It’s 1959 again

left_right_and_centre film

Left to right – Richard Watkiss, Ian Carmichael and Moyra Fraser

Now that we are in June we are running headlong towards the car crash which is, of course, the UK General Election.  This year seeing an exhausted electorate, a confusion of policies and above all a bit of a surreal aspect to the whole event.

It is timely there that today (1 June 2017) Talking Picturse TV is showing the gentle 1959 satirical comedy film “Left, Right and Centre” which tells the tale of an election with a twist; the two candidates fall for each other big time.  Starring Ian Carmichael and Eurovision winner Patricia Bredin with a lovely turn by Alistair Sim it shows a Britain on the cusp of the swinging sixties.  However, although this whimsical tale harks back to a gentler time one thing is very clear – the platforms on which both Labour and Conservative campaign.

A vote for the Conservatives is a vote for poverty and despair shout the  Labour campaign.  A vote for Labour is a vote for chaos and uncertainty cry the Conservative camp.  And meanwhile in the background the unscrupulous Alistair Sim makes money off both sides.

So, whilst I can’t see a love in between Teresa May and Jeremy Corbyn any time soon it seems that slogans and avarice haven’t changed.  Welcome to the 21st Century, we’re still in 1959.

Left, Right and Centre (1959)




Oh Manchester……..


My Manchester.  My city.  My city full of wonderful eccentrics, of history, of innovation, of tolerance.  A place where you can meet somebody in a pub and be best friends by the end of the night.  Where colour or creed matter not one iota, not red not blue.  Just Mancunian.

It’s so hard not to cry.  Many have. To know that music, one of our heartbeats, has been used to create such pain and sorrow.  It’s easy to scream and shout, to blame and rant but if ever there was a time we shouldn’t it’s now.  We’re better than that.  We’re the taxi queue in Piccadilly Gardens.  We’re the fruit seller outside Kendals. We’re the last bus home with the drunks.  We’re the pigeons on Market Street at 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning feasting on the late night kebab and chips.  We’re the curry houses of Rusholme and the cafes of the Northern Quarter.  We’re Canal Street and Deansgate Locks.  We’re the fountain that never works and if it does somebody puts bubble bath in. We’re music in every shape and form in every venue.  We’re the literature and history and invention that this city gives.  Bringer of the modern age, the computer, the atom.  It’s all here.  It’s all us.

So.  What give one tiny insignificant footnote in history the right to terrorise us?  To try and bring us to our knees?  Nothing.  When they are long gone our history will still be there.  Our music.  Our city. Our love.

WE are a city of individuals and a city of one.

WE are the voice of the many and a single cry.

WE are the workers bees that create the Manchester Buzz.

WE are the silence of reverence and the roar of the crowd.

WE are everyone and if anyone thinks they can even try to change that then they really haven’t got a clue.

WE are Manchester.  Hear us roar.

manchester bee















Eurovision – an exercise in bland

eurovision winner

Well it’s been nearly a week since the Eurovision Song Contest can you remember the song that won? Nope, thought not. There’s a good reason for that. They ALL sound the same. Anything that doesn’t ….well….. right side of the board.

It was hoped that the alteration in voting this year would have created a near impossible state of affairs with regards to political voting. How wrong they were. Eurovision forgot one thing – nobody likes Russia, at least not right now. Throw in the fact that it was a song about one of the greatest despots the planet has seen and there you go. I have to say having never heard the Ukraine’s entry as soon as somebody mentioned the phrase “it’s about the deportation of Tartar Muslims by Stalin” my reply was “and that will win”. Nothing says Eurovison winner like a politically well aimed dart.  Bullseye.  It’s a shame really as there were a lot of good songs amongst the  warbled dross slash disco warble that most countries send. First off the Netherlands had a kind of 1960s summer of love Beach Boys vibe to it. Georgia and it’s rock was fantastic – and I was delighted to see the UK gave that top spot on the vote – and then there was the UK. I’d never heard the song before and it was good, very good, better than some of the stuff we’ve sent recently (Bonnie Tyler?) but alas it was not bland. However special mention for Belgium  Just because Fleur East and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have used that riff doesn’t mean you have to.  We’re so over that now.

I’m a fan of Eurovison, hell I even had Charpentier’s Te Deum as my walking down the aisle music at my wedding although not one person recognised it as the Eurovision theme which was most disappointing, but until the UK starts sending generic blandless we are not going to win.

So here is my three point plan to winning Eurovision:

  1. Solo artist please. Backing dancers allowed but artist must walk dramatically onto the stage themselves.
  2. Look pained.  You must look pained, close to tears is also good but remember those jazz hands.
  3. Sparkles.  Just shove those sequins on the dress like your life depends on it.   Men should wear a white shirt preferably with a hint of chest and do a cheeky “Look your Nana would love me” smile.

There.  That should do it.  Or we could just think “to hell with it” and send a rock band…..

Charity Shop Mooching

I like a nice charity shop mooch.  I’ll bring anything home; jigsaws, pottery (a favourite), clothes – I even snaffled a wooden fireguard once and a very nice tray and coasters.  Anyway, my most recent charity shop snaffle was a very nice cardigan, I like cardigans, and a chunky bead necklace.  Both were from Shelter in Didsbury and a Per Una cardigan for £3.99 and a Next necklace still on the card with the RRP of £15 for a snip at £3.50 had to be purchased.


The cardigan always comes in.  A delicate purple/pink shade with the requisite softness has already been earmarked to compliment some of my vintage style dresses.  The chunky necklace has a massive 60s vibe and makes me feel like Twiggy (feel not look….).

So what are my top tips for a charity shop mooch.  Well go in all the time.  You will be amazed what people will throw out in this disposable society.  Obviously Nana’s china is always going to be in there and what a bargain you can get.  I once bought a medium sized old style roaster with the dimpled lid for a few pounds.  Still going strong it’s my “go to” item when doing a slow roast and similar ones in high end shops are out of my budget.  I’ve had crockery from there, whole tea sets before the whole vintage thing took off; I was ahead of the curve on that one and never paid more than £5 for a 6 setting service and lots and lots of assorted vases.  Vintage is getting quite tricky to source now but flea markets are always about and never be ashamed to have a rummage in the box on the floor.

Books are always a go-er. Cheap as chips me and Mr GWG have a standing present every Christmas.  We go to our local Oxfam book shop and set ourselves a limit, it used to be £5 but now it’s £10 due to inflation, and buy each other the “yard of books” present.  Read the books, take them back to a charity shop.  It’s a win/win!

Clothes.  Now I know a lot of people turn their nose up at this.  Why?  Some people buy an item, wear it a few times, can’t be bothered to put it on ebay and so just take it to their nearest charity shop.  Why not take advantage?  I’ve had some crackers.  Pure wool jumpers for a fraction of their original cost, Next shoes and handbags the shoes with barely wear on the soles and the handbags still with their packing in!  Mr GWG even bagged himself a hand made in London tweed suit for the unbelievable price of £14.  Fits him like it was made for him.  I know you can go to Primark or any other cheap fashion outlet and buy from there.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t, I love a good mooch around Primarni and will cover that in another post but why not try a charity shop?

My top rules are:

Bobbling – easily remedied with a defuzzer

Loose buttons and dropping hems – you’re kidding me right?  Get your sewing kit out

Small holes can easily be darned or, if you’re feeling adventurous, patches on elbows and a few well placed buttons/bows/flowers can cover a multitude of sins and give you a unique look for a fraction of the hand crafted price.

SO what are you waiting for? You’re saving items from landfill, you’re giving them another lease of life, you can customise to your heart’s content, you’re saving your own money and most of all you’re giving a charity a few pennies.  Charity shops have been doing vintage for years!





Welcome to the future…..again

After months of inactivity, well be fair a couple of years really,  I’ve decided to get myself organised and start a blog again.  I’ll be migrating articles from my previous blog over (or will I?) and using this more as a platform for my general meanderings through life.  Of which there are many.  I like a meander.  I also like a mooch, a cogitate and the odd nap.  I’m big on procrastination and navel gazing and also bouts of hyperactivity.  I’m like a toddler.  Either napping or doing something that will most likely get me in trouble.  So if that sounds like you welcome.  If not.  Oh.  Well, I’ve warned you.