Sunday, 29 August 2010

Diana Watch

“So when is Margaret's funeral, I will definitely come?”
“It's on the 14th,”
“Oh that's my birthday,”
“I'm sorry about that,”
“Oh no, it's nice to have something to do on your birthday.”

Oh thank the lord, all will be well, Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams are friends again and the original Take That (the campest sounding band name ever, except for Gay Bikers on Acid, maybe) are back together again!

 It seems that Labour really did have a bit of an idea of what they were doing with the economy after all.
 Revised figures from the Office for National Statistics released on Friday show that the UK economy grew by 1.2% in the second quarter of this year. Now I believe the second quarter is April, May and June. So Gordon Brown in charge April and some of May and then the coalition took over but only tinkered.
 What is encouraging is the fact that most of the growth came from the construction sector, which grew 8.5%. Building is usually one the first sectors to suffer in a recession but one of the first to recover.
 As you can see from the graph this is the 3 quarter of growth in a row and this growth includes an 11% drop in air travel mostly down to ash cloud based delays.

(I may have stolen this from the BBC website)

 So when the Tories and the LibDems took over all was coming along nicely, let’s hope that they don’t mess it up to much with this recent wave of privatisations.
The Government is pretending that the cuts in spending are for “Austerity” reasons but I don’t think anyone is really buying that any more. This has become ideological.
 Many of their ideas won't save any money but they have handed control over to private companies.
 For instance, the scrapping of NHS Primary Care Trusts and the handing of commissioning services directly to GP's.
 Well that's not privatisation, GP's are the NHS you might say.  Well that is sort of true. GP's surgeries are commissioned by the PCT's to work for the NHS but they are privately run companies who make profits for the shareholders in that company, usually the Partners in the practise.
 There is also an interesting new development is the Partnership Collective, basically a company that is run by GP's that manages lots of Surgeries. Usually they start in one small geographical area but they soon start bidding for services nation wide.  They do the managing, centrally, and local Doctors and Nurse do the work. Much like a big company because they are a big company.
 I work, on Friday afternoon, for one such company called The Practise. I think that their choice of company name does sound like a Dr Who baddies organisation (the computer system is called System One, even more sinister if you ask me) but an OK employer. Again, private company making money for the owners of that private company.
 Very shortly after the Governments announcement of the PCT scrapage scheme, The Practise organised a meeting with other local GP surgeries and offered to do their commissioning for them, for a little bit of cash obviously.
 So which ever way you look at it the money for buying services from the NHS will go to private companies, which is privatisation isn't it?

 The Government's attitude was also laid out in an interview on Radio 4's PM program when they were discussing the scrapping of the Audit Commission.
 The Government spokesman brought up many anecdotes about waste with the Quango such as hiring conference space, in which they held a conference by the way, and the excessive use of pot plants (I have no idea what the excessive use of pot plants is but the BBC sent a reporter to this spokespersons office and it was filled with pot plants). He also bought up a contract that the Audit Commission had with a bagel shop. When they had a meeting that clashed with lunch they got some bagels in, OMG the waste! I'm pretty sure that that is a nice thing to do and quite usual but I digress. These were all examples of waste within an organisation that was described by Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, as bloated. Really, a man with as many chins as him really should choose his hyperbole a little more carefully, again digression, sorry.
 When it was pointed out by Eddie Mare that “isn't that the sort thing that the companies the Government will use to carry out the duties of the Audit Commission will do and do do”, the reply was well “yes that is true but I don't care what they do with the money that we give them, they are a private company” Ok, I might be paraphrasing but that was the jist.
 So nothing will actually change except to introduce profit as a motive.

 So on to the awards,

 The Award for Being A Massively Twatty Company of the Week,

 So you will have heard about the 33 Chilean miners who are trapped underground.  It seems that they are going stuck there for quite a while as, in order to rescue them, a whole new mine shaft has to be drilled. They may be not be rescued until Christmas. Trapped in the dark at 36 degrees C, everything they need has to be slide down a tiny tube.
 Because the mine is not working, the company that runs it is facing some financial difficulties, the Government will be paying for the rescue and THE WORKERS MAY NOT BE GETTING PAID!

The Award for Super Twat of the Week (and pretty much every week to be honest),

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Axl Rose. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has even a passing knowledge of his history with Guns N Roses but Friday night at the Reading Festival he gave one of more Divaish performances.
 He and his band of hired hands came on stage on hour late, at 22:30, despite being told that they had a curfew of 23:30. Because of their late arrival, no apology to the thousands of paying fans, they were allowed to play until Midnight. They left the stage after playing “Night Train” and then the power to the stage was cut as the 23:30 curfew was part of the licensing agreement but Twaxl wanted to play on.
 He returned to the stage, no power remember, and the drums began the intro to “Paradise City” which Mariah Wannabe Axl tried to sing through a megaphone. After about 5 minutes of this pantomime he left the stage.
 So elements of the crowd were less then friendly to him and booed after ever song and began chants of “what a twat” (see it's not just me)
 He then threatened not to play at the Leeds end of the festival tonight (Sunday) saying “ Unfortunately due to tonight we will not be at Leeds...” no mention that it was his own fault that Friday night's show was a bit rubbish.

I think that will do for today, a bit negative, sorry. I hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Diana Watch

This weekend is Dorchester’s Warm Festival. It mostly consists of bands playing on the Bandstand in the Borough Gardens and us watching them with ale, although I haven’t gone yet as it is pissing it down here.
 What I like out this, apart from the ale, is the unassuming, not-expecting-much name of the event. The Warm Festival. We can’t promise you heat or sunshine but it will probably be warm. Ish.

 Umm, not much has happened this week to be honest; A-levels came out and were instantly belittled throughout the media.
 Many have pointed out that the visual media, whether that be print or television, seem to think that only nubile young ladies have taken A-levels or at least that is the impression that they give with the photographs that they choose to illustrate their stories with. Here is a link to the Sexy A-levels photo stream.

It was the last episode of this series of That Mitchell and Webb Look on Tuesday and, after they had covered the Moon Landing conspiracy theories pretty comprehensively, tuned their attention to Diana Death conspiracy ideas with amusing results,
The Award for Over-reaction of the Week

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water a massive crocodile turns up in the English Channel. Swimming in the sea in and around Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, was suspended on Friday when people claimed that they had seen a massive beast paddling around.
 People ran screaming from the water, ok I might be making that bit up, whilst an investigation was carried out. Where was this enormous prehistoric beast? Did it even exist? Well no, it turns out it was a log.

The Award for Pot Calling The Kettle Black of the Week,

Facebook (and other sites) this week has faced criticism this week over the amount of information it collects about its users and the amount of private data that users upload.
 Eric Schmidt said that privacy is dying and that when users grow up they may consider changing their names in order to get away from the trail of embarrassing information that their younger selves posted on-line.
 That Eric Schmitt by the way is the same Eric Schmitt who is the head of Google. You know Google, that search engine that has spread it wings and now offers all sorts of services for free. How are they for free you may ask? Well, they sell advertising space on their sites but they also sell all the information that they gather on you when you are using the services that they so kindly provide for you. Which is nice.

That is it for today, have a lovely week and if you enjoy the podcast do feel free to leave a review on Itunes or podbean and tell you friends about it, thank you.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Vintage Diana Watch

I feel sorry for teenage boys, I really do. They are so unsure of themselves and emotionally tight. I remember it being an awful time of my life even though nothing particularly bad or interesting happened. Can I enjoy this or is it rubbish? How do you dance? Will I look rubbish if I do? If I stand here and look moody will she fancy me? How do I move my arms anyway, they seem to be welded to my pockets?
 I only bring this up because yesterday we were at Vintage at Goodwood. We were having a fabulous time anyway but when we noticed that Martha and the Vandellas were on the main stage soon we thought we would pop over and see them.
 Now, I love 60’s girl bands and, despite the fact that they were by no means the best of them, this was going to be a bit of a treat, hopefully. I was a little worried that they might be a bit rubbish, had I built them up too much, were they past it? (The following sentence contains a swear word or 2). Ooooohhhh fuck no, they were fan-fucking-tastic.
 Martha Reeves may not the best voice in the world but she was warm and funny (and maybe even a bit sexy), the band were tight and her sisters were in great voice. Being a stereotype of a 35 year old white bloke, it takes a little bit of effort to get me dance in daylight, surrounded by other people, when no alcohol has been taken but they managed it and how! A field filled with people of all ages, colours and sexes grooving away to Heatwave and Jimmy Mack. If the field had had a roof on it it would have been blown off when the horn section played the opening few bars of Dancing in the Street. Oh man, it was fun and has entered my top 5 gigs ever.
 This brings me back to teenage boys, can they have a good time or are their hormones completely against them. As everyone was having, just about, their best time ever, there were spots of stillness within the crowd and every single one of them was male and between the ages of 13 and 19. Damn they looked miserable. “I want to enjoy myself but I just don’t know how.” I felt sorry for them after a while, being excluded, as they were, from the group experience by the cruel hormonal trick that their bodies play on them simply so they can have some armpit hair.

 For those of you not familiar with the mighty Martha and her Vandellas I give you,

We had a fantastic day out at Vintage at Goodwood and I am in such a good mood that they will be no news review (although the Tories are no longer making cuts for “Austerity” reasons they are ideological. Look how many things they want to privatise) and no awards either except maybe an award for giving us a bloody brilliant time and that would go to Wayne Hemmingway and his lovely festival, oh and Martha Reeves obviously.
  I can bring you vintage Diana Watch though,


This was noticed on the wall of one of the stalls yesterday by Significant Other who I’m sure will also post something about our day out on here at some point.

 Want to see some pictures of our day out? Of course you do,

Have a great week all.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Diana Watch

 You try and give something up and it pulls you back in. It's a bit like Scientology in that respect.
 I was going to stop doing this “every sunday” thing, for a while at least, because the podcast is staring to take off and it takes quite a bit of time to do both. That and I don't want to repeat myself.
 After last weeks posting no one commented at all on me stopping so I thought “The readers, or lack of them, have spoken, no one cares that much so I will stop for a while at least”, and then the Daily Express decided that I just couldn't. You want to stop do you? You think you can ignore something like this do you? Just once more, it can't hurt can it?
 Lady and Gentleman I give you,


Don't stare directly at it, the stupid will burn your eyes.

Shall we do some awards whilst we are here? I think we shall,

The Award for Massive Twat (Sorry Again) of the Week,

Naomi Campbell appeared, rather surprisingly, at the War Crimes trial of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor. She was giving evidence about blood diamonds that she was allegedly given by Mr Taylor.
 She was asked about how she felt about appearing before the tribunal and she said it was an “inconvenience”. Really? Oh I'm very sorry Ms Campbell, did you have something more important than a war crimes trail to do? Maybe you had to abuse your PA or work on your throwing arm? Perhaps you had to walk up and down a bit in a slightly silly frock?
 If you thought that the Supermodel was a vacuous idiot before she really hasn't helped herself but, as my mother said this week, “She looked fantastic”.
 Here you can see a picture of the people who attended the dinner where the barely sentient ball of rage met Charles Taylor, note the caption for the woman 4th for the right, crushing.

The Award for Interesting Yet Pointless Size Comparison Because No One Knows the Size of the Original of the Week, 

An enormous glacier has broken of from the North West coast of Greenland and if it moves South could easily interfere with shipping. It is the largest Arctic iceberg since 1962 but how big is it? Well, it is 260 sq km or 100 sq miles. That tells me nothing, can you please compare it to something, maybe an island that I have no idea how big it is really. Why thank you BBC radio news who said it was 2/3rds the size of the Isle of Wight.
 Whilst that wasn't really a helpful comparison the one on the BBC website was much better. On there it says that the iceberg contains enough fresh water “keep all US public tap water flowing for 120 days," well according to Prof Muenchow anyway.
 Whilst the breaking off of a single iceberg, no matter how big, is not proof of anything the first 6 months of this year have been the warmest on record.

The Award for Least Surprising Speech Content of the Week,

The not very healthy Ex-leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro, has given his first speech to Parliament in 4 years.
 His audience were not as tough on him as perhaps they might have been as they applauded him just for turning up. Why doesn't that happen to me? I have entered plenty of rooms that contain other people but never have they exploded into spontaneous applause, it's just not right.
 Anyway, back to some sort of point, can you guess which Country Ex-President Castro was most annoyed with? Well can you? We’re not carrying on until you have a guess. Come on it’s your own time you’re wasting. That’s better.
  Those of you who said Chile will receive no points, the same goes for those who suggested The Federated States of Micronesia. No it was America, which is far enough I suppose as they are still keeping up those sanctions despite the fact you can get a package holiday to Havana. If you can go all-inclusive to a place there is quite a strong chance that your economic sanctions aren't working that well.

 I'm sure that that will do for now, I'm still not sure if I'm going to carry on with this blogging thing but don't worry, I'm not going to go on about it anymore, when a decision is reached I will tell you.
 Have a lovely rest of week and if you like the podcast tell and friend or give us a nice review on the website or on Itunes, thank you xx

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Diana Watch

I’m not sure what to do. I have now started doing a podcast which sort of covers the things that I do here and I don’t really want there to be any duplication. So should I stop doing this every Sunday, that is the question? Or should I carry on and possibly bore those who listen to the podcast as well (that is assuming that they weren’t bored already). Oh I don’t know, if you all listened to the podcast instead of reading this (maybe some of you do both) then I could stop doing this.
In the mean time, here are some awards.

The Award for (I’m sorry but there is no other way of putting this) Massive Twat of the Week,

Some time earlier in his smartly dressed life AA Gill managed to piss off a surprisingly large number of people after he, to misquote Johnny Cash, shot a baboon in Tanzania just to watch it die.
Now however he has been rude about someone who is not going to take it. In an article about Clare Balding’s new TV show Britain by Bike, which is on BBC4 if you are interested, he called her “the Dyke on the bike”. What, pray tell, Adrian does her sexuality have to do with a TV program about cycling? The article had several more disparaging references to Ms Balding’s sexuality. She has made a formal complaint to the Press Complaints Commission.
This is not the first time the Adrian Gill has decided to bring up the sexuality of female Television presenters whilst reviewing a program of theirs; he has done it to Sue Perkins as well. He really is a rather unpleasant man.
Before making her complaint to the PCC Clare Balding had written to the editor of the Sunday Times who reacted in a rather unhelpful way, he replied to her approach by saying “In my view some members of the Gay community need to stop regarding themselves as having a special victim status and behave like any other sensible group that is accepted by society.” Umm, which accepting society is that? Is that the society that thinks that it is ok to print reviews of television programs which include unpleasant remakes about the presenters sexuality because they are not heterosexual. I note that the sexuality of hetti presenters is never mentioned. If it isn't a problem for Mr Gill then he wouldn't have felt it necessary to go on about it?
  As Clare herself said in her eloquent response to the knuckle scraping editor John Witherow "When the day comes that people stop resigning from high office, being disowned by their families, getting beaten up and in some instances committing suicide because of their sexuality, you may have a point.
"This is not about me putting up with having the piss taken out of me, something I have been quite able to withstand, it is about you legitimising name calling. 'Dyke' is not shouted out in school playgrounds (or as I've had it at an airport) as a compliment, believe me."
The British press’ attitude to sexuality was exposed again on Saturday when the bloke who won X-factor felt it necessary to give an interview to The Sun saying that he was gay.
As we know there is only one reason for doing this, it is because he got a phone call from The Sun saying that they were going to “out” him so it was his choice how the story came out, the revealing interview or the exposé.

The Award for British Sporting Success of the Week,

Well, we have loads to choose from this week. The European Athletics Championships have done taking place this week and it has been going really rather well for Team GB.
Highlights include the brilliant Jessica Ennis winning gold in the Heptathlon, Mo Farah wins the 5,000m and the 10km and Welsh pair Dai Greene and Rhys Williams secured a one-two finish for the British team in the men's 400m hurdles final. This leaves us 2nd in the medal table (at the time of writing).
The first cricket test against Pakistan is going very well and looks like England will wrap up a win in under 4 days and finally Shanaze Reade has won her 3rd BMX World Championship.
Who needs footballers anyway.

Yesterday we went to London again, which was nice. Significant Other went to Knit Nation and I had a day by myself.
We travelled up together on the train which can be fun but it is an experience that is shaped mostly by those with whom you share a carriage.
For most of our journey to the capital I was jealous of the absolute certainty of opinion being expressed by the 2 conversing couples sat across the aisle from us. Every dull subject, why he won’t us BT to dentistry rip offs, was being covered with Daily Express like attention to detail.
  I think that this sort of thing is the reason I like going to places with high numbers of non-English speakers speaking their own language, is that I can’t understand them, a relief in it’s self, and I assume that they are discussing matters of great import and are not telling some slightly racist anecdote.

Anyway, my day was most enjoyable. I went to the Horniman (yes, it is a funny name) Museum which was great. Yes they do have an over stuffed dead Walrus (the story goes that the taxidermist had never seen a Walrus and didn’t realise that they are supposed to have many folds of skin and just kept stuffing) but it is so much more. Had lunch in Chinatown and then to the National Portrait Gallery,

Quickly back to the Museum, it now has an aquarium as well, which contains jelly fish,

I hope you all have a lovely week. I will try and decide what I'm doing about this blog in the week, in the mean time do feel free to listen to the podcast and, maybe, leave a nice review on Itunes (search for DORC in the podcasts bit) or on Podbean, thank you xx