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9th May, 2010


Given all the guff in the papers about how Gordon Brown should shift himself from No. 10 because Cameron won the election, here's some information on that from someone who works in The Thick Of It all. The newspapers are selling some mis-information.

In the event of a Hung parliament what's happened is that no one leader can 'command the confidence of the Commons', i.e. be assured of being able to win votes. The PM is therefore obliged to stay in office and carry on the business of running the country until such a time as one person can 'command confidence'. This was planned for ahead of the election. Once someone can reach that position, then Gordon Brown (if it is not him who commands this 'confidence') will tender resignation to the Queen, who will invite someone else to be PM. And this can in theory be absolutely anyone, Clegg, Cameron, Vince Cable, Eric Pickles, Harriet Harman, anyone who is an MP and can garner a majority following.

If no agreement is reached then Brown may if he chooses stand down and Cameron may be invioted to be PM leading a minority Government. He will have to hope that the opposition parties will vote yes in any votes. If not, then there's a Vote of No Confidence - and either he will ahve to stand down as PM, call another election, or someone else from any party will be chosen as PM.

The Civil Service is staying in 'purdah' for now, carrying on the work already in progress from before the election (but not making any new commitments in policy or finance).

Cameron didn't win the election. Nobody did.


3rd Apr, 2010

Not spoiler-y.

The new Doctor Who was somewhat spoiled by the first few minutes featuring a Scottish child with the most incomprehensible accent since Rab C Nesbitt. Normally I have no problem with Scots accents, even the Dundee one, but this poor kid sounded like a bag of nerves and was mumbling so much I had to resort to the subtitles, which ruined it.

The rest of the show was overall top fun! Matt Smith was great, I'll be glad to see how he goes on when he's settled down - he's still got the DTs - i.e. the David Tennants - he was just as nervy and over energetic as Tennat was when he started. I feel sure he'll get calmer, angrier and darker. I think Karen Gillan will be interesting - a bit sparky and argumentative. And what about her posse of blokes? I think Jeff and Rory will be seen again.

But who was Jeff? And who was Annette Crosbie supposed to be? That was one problem, poor storytelling - I got little sense of who these extra characters were. What Meera Syal's point was, God only knows. It was a bit like they'd crammed a tonne of characters in for no reason. That's not so good and I wonder why they did it? To replace the vast cast built up in the previous series?

Lots of backstory though, and lots of myth to come by the sounds of it. I hope it stays dark. I liked the 'raggedy Doctor' thing, with all the little drawings, dolls and so on. I liked the way they obviously referenced Hot Fuzz with the village green and all the characters standing around, and also that deeply, deeply naff thing with the Doctor and the jerky mind reading/swivel eye/spinning camera crap, which we saw Simon Pegg doing in Hot Fuzz. Very funny.

It stood up to the excitement! It had some things to worry me, namely the sketchy storytelling (and I've never been convinced Moffat is a good storyteller - he has good ideas but not plots), but it's looking good! It all depends on having an ace Doctor and Smith is exactly that!

Doctor Gaiman!

It was mere rumour yesterday, but now it is confirmed. Neil Gaiman has written a Doctor Who episode!!!!!

http://www.sfx.co.uk/page/sfx?entry=exclusive_neil_gaiman_confirms_doctor

More Being Human Excitement

It just makes me sick with jealousy to think how well written Being Human is. I'd venture to say it's better written than almost anything on TV right now, it's certainly better written than Doctor Who, which almost feels a blasphemous thing to say.

One thing is how the pace of the script can switch in a moment from being very funny to being deeply dark, last night for example we saw George being a pedant as usual, correcting some grammatical errors in abuse written about him in the college toilets and then a few seconds later it all goes a bit Tarantino. And last week it worked the other way, Mitchell coming in from his troubles with the rest of the vampires, looking like you'd expect something very dark to happen and then launching into a rant about his favourite TV show not being on at the right time.

That might sound contrived, but it works, this is what Being Human is about, 'supernaturals' trying to live normal lives and the conflicts they have to get over.

Now the series is halfway through I can't see where it's going to end up. We have what look like some religious fundamentalists gunning for them, and it seems Mitchell in particular. Then there are George's relationship problems - is he going to look for Nina? What's so special about Annie, and will she manage to avoid the Door? Will Mitchell succeed at managing all those vampires? In a way, I hope he won't, because some of the best parts of the first series were when he was trying to interact with the 'normal' world and I'd like more of that, please.

One thing's for sure, there's that much packed into every episode, you keep feeling like you need to watch each one over again afterwards, and that's no problem at all because it's just so enjoyable.

22nd Jan, 2010

This story about a nurse being found strangled to death in her car chilled me because it's just up the lane from where my nan lived and I spent half my childhood:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245334/Nurse-dead-crashed-car-strangled.html

http://www.southportforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50419126

The only thing that ever happens round there is someone ending up in one of the deep ditches when they can't handle the narrow, bumpy roads. It's a very dark and lonely place at night though, below sea level, flat and very little around.

I'm a little shocked at some shoddy journalism though. Wyke Cop is nowhere near the Martin Mere reserve, that's about six or seven miles away across the moss, and the Look North West news presenter mispronounced every name. It doesn't take much to respect the dead and research facts does it?

People Are Hell

What is it with women and being rude in clothes shops? I'd been trying to look at the shoes in one shop every time I went in after Christmas and could never get near them, but on Monday I went in and there was nobody near the shoes for once! I was able to park Alfie's pram by a mirror (so he could entertain himself pulling faces) and browse. Then while I was looking at some boots, another woman appeared and just reached across me, almost smashing me in the head with some shoes. Why?

Then today I was looking down a sale rail, going along methodically and inevitably, another woman started rifling through in a manic way, pushing things towards my end of the rail forcibly, so I almost had my fingers crushed by the hangers. In Boots, a gang of yummy mummies came and occupied a whole aisle in a gang for ten minutes so nobody else could look at the sale items there while they oohed and aahed, and then bought nowt.

Later I was looking at a jewellery rack and a woman appeared and then crouched down in front of it with her bags everywhere so you couldn't get to half of it. After a while I wandered off to look at other stuff hoping she would be finished, but no, fifteen minutes later she was still there! Maybe she was hoping the rings would turn into eagles or something the more she poked at them? She took about twenty items off this display and then dumped the majority of it at the end of the till counter and only bought two things! And signed up for a store card to pay the grand sum of five pounds.

I have to be fair though, trying to get a copy of SFX magazine in WH Smiths is pure hell because of all the blokes who spend their entire lunch breaks stood in front of the shelves perusing one magazine like the shop is in fact a library.

Gates Of Destiny

OK so when I went into work this morning, the front door was still broken, and when I went out to Greggs it was still broken, and the same when I came back. So I automatically went out of the side door when I left and walked staright into the massive gates on the tunnel, which were shut. So I wasn't that much of a plonker, really.

If I was one of the security guards though, I'd be thinking about setting up a special YouTube site of people doing silly things around Government buildings...

And why is it, that when you get into a lift and let out some sprouty gas with guilty relief (and actually, having a sense of manners not to inflict it on your colleagues!), thinking you have a nice ride to the ground floor in solitude, someone ALWAYS stops the lift on the next floor, and you can't blame your mishap on anyone?!

Too Drunk To Look

1. Our front door at work is roped off with police tape. Apparently it's knackered because on Friday night some drunk bloke tried to headbutt his way through them and wrecked them. The security guard pooped his pants, thinking it was a terrorist wanting to blow up a vast brick built mountain of years of pen pushers' work. That last bit was my imagining, except he really did think he was a terrorist. Apparently the bloke wanted to get to London Road on the other side without walking round the outside of the building and didn't see it was a closed glass door.

2. I have this idea for making a necklace, after seeing one I loved in a shop and deciding £20 was too much to pay for something which was essentially just a chain and ribbon with little rings covered in various fabrics strung onto it. All I need are some plastic rings from the tops of drink bottles, glue and assorted ribbon and fabric scraps and I can make my own in colours of my own choosing. I went to get some glue on my way home and then missed the bus. So I hailed a cab, except it was a taxi this man had booked, so I jumped out again laughing at how embarrassing this was.

The necklace I saw was like this one but nicer because it had many more fabric rings on it:
http://www.monsoon.co.uk/invt/68267084

Oh Being Human

Sorry, but I must have a fannish moment and squeal about just how good the second series of Being Human already is.

The world is utterly saturated with vampire drama at the moment, but this really is something different. Three 'people' sharing a flat who happen to be a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire, all trying desperately to deny their natures and be human. A completely different take to the other currently popular dramas on a similar theme. All bundled up with a cracking sense of humour and moments of utter horror just dropped in when you least expect them. And three very cool actors in the lead roles, plus for this series a whole lot of new, sinister characters, if it was possible for any character to be more sinister than Herrick in the first series!

Excuse me my fannish joy over this, but it's very close to Doctor Who to being my favourite thing on TV.

And of course, I'm hoping someone will be making action figures soon!

The official website, in case you fancy joining in the geek out:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/beinghuman/

Baked Alaska

I'm loving the weird sculptural shapes the snow is making of everything. Our street is like the topping on a Christmas Cake, all peaky and white. They gritted about five minutes before the blizzard began this morning, and though a few 4x4s have gone up and down as usual (it's on their 'circuit' owing to the testing gradient) it's not done much to grind in the grit. Since then a bunch of teenage lads were happily bombing down it on improvised sleds, so it's now as slippery as the Cresta Run.

I also like the mountain of snow on the pavement. The lass next door scraped all the snow off their drive and the pavement in front and piled it all in front of her own house, so she struggled to get back inside! That made me laugh, a real D'OH moment.

But it'll be no work for me again tomorrow. This continues to stress me more than it should. It's because despite where I live, on a massive hill, I always used to make the effort to get in to work during snow, I'd just put on boots and walk to town down the middle of the road. But now I can't because it'd be evil to make Alfie go in his pram in this, one slip and his pram would be at the foot of the hill or worse. So I always feel stress at having to explain to people why I can't go out of the house! If it was just 'me' I had to get to work then it'd be OK, but it's not just 'me'. I hate this and can't deal with the guilt but I ought to just accept it really. I suppose half of it is all the bitching in the media about people who cannot walk 10 miles in snow to work somehow being inadequate. Usually written by owners of 4x4s...