingham. It suddenly turns into some kind of Sergeant Major. “Left, right, left, right, left… HALT!”
BBC West Midlands is a rather swanky place, part studio, part shop and part exhibition center, very people friendly. Except on New Years Day it was all shut except for the studio. Through a glass partition I could see the back of a man’s head as he spoke into the microphone. The studio PA came out to tell me that I had a few minutes yet so I waited.
Preparing for a radio speech took George IV hours, he went through breathing techniques, relaxation and allsorts. I had a can of red bull on my way in and hoped for the best. I took this opportunity, though, to pace up and down, breathing like a sex pest, trying desperately to get my heart rate down. But the more I tried, the more I felt a coranary coming on. I recited my quotes to a model Dalek, until I noticed people staring in the window at me. Carry on people, nothing to see here.
After a few minutes I was called in, during the commercials, and introduced to Adrian. He seemed, indeed is, a nice sort of fellow.
“Ah Nick, come in,” he said “We are very interested to hear about you and how you cured your stutter.”
Hang on.. cured?
“I haven’t, I still have it.” I replied, in perfectly clear speech. Which would confuse some people.
“Okay, no problem.” Adrian replied, the corner of his eye registering the smallest flicker of concern. He had never actually heard me speak before, so this was a bit of a gamble for him.
So off we went, Adrian led the conversation then gave me ample time to answer, he didn’t interrupt or try to finish my words off, which is the worst thing you can do to a stammerer. We discussed the film, which admittedly neither of us had seen yet. We discussed people’s attitudes to stammering, which are generally reasonable, and occasionally rather bad.
We got on to the various therapies available, the best available being the Maguire programme and the Starfish project. A short phone-in followed. A chap was on the line who coped admirably well with a stammer for years while holding down a stable job as a journalist. To me, this boded well for my future aspirations.
We discussed my treatment, which in truth amounted to very little. After years in and out of therapy I decided to just live with it. But, and this is paramount, I must learn not to fear it. The Maguire programme had a stage involving public speaking. However, without knowing it I had gone one better.
Way back in 1998 I went off along to Greece on a bit of a tour of self discovery. To find work I had made myself walk into every bar, club and restaurant in Malia and sell my abilities. It was hard, nerve-wracking, and, yes, often humiliating. But after dozens of no’s I finally found a little bar on the top of a hill, and the barman said ” Yeah, alright.” This piratical looking individual, Manos, became a long time friend of mine. I digress.
The whole interview took about ten or fifteen minutes and, I later learned, had a very positive response. It also got a plug or three for my blog, Birmingham Food and Drink. (Cheers for that, Adrian)
So I hope all of this helped my fellow stammerers. If any of you out there wish to contact me about the interview, my contact address is here.
In all, an unusually productive New Years morning.
To learn more about stammering and it’s affects, please check out:
The latest developments in the Irish financial crisis may have brought a temporary halt. I think we can officially say the Irish economy has sadly reached rock bottom. It seems a forgone conclusion that the current Government will not survive into the new year, and they know it well.
Europe and now Britain has agreed to loans measured in the billions, which has at least secured their future but it may have seriously impaired their ability to act, economically, as a nation.
A lot of British people (mostly English) are asking why should we help Ireland when we have enough serious problems of our own?
The answers are mainly down to the future security of the country and the preservation of the peace process. Britain needs a stable Republic of Ireland as we share a border that could see thousands coming over looking for work, as indeed happened in the 1930s. Britain simply does not have the jobs to provide work for all those seeking it, we cannot even provide enough for our own people. Furthermore they provide a lot of food, mainly beef, to our shopping baskets.
A weakened Irish government would give rise to a new and determined wave of nationalism. Sinn Fein, like the BNP and the EDL, are gaining ground fast. They, naturally, deplore this sell-out of their nation to foreign bureaucrats. They have thousands of young, dissaffected Irish people to subvert for their own ends. To them, accepting a loan from the British is the last straw.
We all can see that the peace process is running slowly out of steam. It has made some rock solid foundations in the last ten years or so. Unemployment shrank, the violence died down by a remarkable degree, ? We have disarmament, a re-branded police force (as opposed to an actual new one), and a power-sharing agreement for warring sides.
All this could come to naught if the angry young men and women of 2011 onwards decide: ‘ feck it, let’s blow something up and have a riot.’ Misery divides people, it never unites them. Naturally both sides will blame each other for their privations and in no short space of time the bubbling cauldron of hate will boil over again. This would only be fuelled by joblessness and poverty.
Can Ireland dig it’s way out of this hole? Eventually yes, but we are talking generations, not a year or two. They are a dogged, determined lot when they set their hearts on something and they can be wonderfully innovative when they want to be. Don’t underestimate them, and don’t patronize them either, they hate that. Just wait for them to bounce back.
Go see them yourself here:
Actually I havn’t but boy have I thought about it a lot lately.
But the art of telling someone where to stick their job has been taken to a whole new level this week.
Firstly, ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Steven Slater, air steward. Now dealing with the general public in transit is a stressful occupation. We have all seen airline, the rows, the idiots and so on, but we never had to deal with it personally. Steve did it every working day.
Steve was having a bad time anyway, lets make that clear. He had family worries and really could do without two women arguing over an overhead locker as the plane taxied to a halt at JFK airport. He went over to intervene but was told in no uncertain terms where to get off.
At this point the red mist descended.
Steve tore off his nasty airline tie, grabbed the microphone and launched into an expletive-laden tirade against the two women and the airline industry in general. After which he grabbed a very well earned beer, opened the door, pulled the inflatable chute and slid his way to freedom. Geezer!
Sadly he was arrested at his home a few hours later on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and other crimes against fun. He is currently on bail and awaiting trial.
To support his case follow this link:
But my gold medal for sticking it to the man has to go to this little sweetheart. All we know is her name is Jenny and she was having a lot of hassle at the firm of brokers where she worked. Just follow the pictures all the way down.
A round of applause please!
For more funny stuff please check out http://www.thechive.com so I don’t feel too bad about stealing their photos.
If workplace stress is causing you hell please do get help. Just don’t ask me for a job.
Well for a change I would like to announce that Zach Braff, star of Scrubs, is NOT dead. It was some twat on a fake site putting about a fake rumour.
Roll VT, bob:
I was concerned at first, considering the year we are having for celebrity deaths. But within an hour nothing had appeared on http://www.tmz.com, sky news or the BBC. Not even Fox ran the news.
Zach Braff is the star of the long running medical comedy Scrubs, that has won several TV awards.
Here is a clip of this funny series:
Yesterday it was announced that the singer Stephen Gately had died at his apartment in Majorca. The Spanish police do not suspect foul play or misadventure, but no other details have been revealed.
Stephen Gateley shot to fame in 1993 as a singer in an Irish boy-band managed by pop svengali Louis Walsh. Boyzone, as they were known, became the rivals of Take That at a time when the latter band held dominance of the Boy-band market. While Take That were mostly from the north of England, Boyzone were all Irish.
Boyzone were an overnight success and sold out stadiums worldwide.
Stephen was also gay, but he found himself still very much accepted by his band mates. He later came out and few people batted an eye lid. He later became the civil partner of Andrew Cowles.
Boyzone split for many years, for unclear reasons, except perhaps they had taken their act as far as they could at the time. They later reformed and played the same kind of slow ballads they had before.
Away from the music Stephen was also an actor and did many voice overs for Doctor Who audio productions and the Watership down TV series.
He was found on his sofa the morning after a night out. No drugs or other implements were found at the scene and a post mortum is due later this week. I think it is likely he fell asleep on his back and choked on his own vomit, but that is just personal speculation.
He was 33 years old.
In the realm of the internet we have come across some weird and wonderful sites. The church of Elvis, dancing ducks and cutsey pussy cats. But once in a while a site comes along that just keeps you amused for hours.
http://www.ijustmadelove.com is one of those sites.
The idea is that the minute you have done the deed you post your location onto the google map provided on the site along with any details you care to share. Just please remember that there is such a thing as too much information!
I really must read it on a saturday night just to see which locations come up. Bus shelters, taxi ranks, hang on, is that my garden?? those little… arrgh!! It seems the middle of the Atlantic is a common location (probably a lot of frustrated sailors). One wonders if the site counts masturbation as sex. Considering the name uses the singular it wouldn’t surprise me.
Ah, it’s the little things that we find amusing. Are you going to post on it? Go on.
No I havn’t added a marker.
In a world where justice often seems in short supply it is highly amusing to see two drunken yobs finally get their comeuppance.
Dean Gardener and Jason Fender had been out drinking most of the day when they came across two easy targets – a pair of tottering transvestites. Full of dutch courage they decided to take them on in a fight.
Unfortunately the two trannys turned out to be highly trained cage fighters on their way to a fancy dress party, and they wasted no time in kicking their little chavvy arses. Not only that, but the battered pair were later picked up by police who could tell by the blood that they had been fighting.
The cage fighters actions were ruled as self defense and no charges were brought. And as for the two big beered up boys?
They were given a four month community service order and electronically tagged with a dusk till dawn curfew.
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?
Virtually from the day he seized power Muammar Gaddafi presented his country as a safe haven for international terrorism. Much as Fidel Castro had done a decade earlier, he set aside land for bases, instructors, bank accounts, intelligence dossiers, weapons and explosives.
As I have previously stated, Gaddafi wasn’t too fussy who he let in. Some of the factions of crazies that flocked to his banner were chalk and cheese.
The first groups to arrive were radical Muslims opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Angry, zealous and capable of violence, they soon set up shop in the Libyan desert. From there they launched attack after attack on Israeli civilians and military alike.
The umbrella organization was the Palestine Liberation Organization. Their subsections varied from radical communists to right wing Ba’ath-aligned groups.
From there the next group was the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Although a vastly different religion, they were fighting, as they saw it, an Imperialist power occupying their land. They recieved arms and training before slipping back into Northern Ireland. Throughout the 70s and 80s they wreaked havoc against the British army. The PIRA mantained a working relationship with Libya right up to the late 90s.
A similar organisation was ETA, the Basque Seperatist movement. The Basque homeland was a province of Spain that had it’s own language and culture and aspired to become a seperate country. They recieved similar training to the PIRA, how to use car bombs, pipe bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices.
Just to mix the party up a little bit more he invited members of Germany’s Baader-Meinhof group to train. Instead they went to Jordan but he still provided them with arms and some rudimentary training.
In 1978 the Idi Amin regime of Uganda declared war on the neighbouring state of Tanzania, who promptly counter-attacked and led to a messy border conflict. Libya sent 2500 ground troops and Russian or Chinese-built tanks to aid Amin. But it was all to no avail, and the Libyan troops, minus tanks and weapons, were expelled to neutral territory.
The Libyans also aided local Arabic groups in Spanish Sahara, and he was the first to recognize their newly reformed country as Western Sahara.
It may have been the Libyan intelligence agent, al-Magrahi who taught the terrorists how to hijack a plane. He was the head of the Libyan national airline’s security for years.
The Libyans were not adversed to carrying out acts of terrorism of their own, the difference was that they picked targets well out of their depth. Their fighter aircraft took on the US air force during an exercise in international waters, and lost both aircraft. Gaddafi didn’t take it too well. The US cranked up the sanctions.
In 1986 West Berlin was home to La Belle nightclub, which was a favourite spot of the NATO aligned US servicemen. On 5th April at 01.45 am, the place was packed. The bomb went off near the DJ box, a natural focal point. Two US servicemen, Kenneth T Ford and James E Goins, along with a Turkish lady, Nermin Hannay. Two hundred and thirty people were injured.
Ten days later the US reacted like a wounded bear. Their air forces struck at military bases and terrorist training camps up and down the country. The mission was a huge success, in spite of the death of Gaddafi’s innocent daughter.
For Gaddafi this was far from over, and he ordered his agents to strike at an American civil target. They decided to pick a Pan Am flight out of London. It was the darkest moment in the long history of Libyan terrorism, killing a total of 270 people.
He stepped up the sales of arms to the IRA and the PLO, and urged them on to greater acts of violence.
In 1989 Libya went for a repeat performance in the Gulf of Sidra incident. In virtually identical scenario two MiG-23s faced down two F-14 Tomcats. And once again it was 2 – 0 to the United States.
After that things calmed down a little. By the nineties America became obsessed with the Middle East, the terrorist groups started to scale down operations and Libya started it’s long slow rehabilitation.
Ladies and Gentlemen I am afraid it is confirmed this time. Patrick Swayze has finally lost his valient fight against Pancreatic cancer.
He passed away late last night with his wife Lisa at his side.
Patrick was best known for his lead role in Dirty Dancing that turned him into an icon overnight. His picture became a permanent fixture in teenage girl’s bedrooms in the mid eighties. It was expected that the film would be shown in cinemas for one weekend then go straight to video. Instead it became a box-office smash that still captivates a certain generation of women. His later films fared less well, with the exception of Ghost.
In an age when bad behaviour among celebrities is considered acceptable, Patrick remained calm and always a Gentleman. He was incredibly faithful to his dancer wife throughout his whole life.
In addition to acting and dancing he also managed a horse ranch and he was an expert horseman.
He was 57 years old.