Saturday, 30 May 2009

Woolston, and similar smaller shopping areas

An interesting post from a fellow blogger

The complete works of TGR Worzel: What killed Woolston and how I would fix it...

regarding Woolston, an area in which I have a particular interest, and similarly sized shopping areas. There's an interesting discussion also growing in the comments section, views of others would also be welcomed.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Emperor's New Clothes

We had a lovely 2 day break down in Cornwall last weekend. Monday was not quite beach weather, so we decided to pay a visit to the Tate St Ives art gallery. I came out feeling that we had been totally ripped off by a collection of the most pretentious load of rubbish I have ever paid to see (and remember, I am a Southampton fan ).

Here is my honest, open minded, review

A beautiful, impressive building that cleverly blends in with it’s surroundings. Ok, that’s the good bit over with.It is split into several sections with separate exhibitions in each room. When we visited these were –in no particular order - as follows, along with my own reviews.

Alfred Wallis: I’ve heard of this guy before. A famous St Ives painter, he recorded images of ships out at sea, and other local scenes, as he saw them in his head, on random scraps of card. Sorry, but the world is not 2 dimensional; boats do not travel vertically up the sea. These were no better quality than you would expect to find in an infant school, with no unique feature or style to set them apart from work by children of that age. One picture I thought summed up the work. It’s title alongside it was “St Michaels Mount (or Gibraltar?)”, note the question mark. I have been to both, this was definitely neither.

Bojan Sarcevic: A room divided by a few sheets of clear thick perspex that you had to take care not to bump into in the dull light, with a projector playing a flickering cine film of various bits of “sculpture”. I think we endured this one for the length of time it took to cross the room and get out the other end.

Lawrence Weiner: An empty room with 10 pieces of text painted onto the wall. These had the appearance of large car number plates, at an angle of 45 degrees, with three word phrases such as “cobblers eat cheese” (I doubt that was really one of them, but they were all that forgettable) spelt out on blue backgrounds. Attention span in here was as long as it took to read ten three word meaningless phrases.

Lucie Rie: Some pots.

Barbara Hepworth: Sculptures that were at least pleasing on the eye. Basically random shapes nicely proportioned in a variety of textures. At least they had titles like “oval form”, not claiming to be something they weren’t. Ticket also included entry to the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden and Museum, 5 minutes walk away where more of her work set in a garden actually seemed worth looking at.

Carol Bove: What seemed to me to be random items. What is artistic about an approximately 4” cube of what appeared to be coal placed on a plinth with a few bits of dust and black crumbs around it? (not sure if the dust and crumbs were intentional or had simply dropped off). My favourite piece here, and something I wouldn’t mind having in a living room if I had one big enough was a large piece of driftwood about 7ft long displayed vertically . She hadn’t made this, simply picked it up and decided it looked good. Is that art, or nature? Or simply being in the right place at the right time?


Katy Moran: Quite frankly – a mess. A room full of "pictures"(?) consisting of scribble, some with the artistic touch of a few bits of scrap paper stuck on them. Meaningless rubbish given meaningless titles- what is the point?

I am not against art – I know what Ilike and am also open minded enough to appreciate things that don’t particularly appeal to me when I can understand what the artist is trying to create or represent. I have been to the Saatchi gallery in London and stood in awe at some of the things I saw there. I also appreciate that not everyone likes the same thing, and some people will dislike things I like and vice versa.But my overwhelming impression of the whole experience here was "Why?"

I think the people in charge at St Ives are relying on the Emperor New Clothes Syndrome, if we claim to be an authority on the subject and tell the masses it is good, then they will believe it is good. Sorry, not me, as I commented to a friendly member of staff “I don’t get it, it’s just a mess”. She did try to explain the thinking behind some of the “work” but I noticed that she didn’t try to contradict my original statement

Tellingly, an hour later we were wandering around one of St Ives numerous retail galleries admiring some (I guess they would be called ) modern landscapes. “Now that’s art, not like that other rubbish” commented my wife. The guy running the place looked up with a knowing grin and said “You’ve been to the Tate haven’t you, we here that sort of comment a lot”.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Go West

Just about to head down to our place in Cornwall for a quick 48 hour flying visit. Weather forecast is looking good so looking forward to some sun, sea, sand and a few alliteration spoiling pints of Doom Bar.

It's what Bank Holidays are made for.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Wurzel 1- Doctor's Evil Receptionist 0

What is it about Doctor's receptionists that their sole duty seems to be to prevent you from actually seeing your doctor?

Yesterday, Tuesday, I phoned to make an appointment only to be told "We're fully booked you'll have to phone back tomorrow at 8.15". Not entirely unexpected, that seems to be par for the course. It's not urgent, just something I need to discuss so I was quite happy to try again.

So this morning , Wednesday, I try again, at 8.25a.m. I actually get through on my 3rd attempt, which was promising.

Me: "Hello can I make an appointment to see the doctor please, as late in the afternoon as he can make it"
Doctor's Evil Receptionist: " Sorry he's fully booked, you'll have to ring back tomorrow morning"
Me: "I just have"
DER: "Sorry?"
Me: "That's what you told me yesterday, now it's tomorrow so I've just rung back"
DER: "So have lots of others, he's fully booked today you'll have to try again tomorrow, we can only make appointments on the day"
(It's still onl 8.27, it appears my doctor sells out faster than a Michael Jackson farewell concert.)
Me: " What is it with this stupid system? "
DER: "Is it urgent? I can arrange for him to come and see you"
Me: "No it's not urgent I just need to discuss something with the doctor. I work six days a week, surely it's not too hard to make an appointment at a time that suits both me and the doctor and write it in the diary. I don't care if it's tomorrow, the next day, or next week".
DER: " I'm afraid we can only make appointments on the day"
Me: remembering the sales mantra of whoever breaks the silence loses, stays firmly silent.
DER: " I can do you 5pm Friday"
Me: "Anything later?"
DER: "5.10?"
Me: "Fine, thanks I'll be there"

Why oh why is it so bleeding difficult?

Parliament & Primary Schools - The Parallel

Could Gordon Brown be more out of touch with public opinion if he tried?

The MPs expenses fiasco, understandably, has been the big topic of conversation in workplaces, pubs, and post office queues the length and breadth of the land. The impression I'm getting from conversations (held and overheard) is that it's not so much the money, but the fact that these people - the people in charge of our country - can not be trusted. So what does he propose? Make them understand the rules, stick to the rules, and accept draconian punishment if they don't ? No. He proposes in "independent body" to oversee the whole issue of MP's expenses. In other words, confirming that they can not be trusted to deal with it properly and honestly themselves, so someone else has to be appointed to watch over them.

Mrs Wurzel works in a primary school which of course has to toe Mr Brown's Government's guidelines. What happens there if a child repeatedly misbehaves and can not be trusted to follow the rules? Is the child punished? No. He or she receives "0ne on one" tuition, or in other words someone independent of the class teacher is appointed to watch over them.

Spot the parallel here?

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Dear UK Press and Media ....

...... so the publicity grabbing, attention seeking, couple of media whores that are Katie Price and Peter Andre are splitting up.

A statement from them reads that they "have both requested that the media respect their families' privacy at this difficult time".

Please, please, please, I beg of you, not for their sakes but for ours, grant them their wish.

Monday, 11 May 2009

The Return of Jiminy

  • Nowadays the old knees aren't what they were and I restrict my cricketing appearances to few and far between. But in the past I played for and ran a local league side . Surprisingly we won far more than we lost, I say surprisingly because our main raisons d'etre were
  • a) to enjoy ourselves,
  • b)to give every one a chance to do something regardless of ability,
  • c) to talk about it in the pub afterwards and
  • d) try and win.
After several club name changes we finally settled on one suggested by my brother which conjured up the spirit of the team - Jiminy Cricket Club. We were initially worried that the Disney copyright lawyers might not like it but after taking suitable advice - amazing how much "expert opinion" eleven players can come up with over a pint or two - it was decided this was definitely a Cricket Club called "Jiminy" and not a "Jiminy Cricket" Club and if they objected they could go wish upon a star.

Unfortunately after several seasons the club eventually died a death due to dwindling numbers attending the pub after matches. But out of the blue the name is to be revived. Following a conversation on twitter ( concerning attempts to Save Benno from his sacking as skipper of his village 2nd XI ) another tweeter, Dan Slee was so enamoured by the name that a "New Jiminy Cricket Club" has been formed in the Walsall area and hope to play their first fixture soon . They have kindly appointed me Honorary (regrettably I think that bit means I don't get paid) Fielding Coach, which I humbly and gratefully accept (the fact I know not who they are or where to find them is just a minor inconvenience to overcome).

It is in this capacity that I offer the following recollections from Jiminy's previous incarnation as two examples of Dos and Don'ts when fielding. Both took place in Hoglands Park, which for those that don't know Southampton is a large park right in the city centre, split into quarters by 2 much used diagonal paths, with cricket pitches taking up 3 of the 4 quarters. With benches lining the paths and much pedestrian "through traffic" matches played here tended to gain a bigger audience than elswhere.

So, especially for my new protogees, 2 Dos and Don'ts of Fielding

John (who mus have been in his late 50s at the time) was fielding at Long On (to non cricketers that's almost directly behind the bowler right back as far as you can be on the boundary). The batsman smashed a ball straight back high over the bowler's head towards John. With a cry of "catch it!" all heads turned towards John, only to see him chatting to a passer by who was sat on one of the aforementioned benches. The other fielders stood shoulders slumped, all assuming that this was going for six. But we were forgetting John's 40 odd years of experience. He calmly put his roll-up that he was smoking behind his left ear, carefully placed the can of beer he was drinking from onto the bench, took two paces forward, caught the guy out, hurled the ball back into the middle and carried on his conversation with the spectator as if nothing had happened.To this day, still the coolest thing I have witnessed, anytime, anywhere.

This one also took place at Hoglands Park, coincidently again with the fielder (this time Jarvo) fielding at Long On. Similarly to the previous example the batsman had smashed the ball straight back over the bowlers head. Now to be fair to Jarvo, positioned a couple of yards inside the boundary by the sight screen, it was one of those horrible ones to judge. Coming straight at him, the ball held up in the wind slightly and was one of those that leaves you in two minds, either to take a few strides forward and attempt a risky catch or take a few strides back and ensure you field the ball on the bounce thus preventing a certain boundary. Amazingly Jarvo, in a moment of sheer panic, found himself not in two minds, but three and opted for the third. With the ball dropping out of the sky towards him having been hit from 50-60 yards away Jarvo simply stood his ground and volleyed the ball back from whence it came. Again, to be fair to Jarvo, it was a damned good attempt, and actually was in with a decent chance of a surprise run out had the other ten fielders, two batsmen and two umpires not all simultaneously collapsed to the ground in laughter. Jarvo spent the rest of the game claiming it was exactly what he intended to do, whilst trying not to put any weight on his right foot. A quick after-match visit to A&E revealed two bruises, one to his foot and one to his ego. To this day I find myself laughing out loud and the thought of it, and feel the need to remind Jarvo of it every time we meet.

So remember New Jiminys, a bit more of John and a bit less of Jarvo, here endeth your first coaching session of the season.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

State-ing the Bleeding Obvious (see what I did there?)

My nice shiny spanking new much anticipated government issue swine flu information booklet has finally arrived on my doorstep.A quick flick through and my only reaction is "Why?".

I wonder how much this has cost our bankrupt country to produce and distribute? 12 pages of colour print on glossy paper containing very little except plain and simple common sense.

What next? Any day now I am expecting a Gordon Brown video on YouTube showin us all how to wipe our own arses properly