Sexism? It’s alive and well in British politics…

Just when I think I can get on with posting frivolous things like what I’ve been buying and wearing, along comes another public matter that I just have to have my say on! Damn being so opinionated!

There are two things that have caught my eye (pardon the pun, in relation to the first one).


MP Alison McGovern has released a letter that she received, presumably from a member of the public, following an appearance on Channel 4 news earlier this year, which criticises her for displaying cleavage.

You can read it in full here.

To summarise, the letter accuses her of using her feminine form to attract attention to herself as a Labour Party spokesperson, suggests that it’s a “strategy”, and mentions that her “prominent cleavage” distracted male viewers from hearing what she was saying.

Say what?

Firstly, she wasn’t dressed in any way inappropriately, or courting attention. She was wearing a more than respectable top, under a blazer, all in very sombre colours. Quite fitting of a politician, some would say dull.

Newsflash – women have boobs. 2nd newsflash – we don’t live in a Middle Eastern country where we have to hide our flesh.

Secondly, as an educated woman and member of the shadow cabinet who one would assume is in the role due to her own merits (and I don’t mean tits), suggesting that she would use a strategy is really very insulting to both her and the person who appointed her.

Thirdly, who are these male viewers who become deaf when any hint of a woman’s curve is on show? You’d hope that they’re watching the news for an insight into the world. It’s Channel 4, not bloody Babestation. Last time I heard, your ears don’t become full of cotton wool because you can visualise what’s under a woman’s top.


Issue 2 is the news that Labour Leader candidate Jeremy Corbyn would support the idea of female only train transport if women thought it was of benefit.

How about you jolly well sod off, and instead implement tougher laws and punishments for the dirty dogs who think it’s ok to make women feel vulnerable on trains?

Here’s the deal – both of these cases clearly intimate that men can’t control themselves. Alison McGovern, in not wearing a Victorian blouse up to the neck, has invited all of these poor defenceless men to sit and leer over her, and in doing so the poor souls have missed out on all the important intellectual stuff she was talking about.

Such a shame for them.

Jeremy Corbyn, rather than punishing men, realises that they’re weak and can’t help themselves when in a public place with women they don’t know and so he is protecting them from themselves by segregating the genders.

My heart bleeds for their torturous existence.

How about, instead of the fault lying with women, we look at the situation for what it really is. Because, for the most part, men are pretty OK. They don’t generally go around perving and blaming other people. I know a lot of men who are respectful and non pervy. You know, normal men. And those men are probably pretty pissed off that they’re being lumped into a big ol’ sleazy can’t-control-themselves category. And rightly so!

For all the progress we’ve made with women’s rights, we seem to be going backwards. Did Emeline Pankhurst burn her bra for nothing?

I suppose she was just trying to show off her bangers.

A trip to Cheshire – Beeston Castle

This weekend we travelled up the M6 to the greenery of Cheshire, staying overnight on a voucher deal (more on that tomorrow). We were about a mile and a half from Beeston Castle, which is run by English Heritage, so we planned to drop the car off at the hotel and walk to the castle, have a mooch around and take some pictures.

Entrance to Beeston Castle

Entrance to Beeston Castle 2

When I checked the website last week, I was thrilled to find that there was an event on at the castle – Clash of the Knights. This involved a tournament of 4 teams clashing on the battlefield in a re-enactment of medieval Britain. A historical camp was set up and there were demonstrations of clothing and weapons, plus music and areas for children to battle against each other (although the weapons weren’t real, obvs!)

Clash of the Knights

Clash of the Knights

We took a picnic.

Picnic at the castle

Picnic - strawberries and cream

And cheered on the knights.

Clash of the Knights

Clashof the Knights 4

Clash of the Knights

Clash of the Knights

Clash of the Knights

(did you know that shields, contrary to popular belief – and Hollywood representations – were made of wood? Metal would be too heavy and dent easily, plus if someone hit a metal shield the knight holding it would get painful reverberations up their arm. Wood is lighter and more forgiving. Shields would be thrown away at the end of each battle and replaced for the next one).

Then we climbed up to the castle ruins.

Beeston Castle

At the bottom of the hill are the remnants of what would have been the ramparts. The views were stunning.

Beeston Castle

Beeston Castle

The castle ruins are up a rather steep hill, and an even steeper slope.

Beeston Castle 2

Beeston Castle

But again the views are fabulous – 360 degrees of countryside.

Beeston Castle

Beeston Castle

Beeston Castle

Beeston Castle

We had a fabulous afternoon of sunshine, fresh air and history. A perfect Saturday!

The Ashley Madison “cheaters website”

Regular readers will know by now that I love having my say on stuff that’s in the media and I don’t feel I can let this Ashley Madison hoo-hah pass without sticking my oar in.

Shame on anyone who is an active member of this website. You’re despicable.

Ashley Madison logo

I’m not naïve. I know affairs happen. People grow apart. People change and sometimes become different people than when they first got together with their partner. People fall out of love. It’s life. It’s a sad part of life, but it’s life none the less. And yes, sometimes a person in a relationship – be that long term or married – will meet another person who knocks them off their feet, with whom the chemistry is unmistakable and sometimes they will act upon that emotion. You would hope that, in those cases, they have the good morals to finish their existing relationship; either prior to anything happening with the new person or immediately after things start to develop.

I also know that isn’t always the case. Like I said, I’m not naïve.

But to actively go looking for it? To sign yourself up to a website that will match you with someone – willingly cheating? Well that’s a whole different ball game. That really is wanting to have your cake and eat it. That’s putting yourself out there as someone who’s morals are so poor that they’re actively chasing a lying, conniving and secretive set of circumstances which can potentially really hurt a lot of people. That’s saying that you’re so open to having an affair that you don’t even want to leave it to chance that it might happen. You want a guaranteed “bit on the side”.

I’m sure there are excuses. “My husband works long hours” or “my wife cares more about the kids than me”. The good old “my partner doesn’t understand me and we haven’t had sex in years”. Yadda yadda. I call bullshit. Or, is the point of this website that you don’t need to make excuses? Everyone knows the score so you don’t have to pretend? There’s no reason to try and explain away your cheating because that’s why everyone’s a member?

Why do people cheat? If it is because there’s something missing in their marriage or long term relationship then get out. If not for yourself, to improve your own life, then for the other person. Because if they find out you’re cheating things will get a whole lot worse. Cheating with someone who you like more than your partner isn’t going to make your “real” life any better.

Your relationship should, ultimately, make you happy. People have tough times of course, but if the bad outweighs the good then it should be au revoir. Better to be alone than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

A friend of mine (“Hi Cookie!”) posted this article on Facebook today. And it’s true. Even in long term relationships it’s true. I’ve been married for 7 years next month and some days I still miss my husband when we’re both at work. I look forward to getting home to him at night. His texts make me smile. And I’m not being a smug married here. I’m just saying I couldn’t be with him if he didn’t make me feel that way. It would be empty. And you certainly don’t fill emptiness by creating a secret life in which you’re content for a while and then have to return to miserable reality.

Even worse – if there isn’t anything missing in your relationship and you just want something extra, well then you stink. Seriously. Have a fucking word with yourself. And I sincerely hope that your partner sees your name on the list and takes you to the cleaners. Because you deserve it.

The decline of the Los Angeles rock scene

My musical heritage is very different to my husband’s. He grew up in the days of Motley Crue, Skid Row and Bon Jovi – where the songs were big and the hair even bigger. These bands cut their teeth in the bars of West Hollywood, playing early gigs and drinking until they were carried out.

Sunset Blvd

We first went to LA for a whistle stop 3 days as part of a bigger West Coast trip. I didn’t understand the appeal, as I didn’t have the history that he had. But seeing his face as he walked into The Rainbow was a picture, and one I was happy to be part of.

Rainbow bar and grill outside

Rainbow bar and grill inside

We’ve been 3 more times since then. Apart from Birmingham, LA is the place in the world I’ve spent most time. The second and third time my love grew. I was more into rock music by then, and loved the history of the venues, even though I wasn’t around for the music at the time.

Whisky a Go Go

Seeing live bands play stages that had been graced by The Doors with Jim Morrison in the 60s. Sitting in the booth in The Rainbow which features in the November Rain video. Watching Motley Crue play on Sunset Boulevard when they closed the road for the festival – with the full roller coaster drum kit set up. All very special times. Chilling by the hotel pool in the day.

Mondrian Los Angeles pool

Seeing Lionel Richie in the hotel foyer and overlooking the exclusive Virgin Atlantic party from our bedroom. Watching Vince Neill of Motley Crue getting progressively more drunk on champagne in the hotel bar. Even seeing The Saturdays being interviewed by the pool. I’m not into celebrity, but there’s still something exciting about seeing these people sharing your airspace.

By the fourth time it was clear that things were starting to decline.

The rock scene is disappearing. There’s a big rise in R&B and hip hop acts playing WeHo venues. And that brings a different type of crowd – one who perhaps is less tolerant of the rockers with their long hair and tight trousers. Venues have closed. Not just the House of Blues – that’s just the latest one. The Roxy, Red Rock Bar and Cat Club all closed within about a year of each other. Cat Club became an Irish bar. That goes way against the history of the Strip.

Boutiques and restaurants and plazas are popping up.

Sunset Plaza

There’s a lot of money in the area; Ferraris and Lamborghinis are common place out side restaurants. And because the Strip is such a small part of WeHo, and indeed WeHo itself isn’t that big, space is at a prime. Developers see big opportunities for big bucks. Rock tourism (and rock locals) aren’t the big bucks spenders. Which is why places like the House of Blues are being torn down and replaced with condos and hotels.

Sunset Strip Music Festival – which started off honouring rockers such as Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crue – now hosts electronic dance DJs.

The only places that left on the Strip now are the Roxy, the Whisky, the Viper Room and the Rainbow. Sure there are a few other bars in the area as well, but in a town that used to be renowned for partying, most venues are fairly quiet in the week. I think, as much as it pains me to say it, it’s only a matter of time before the remaining places start to close too.

It’s a long way to go and a lot of money to spend to get a watered down version of what it once was – especially when you’ve done all the tourist places and seen the other parts of LA you want to see.

Time for a new music mecca!


We’re already looking towards “Music City”.

Nashville, Tennessee – yee-hah!

Flashback Friday – Sunset Strip Music Festival 2011

Four years ago, right now, we were in Los Angeles. More specifically in West Hollywood. Sunset Boulevard (The Strip) had been closed down for a street festival that was being headlined by Motley Crue. Husband smiled so much I thought his face might fall off.

We’d been to LA twice before – the previous year was in June. We’d seen the festival advertised and said we’d definitely go in 2011, not knowing who was playing. When it was announced that it would be Motley Crue it was amazing – they’re my husband’s favourite EVER band. Knowing that we would see them on The Strip where it all began for them 30 years previously was amazing.

We went to the honouree event at the House of Blues (which you can read about here) but the gig was what was going to be really special.

The day was scorching hot with blue skies and wall to wall sun. As are most days in Los Angeles (lucky swines!)

Sunset Strip music festival view

The street had been closed form the night before while the organisers set everything up, and it soon got really busy.

Sunset Strip music festival view 2

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This was the year that Tommy Lee’s drum kit was set up on a rollercoaster loop the loop. We never for one minute imagined they’d build that set up outside. Oh but they did!

Tommy Lee rollercoaster Sunset Strip Music Festival

As darkness fell we bagged ourselves a good viewing spot ready to enjoy a once in a lifetime show.

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And it really was amazing! The sound, the pyro, the stage show, everything!

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Tommy played “Home Sweet Home” on a mirrored piano.

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See his drumkit at the bottom of the loop the loop?

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It went up and over, with him still playing!

Motley Crue Sunset Strip Music Festival

The atmosphere was electric.

Motley Crue Sunset Strip Music Festival

Afterwards we went into the legendary Rainbow Bar and ate pizza in one of the booths.

Inside the Rainbow Sunset Strip Music Festival

Bumped into a few famous faces – yes that’s Ron Jeremy!

Me with Ron Jeremy

What a trip that was. Unfortunately the LA rock scene is dying…my post tomorrow explains more…

Fight the flab – time to get moving

I’m very much a nothing or almost nothing kind of exerciser – I HATE exercise with a passion. It just feels so forced.


I’ve tried on about 3 different occasions this year to do the C25k running plan – I even went out and bought running trainers – but something better always gets in the way! (any excuse – the weather’s bad, the weather’s good, I’m tired, I need to tidy up at home, let’s go to the pub – ANYTHING!)

However I have been gaining a bit of weight and feeling flabby so I know I need to do something (I also need to lose some weight so I can gorge myself on Italian food when we go away in October – lose it to gain it!). I don’t want to give in to weight gain. I know the more I leave it the more I will have to lose, which will be harder work. Plus I refuse to replace my clothes with bigger clothes. I really like my clothes!

I know that my main problem areas with weight are wine, and lack of restraint at weekends. Neither of which I’m really keen to stop, so getting physical needs to become part of the equation.

After a couple of weeks of deliberating, I finally got myself in the right mindset last week, plus it makes sense to actually use the trainers I spent so long deliberating over earlier this year. I was very girly when it came to buying them. Firstly I really didn’t want to spend any money on sports gear precisely because I’m so fickle and would rather buy nice things like lipsticks and heels. When I gave in to the idea that I would have to invest some cash, it was of utmost importance that I liked the trainers. Not enough that they’re comfortable, feel good, support me (whatevs); they have to be nice to look at. I know I’m not alone in this! Which is why it took me 3 visits to different sports shops in 2 different towns before I found some I liked.

Adidas running shoes

(they are actually very comfortable too, and were a relative bargain at £36, from Sports Direct)

So I’ve been out a handful of times for a hybrid walk/jog type thing and I’ve actually enjoyed it – the sun was shining and I took a picturesque route which made a difference. Also, going at my own pace with no time goal meant I didn’t feel rubbish if I had to stop (something I did find with the C25k podcast – it’s too regimented for my needs, even though it is actually pretty laid back, that’s how unfit I am!).

I’ve also decided I’m going to rejoin the gym (urgh). I want to try and get to grips with Bodypump. This is how I feel about that prospect:

Kill me

I’ve done it once before, many moons ago, but I didn’t know what any of the equipment was and I was with a friend so we spent most of the class giggling at each other. This time I’m going to ask about the kit and the routine and everything first, so at least I’m not floundering wildly. Although I have such pathetic upper body strength that I’d probably struggle lifting Hula Hoops (mmmm…crisps…)

My gym also does 30 minute pack workouts with a personal trainer, and I think even I can manage 30 minutes if I’m being pushed by someone! (or, failing that, cry badly enough that they’ll take pity and let me leave).

Of course the key will be going straight from work. I’m even going to change at work so I’m in the mindset, because if I leave it ’til I get to the gym changing room I’m likely to drive straight past and go home…

I even said no to a Chinese takeaway last night!

Operation Italy starts here!

Goodbye House of Blues Los Angeles

House of Blues Los Angeles closed it’s doors last week – yet another iconic music venue which is no more.

  House of Blues Los Angeles closed

I went to House of Blues a few times during my trips to LA. I saw Motley Crue being honoured there as part of Sunset Strip Music Festival exactly 4 years ago today.

Motley Crue at House of Blues Los Angeles

Nikki Sixx, swoon…

Nikki Sixx at House of Blues Los Angeles

Surviving members of The Doors played on the same night. That’s pretty legendary!

Steel Panther, poo-pooed by many for being a comedy band but who are actually great performers and musicians, played a regular Monday night residency.

Steel Panther at House of Blues Los Angeles

The after parties following the shows were amazing; raucous, loud and drunken.

The building itself is so cool – looking like a beat up old ramshackle tin shed, it’s size is deceptive.

House of Blues Los Angeles

With a restaurant area, large gig space and balcony bars it was a really great, quirky, unusual place serving Deep South inspired food, good measures and quality sound.

It’s sad that it’s closed. It’s even more sad that the building will be torn down and replaced with hotels, condos and entertainment spaces. West Hollywood is losing it’s musical edge and appeal; the history which made it the iconic hang out being plastered over with bricks and mortar to reap financial reward.