Guest Blogging Dream Team: Competition Result

(Posted by Ben)

So, decision time…

Four excellent suggestions, all of whom are potentially brilliant bloggers, but only one winner…

Is it to be Julie Burchill (Alan’s choice, after some deliberation)?

Or Lily Savage (Miss Mish)?

Or Christopher Isherwood (la Byd)?

Or Dorothy Parker (Paul)?

How to choose between them? Oh well, here goes…

For the sake of the team dynamic, I’m inclined to go for another woman, which rules Isherwood out – sorry la Byd.

Lily Savage and Aunt Cyn would certainly get on famously, but I can imagine them forming something of a hareem – guzzling cooking sherry together and taking great pleasure in tweaking D H Lawrence’s beard and upsetting Alan Bennett with all manner of lurid suggestions. Perhaps not the best appointment in the interests of team morale – sorry Mish.

Which leaves Dorothy Parker and Julie Burchill. Cynicism and bitchiness v plain bitchiness. Though cynicism is a trait I admire, with the likes of Lawrence, Morrissey and Will Self already onboard, choosing Dorothy Parker could be overkill – sorry Paul.

So, the seventh member of the Guest Blogging Dream Team is Julie Burchill – congratulations to Alan! A copy of Will Self’s ‘How The Dead Live’ is yours to treasure.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the competition – and to everyone who read the posts.

In Which I Am Amused

(posted by Miss Mish)

Last night, I heard a tiny news item on R4 concerning Alton Towers. No, not the sister-mansion of T-D Towers, but the amusement park here in the East Midlands.

It appears that a couple living near-by have made an official complaint about the noise and Alton Towers now has to Do Something About It.

Now this has left me with a couple of surreal images. One, of the couple in their pajamas attempting to get an early night, whizzing round to bang on the windows and shout: “Will you keep the noise down in there!” The other, of a crack team of librarians being bussed in to police the park, being placed on the roller coaster and turning round to sternly say: “Shh!” when people start screaming at the top…..

Nottingham Vignettes – Part 4

(posted by Alan)


It appears that I’ve been missing out on a little treasure when it comes to Nottingham despite it being within spitting distance of the Broadway Cinema and the Lord Roberts, both places I frequent a lot, especially the latter.

It may be small and cosy, but George’s bar can certainly fit a lot of people in as Saturday night turns into Sunday morning. The décor is an eclectic collection of objects lovingly collected by George in the 11 years that she’s owned the place. Small Christmas lights festoon the drinks in the bar area, Barbie and Ken dolls make love to the Vodka bottles, Ken bonks Ken, pictures of long dead movie stars and Ethel Merman dot the place. A ‘Frida Kahlo’ portrait of George looks down over everyone. And Ethel Merman belts out her disco songs.

George, herself, is quite mad but completely engaged in everything that is going on and with everyone there. But, later, when there is a sudden influx of people just before official closing time and the glasses have reached a stage where they need to be recycled, the wheels come off and chaos reigns – several customers offer to wash glasses, others clear tables and order is restored after George has told the newcomers, in no uncertain terms, to leave. Those left behind, settle down, knowing that they can stay until George runs out of drink. Her customers, just like her décor, are an eclectic bunch that encompasses all ages, all genders, all sexual persuasions and the rest. And, as Mish said, ‘They are so much better-dressed than the crowd you find at the Lord Roberts, darling!’ Well, not only that, they make for a much more interesting bunch too.

And this is the place where I first meet the fabulous Mish and her bearded friend R. Mish, I’m sure, is always a picture of loveliness but I was most taken by her sitting there, swathed in pink, cigarette smoke curling up from her cigarette-holder, and a glass of wine in hand. Unfortunately, having arrived late, I didn’t get to see her wearing her hat but it was there, next to her pink handbag with its subtly protruding nipples. Mish ordered me a gin and tonic and we began to talk and drink. Drink and talk, talk and drink…Some time later, R left to go to Rock City and Mish and I drank and talked and drank and talked and…

At some point the Australian cello player that I’d spent the night with before entered the bar and sat down behind us with a friend – I was glad to see that he smiled very happily when he saw me. Some time later, it appeared that he was really very happy to see me – I do so love feeling liked and wanted! Next, a Scotsman that I’ve known a while arrived with two of his friends. I chatted to them for a bit but they didn’t stay long. Mish and I joined the cello player , his friend and the lovely young man that Mish later took an enthusiastic shine to. Later, just Mish, George, lovely young man and myself were left, still talking and drinking.

I was ready to sit there all night but several text messages from the Scotsman got me into NG1 just as last entries were going in at 1.45.

Only two days to go until Wednesday and I’ll be there again. This time, Ben and Buni will join us.

In Which I Have Lost Something*

(posted by Miss Mish)

Now just a minute, just a minute. I distinctly remember there being a weekend around here somewhere. I just took my eye off it for a second and it has vanished.

I remember seeing the new Woody Allen film with The Husband on Friday night. Not a classic Woody, but ticks all the right boxes, well told and for once you don’t get the embarrassing sight of Woody dating a gorgeous woman 30 years his junior (unlike his real life). Then we had dinner together and were tucked up in bed by midnight.

On Saturday I remember reading the papers, doing the laundry and then getting ready to go out to meet one of my fellow blog-sitters. The Lovely Alan turned up and we talked and drank and talked and drank anddrankanddrank and managed to stop in time before we fell over. We met lots of other people too and I distinctly remember kissing a young man rather enthusiastically after Alan had left but it all seems to have happened in an hour or two.

Sunday I remember doing nothing but reading the papers and cooking dinner (and thinking about that charming young man a little guiltily) and then before you know it, I’m back at my desk again!

So come on, which of you lot nicked my weekend?

* I also appear to have left my mobile in the bar, my lipstick in the ladies and my reputation down the back of that comfy sofa in George’s. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

In Which I Have a Pleasant Interlude

(posted by Miss Mish)

One of the joys about Nottingham is it is so green. Mostly hidden I grant you but you can always find somewhere to sit and read in the sun. We have the manicured green sward of the Market square, The Arboretum, the university boating lake and, moving further out, parks  and green spaces  just off the centre of town.

I work in a large Government building on Talbot Street. Just up from Theatre Square in fact, so almost the centre of town. Perched on top of a car park it may be, but  surrounded by terraces with flowerbeds and picnic tables (we civil servants like to get away from the grey after all). At the moment the lavender is in full flower  and it really is a lovely place to get away from the desk for an hour or so.  At 1pm today, I took my lunch and my book and sat outside in the sun,  luxuriating in the heat and the stillness of the air.   The city was almost inaudible apart from the muted clang of the trams. In the still of the heat haze,  I hear a scrabbling and a skittering on the brickwork. I slowly look up, just in time to see a large fox,  jumping from a jumble of rhododendron in the middle of the largest flowerbed. He stretches, yawns and lazily scratches himself and I stay completely still. He turns round, sees me and freezes. And seems almost embarrassed by being caught out. For a full ten seconds neither of us dares to move or drop our locked eyes.

Then he’s off again. Busy, busy, busy and I go back to the hurly-burly of the office.

Hanging out the Laundry at the George

(posted by Alan)

Four of us have managed to agree to meeting up at the George on Wednesday (4 Aug) – just Nixon left to convince that he’ll be missing out on the social event of August.

In honour of the occasion, I’ll be having a haircut this afternoon and curtailing my drinking money this weekend.