Category: Opinions and rants

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first public appearance

First things first, I’m not a royalist. But I don’t dislike them. I mean, we’re a country that’s known for it’s Royal family, and it’s not like they’re going to disappear anytime soon (and, if they did, we’d have Theresa May as our head of state which is, quite frankly frightening). I truly believe they bring in a lot of tourist money to the country, and the Queen is an absolute stalwart. I wouldn’t want my Nan still working in her 90s. Plus imagine how hard it must be to be Queen? You always have to be nice to people, and there’s the distinct possibility that you’ll have to sit down to dinner with that oaf Donald Trump. In fact I wrote a post about why I’d hate to be Queen a while ago. Have a read!

Anyway, I digress. I think the younger Royals, William and Harry, are doing a lot to improve the face of the monarchy. It doesn’t feel forced either. I don’t think they’re doing it for popularity; purely because they’re younger, they’re more in touch with society, and they’re more aware of real life than their older relatives. Not to mention the fact that they’ve suffered real tragedy. Yes they may have had a charmed life in terms of money, education and where they live, but they’ve grown up without a Mom, which is ridiculously tough on anyone, regardless of whether your background is privileged. I like that they spoke openly about their grief and their experiences during the recent TV coverage of 20 years since Princess Diana’s death. Their human side is definitely what will keep the monarchy relevant for years to come.

Rumours abound that H is about to propose to Meghan Markle, and I even read one article that said he already has but the Palace are sorting out the timing of the announcement so that it doesn’t overshadow other occasions. If that’s true, it’s bonkers! I also read that if they do get married, Meghan will have to be known as Princess Rachel, because Meghan is actually her middle name so she’ll have to go by her actual name. But Harry isn’t called Harry, his name is Henry?

It’s such a shame that they can’t just be dating without the press being so keen to marry them off. It’s a lot of pressure on both of them.

Anyway, no doubt bowing to “popular demand”, Meghan Markle appeared in Vanity Fair magazine last week and spoke about her relationship with Harry. And I think they summed it up perfectly, they’re two people who are in love. That’s all that really matters. The photographs that have started to appear from Invictus Games events show them looking relaxed and happy, holding hands and laughing, which is exactly what they should be doing at this stage in their relationship.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

They shouldn’t have to be bowing to pressure to make statements, or get engaged, or anything that they’re not comfortable or ready to do. They shouldn’t really be under such scrutiny by the Press either, especially when Harry has asked for the scummy paparazzi to back off and leave them alone, and even more especially after what happened with Princess Di.

I thought it was especially nice that Meghan didn’t sit front and centre during the launch event; instead sitting a few rows back. It was reported that she didn’t want to take any attention from the focus of the event – the games and the incredible athletes taking part. And rightly so.

Of course, that scuzzbucket Piers Morgan couldn’t help himself but to have an opinion. And opinions are fine, everyone’s entitled to them. But where he proved his scuzzbucket qualities was referring to Meghan Markle as “the woman that Harry is having sex with”. Say what? Not actress, or philanthropist, or even Harry’s partner? No, instead he demeaned her, reducing her existence to a woman who is purely there for Harry’s pleasure. What a disgraceful human being he is.

To finish on a brighter note, how amazing are the athletes in the Invictus Games? Ex servicemen and women from around the world who may have been injured in conflict; using the power of sport to rehabilitate and give themselves a focus. To see them given a world platform and to shine is incredible.

Do you like the Royals? Let me know your thoughts on it all!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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#280 characters

So Twitter have announced they’re going to double the length of characters to be used in each tweet, from the current 140 to a whopping 280.

Twitter logo

Apparently it’s for the benefit of people who’s languages are more verbose. Which is fair enough – I mean have you ever seen some German words?

Personally I can’t really get on board with Twitter. I just don’t find it that engaging. Twitter users from the blogging community tend to be quite cliquey (controversial, I know) and I see a lot of ass kissing and bullshit on there that I just don’t find necessary or want to partake in. A lot of people use it to say the most inane stuff, which just seems pointless to me. And I think you need to use it pretty much constantly through the day to build up a real rapport and following.

I’m so negative, maybe I’m the problem!

Obviously from a work point of view I use Twitter a lot more, and the increased Tweet size will be useful, but I think the beauty of Twitter has always been it’s bite size nature; you can scroll through the screen and skim read 140 characters pretty quickly, whereas something longer requires more digestion and concentration. It will be interesting to see how it works out, and if it sticks.

What do you think?

On the off chance that you want to follow me in spite of my moaning and protestations, you can find me on Twitter here!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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When you’re not even surprised anymore…

Donald Trump. Wow. But is it really wow? Or is it just that he’s so low, so disgusting as a human, so unsuitable as a president that nothing surprises me anymore?

ICYMI: In response to clashes between white supremacists and non racist normal good human beings, Trump has said there were bad people on both sides. That’s right, he’s refusing to condemn the alt-right for their behaviour or actions.

Probably because he needs their vote, and he not so secretly thinks like them too.

It’s too awful to comprehend that the leader of the most powerful country in the world isn’t denouncing out and out racism. He’s basically opening the floodgates for groups with this despicable mindset to freely spout their vitriol without recrimination.

Side note, I also read that there are plans in Texas to introduce what’s being called a “rape tax”. Basically, standard healthcare costs won’t cover abortions, even in cases of rape, so women need to add an additional monthly cost to cover that eventuality. Yup, that’s right, the boneheads that run the state of Texas want women to futureproof themselves from the possibility of having to have a rapist’s baby by paying monthly for the privilege.

You couldn’t write this shit.

So, how is Donald Trump still in power? I’ve asked it before, but I’ll ask it again. When is someone going to realise that he’s breaking America apart, putting divisions in place that will take years to reverse and having a potentially damaging effect on the rest of the world too?

I’ll leave you with a joke, sourced from Twitter. It’s funny, in a really painful way.

Twitter Donald Trump joke

Thanks, as always for reading! x

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Lies, damn lies and politics – Donald Trump is at it again

Donald Trump, 2016 election campaign: “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you…”

Donald Trump, July 2017: “…the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. [It] cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

I mean, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a politician told lies to get elected, but this is a pretty huge deal and a downright disgrace.

It’s difficult to tell, these days, whether Trump:

a) realises he’s out of his depth and is making wild decisions in the hope that he’ll get impeached

b) hates Obama so much that he’s just trying to repeal as much as possible that was passed under his Presidency

c) really is just an absolutely bonkers, narcissistic misogynist who hates anyone that isn’t like him, and belongs back in the dark ages

I could go on and on about why this is a bad decision. About how transgender people have as much right to serve in the military as people born in their correct gender. About how the training and selection process to get admitted to the military is so tough that what really counts is your physical and mental strength and resilience. About how I’m sure Trump wouldn’t care about the gender orientation of any member of the military were they protecting him from an assassination attempt (how come no-one’s tried that yet, by the way?)

I could point out that transgender people aren’t a burden to anyone; that the burden they carry is being born in the wrong body and that they’re more of a danger to themselves if they have to stay in that body, and more of an asset to society if they can be who they truly are. I could point out that anyone who has the heart and soul to defend their country and put their life on the line should be welcomed with open arms, regardless of what is or isn’t between their legs or on their birth certificate. I could point out that this is 2017 and America is supposed to be a progressive country, as well as being the land of the free.

But I won’t. Because most sane and rational people know that, right? And if you’re reading this blog you too must be a sane and rational person! 😉

I’ll just leave you with this, from Twitter, instead.

James Corden tweet

Which I thought was so brilliant in it’s delivery, as well as being so powerful coming from a celebrity with a lot of followers and therefore a degree of influence (not enough influence to topple the hairy tangerine, unfortunately).

Bravo James Corden, bravo. And a big fat raspberry to President Fart, followed up with a punch on the nose.

Transgender people – know that many of us in the world stand with you, and we admire your strength against adversity; today and everyday.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Comedy Central Friends-fest at Bute Park in Cardiff

Who doesn’t like Friends? (this is a rhetorical question, but if you actually don’t then there’s probably no point reading on). Watching Friends is like putting on your comfiest clothes – you know what to expect and can just sink into it’s warm familiarity. Yes you know what’s coming, and yes you know the jokes, but could you BE any more content? (Chandler-ism!)

So many Friends sayings have worked their way into every day vocabulary (certainly mine!) and the fact that the show is on Comedy Central pretty much all the time means you’re only ever a flick of the channel away from those 6 people who you’ve never met, but just know you’d get on with brilliantly in real life (with the exception of Ross, obvs).

When Comedy Central announced “Friends-fest” was going on tour this year (following it’s initial launch in London in 2016) I was determined to go. The closest location to us was Cardiff (close being a figurative term here, as it’s still a 100+ mile drive) but I figured we could make a day of it and so I got tickets as part of the husband’s birthday present.

The website said that a visit to the site should take around 2.5 hours, including the set tour which you had to book a timeslot for.

The website had huge delusions of grandeur in terms of how you could spend the 2 hours that weren’t the set tour. We were done in 30 minutes, and that included a pit stop for a “MY SANDWICH” (remember the Ross episode?) which cost an eye watering £6.50 each.

Let me explain. The site was in a fenced off area of Bute Park, in Cardiff city centre. It wasn’t very big. It comprised of a few different areas / set recreations where you could queue to get your photograph taken, a big screen with lots of deckchairs where you could sit and watch back to back episodes of Friends, a shop, a bar and the set tour area.

Friendsfest big screen

There was a covered area where you could queue to recreate the opening sequence, complete with multi coloured umbrellas and the queue was probably 15 minutes long.

Friendsfest opening credit

The husband hates getting his pic taken and I’d look a bit of a wally sitting there on my own, so there was little point in that.

There was the Central Perk recreation in a separate tent, which was quite good. There are spots to pose outside the café, behind Gunther’s counter, on the famous sofa, and on Phoebe’s stool in the window with a guitar and there were staff dotted around to take photos on camera phones, which was good, but it was hard to get a good pic because there were lots and lots of people milling around so it felt a bit conveyor belt-ish.

There was a very poor almost cardboard cut out recreation of the front of the wedding chapel where Ross and Rachel got married, a very tenuous Lincoln High graduation ceremony background and some cheesy props for people to use (this area felt like they were desperately trying to add some value to the whole experience but failing miserably) and a NY taxi and an NYPD car.

Food and drinks wise there was Monica’s Moonshine diner (a food van with a really small America diner seating area in an open fronted tent), a food van that sold the afore mentioned sandwich…

Friendsfest Ross sandwich

…plus nachos and pulled pork sandwiches, snacks in the café attached to Central Perk and a small bar overlooking the big screen.

It all felt very thrown together and amateur.

The best bit was the set tour, which as I mentioned was a booked time slot. We were ushered into a pre-set area which had some original costumes and props from across the show – this was pretty interesting and I think could have been expanded on to give more value for money.

We were then directed round to the two main apartments featured in the show which were connected by the corridor as you see it on TV. This was quite surreal to look at, because it was like seeing the contents of your TV with your own eyes!

We were in Joey and Chandler’s apartment first.

Then the hallway.

Friendsfest the hallway

Then Monica’s apartment.

We were encouraged to get on set, sit on chairs and take photos, but there were so many people that again it felt cramped and it was difficult to get around everything without being in someone’s way. The good thing was that at the end of each set, the chaperone for our group ordered everyone off, so we were able to get some clear shots.

And then that was it! A 2.5 hour drive each way and £40 worth of petrol for a very sub standard hour. Oh, and did I mention the tickets cost £22.50 each????

Most of the experience panders to today’s selfie and “look, I was there” culture and felt very much like ticking a box for a photograph at every location rather than any in depth, behind the scenes, this is worth the money, I’ve found something new about one of my favourite shows content.

In case you’re wondering, and I haven’t made it clear, I wouldn’t recommend it. If tickets were a tenner and it came to your local town then maybe worth a look. But £22.50 is a hugely overpriced rip off and left me with a bitter taste (and it wasn’t coffee from Central Perk).

To quote my friend Ellen “When no-one told you Friends-fest was going to be this way” clap clap clap clap…

Are you a Friends fan? Do you have a favourite? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Another celebrity musician suicide – Chester Bennington

Like many others around the world I was shocked to hear the news last night that Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park, had died by suicide at his home. At only 41 years old, just finished a UK tour, with a wife and 6 children, he appears to have everything…from the outside. If anything though, that’s proof of the power and relentlessness of mental illness. That even with what seems to be a really successful life, the demons are too much.

Chester Bennington

Suicide is not the exit of a person of sound mind. Therefore mental illness is the killer here. A still taboo, still hidden, still shameful topic to so many people; from the ordinary Joe on the street to the rich and famous. Men especially shy away from discussing mental health, because it’s not “macho” or “masculine”. How does the saying go – big boys don’t cry? Well guess what, big boys DO cry, and they seek help, and they hold their hands up to suffering from an illness that doesn’t discriminate and cannot be helped.

Is it a coincidence that Chester took his life on what would have been the birthday of his close friend Chris Cornell, who himself died by suicide only recently? Doubtful. It’s poignant and sad and distressing, and also a reflection on our society that deaths of these type are still happening.

Like I always say, if you broke your leg, you wouldn’t hobble around and wait for it to heal on it’s own. You’d go to a medical professional who would put in a cast for some extra support while it got better and stronger. The same is needed for the brain. A little bit of TLC and support – maybe medicinal, maybe occupational or vocational – to give your brain time to heal and get stronger.

There’s no shame in mental health, and we need to get better at recognising that.

Contact the Samaritans

Contact the Calmzone (dedicated to preventing male suicide in the UK)

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

*edited to change terminology – I’ve been informed that “commuted suicide” is no longer the right way to refer to the act, as suicide has been decriminalised (and rightly so) so a person carrying out the action is no longer “committing” anything.

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5 things I just don’t get

I know the world would be boring if we were all the same, and I’ve posted before about blogger trends I don’t understand, but here are 5 things that seem quite prevalent at the moment that I don’t understand either (and I think that some of them may be because I’m getting older, which means I’m turning into a generational moaner!)

Tea

Tea

I mean, tea isn’t a new thing obviously, but the people in my office drink buckets of the stuff and in this hot weather I just can’t comprehend it. I’m not a tea drinker anyway, I’ll have the odd cup every so often but very rarely, but the thought of drinking a hot drink on a hot day is absolutely nuts to me! (I appreciate I’m very much in the minority here, in England at least, the Brits love a cuppa)

Vlogs

Vlog

I’m old school. I like to read information and consume content via words. Occasionally I’ll watch an instructional YouTube video if I need to know how to do something. But watching people open boxes or show make up swatches is an alien concept to me. I don’t understand the popularity of it (apart from maybe to be nosy?)

Love Island

Love Island

I have never watched an episode of Love Island, and that’s ok. In fact I’m quite proud of it. I know it isn’t a new program, but it seems like it’s EVERYWHERE this year and people are obsessing over it and I don’t know why? Back in the early days of reality TV – like Big Brother – it used to be fun to watch people interact with each other. Now reality TV is just a stepping stone to “fame” and I don’t believe anyone truly thinks they’re going to find lasting love on a TV program that’s all about ratings. All I seem to see on social media is who’s shagging who and it all sounds vacuous and false and absolutely hideous.

Furry sliders

Furry sliders

So, fur’s for keeping warm and sandals are for keeping cool. Why then would you mix the two? Surely, on a hot summer day, you’re just going to end up with sweaty feet? They don’t even look pretty?!

Contouring and highlighting

Contouring

I understand these two things, and the reasons behind them, but it seems like so many girls are obsessed with changing their appearance and looking the same. I’m all for make up to enhance your appearance but unless it’s done well you just look like you’ve done a really bad make up job and it looks silly. Plus it’s so much effort for everyday. Do it right or just avoid it totally.

Whinge over! What are your bug bears?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Friday Feeling [12] – above and beyond the call of duty at Glastonbury

A friend of mine liked a link to a blog post on Facebook this morning so I had a read, and oh my God!

It doesn’t sound much like a Friday Feeling when you start; it’s about a girl who has been sexually assaulted by two “friends”. She was supposed to be going to Glastonbury with said friends and others, which obviously wasn’t an option after the attack. What happened when she contacted the Glastonbury team to ask about the possibility of a refund will warm your cockles.

Read the full blog post here.

This poor girl has gone through a hellish time, and nothing can change or erase that, but the kindness and humanity showed to her by a group of strangers who didn’t need to do anything at all will have gone some way to restore her faith in people.

Glastonbury

Image from the NME

Bravo Glastonbury, incredible.

Thanks, as always, for reading.x

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Late to the party – Game of Thrones

When we were in the process of buying our new place (at which point does it stop being new, and just be “our place” I wonder?) it became apparent that our existing TV provider, Virgin, didn’t supply our new home. No matter, the husband was quite happy with switching over to Sky after feeling disgruntled with Virgin broadband for a while anyway.

So, on the day we moved in, I arranged for a Sky engineer to come round and hook us up, lest the husband should be without TV for even a day and have a childlike collywobble (I’m only half joking).

Unfortunately said engineer was unable to fit a Sky dish and give us access to all that lovely TV content, because there’s a ruddy great – nay, monstrous – tree smack bang in the middle of where the Sky signal comes from. The tree is growing on the railway bank which runs not far from our house, and is therefore not easy to get rid of.

The husband didn’t take things well. At all. The childlike collywobble I thought I’d avoided by being organised came somewhat to the fore. Phrases like “this fucking place” were uttered by him, my soothing noises fell on deaf ears and placatory comments from me like “I’m sure we’ll find an alternative” were met with a deathly stare.

Luckily, the husband is not one to be beaten by obstacles (aka he’s a stubborn bugger, remember the vigour with which he approached the BBQ ban at our old place?) and so he set to urgent work in looking at a way to bring joyous entertainment into our home. After all, that was way more important than unpacking boxes and other moving day dullness, no?

The upshot was that we ended up with Now TV. Which, as I understand, is like Sky “lite” but runs through the internet instead of a satellite signal, meaning the broadband package I’d signed up for wasn’t nearly sufficient, and we chewed through our data allowance within 3 days. It also means we have yet another remote control that I don’t really know how to use and that I can be blamed for when it disappears down the side of the sofa. But, on the plus side, we have the Sky TV that the husband so desperately wanted!

So, in an incredibly late to the party turn, we’ve started watching Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones

A show which I never thought I had any interest in at all, until we started watching it and I got totally sucked in! We’ve currently made it to half way through season 3, so no spoilers please! I spend a lot of time saying “who’s that?” and “I don’t understand” – it’s by far one of the most complex programs I have ever watched, with so many main characters and locations, but I have the general grasp of things and it starts to make more sense as time goes on. Outside of the complexity and the storyline, the visual side of the show is incredible, with fabulous costumes, sets and backdrops. I love tales of mediaeval times and they’re depicted incredibly graphically within the show, at times almost too graphically, and there are definitely moments which make me hide behind my hands. Character development is so well done; I’ve already gone from hating some characters to feeling sorry for them in later seasons, and I can’t wait to see how things develop further.

On the plus side, because I’ve never been interested in it and haven’t had Sky before, I don’t really know what’s to come in seasons 4 to 6, so it genuinely is a surprise to me. The only storyline I am aware of, because it was discussed in the office, was the life or death of Jon Snow, but even knowing the outcome, I’m still intrigued by the storyline around it.

With season 7 being just around the corner (first episode on 17th July) I don’t think we’ll quite be up to speed ready to watch them in real time, so it will be an ongoing struggle to avoid trailers, spoilers and conversations in the office from my colleagues who have been watching it for many years. And, on the odd occasion we think we recognise someone in the show, we have to avoid Googling anything because it will be sure to throw up results which may reveal what’s to come before we’ve watched it.

Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Have you watched all the seasons? Let me know! (and no spoilers!)

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Foo Fighters at Glastonbury

Did anyone see TV coverage (or live, if you were lucky enough to be there!) of Foo Fighters headlining Glastonbury on Saturday night? After having to bow out at the 11th hour in 2015 when Dave Grohl broke his leg, they made an outstanding appearance on the Pyramid Stage; 2+ hours of some of the best televised live music I have ever seen.

Foo Fighters logo

I’m a big fan of Dave Grohl. I think he comes across as a super nice guy, super fun and mischievous but also very dedicated. I have always said that he’d be on my invite list if I was hosting a celebrity dinner party (you never know, it might happen). But aside from my gooey eyed love for him as a person, he’s obviously incredibly talented and can deliver a tune. I’ve only ever seen Foos once, at the Millenium Dome many years ago, I was right up in the gods, about 3 rows from the very top rear of the venue, but even from there the sound was so good, it was like listening to a CD. The band are incredibly tight, with great energy, and a back catalogue of hits that could have anyone rocking out. Saturday night’s performance was no exception.

Which is why I was incredibly surprised when my work colleague told me that there was a review in the Guardian calling the show mediocre and awarding it only 3 stars out of 5. I was baffled. Had the reviewer watched the same show as me?

You can read the review here.

Pretty much everyone I know who watched it, on TV or in the flesh, said it was incredible. There are only a few people I know, who for some reason have an innate hatred of DG (like, how and why?) who didn’t enthuse about it.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that the reviewer in the Guardian thinks she is too cool to say how bloody brilliant it was, and wants to stand apart from the general admiring populous and score some imaginary hipster points by being negative.

Journalism used to be an admirable career and journalists used to be purveyors of truth. Now it seems that they only write for sensationalism, to attack people’s beliefs and standing in society (Jeremy Corbyn, anyone) or to gain some kind of notoriety. I appreciate that reviews are always subject to personal opinion, and therefore not everyone will agree, but on this one I think Ms Hutchinson is wildly off the mark.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen it, I’d encourage you to watch again on BBC iPlayer and make your own mind up (it’s an amazing set, you can thank me later)

What did you think, if you saw it? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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