Marks and Sparks my word

I’ve written about the sad slow demise of the high street before now and another big name tumbled recently with the collapse of Jamie’s Italian restaurant chain. I really liked it when it opened because I am a bit of a fan of Jamie Oliver’s recipes and of course anything that celebrates great simple Italian cooking is fine by me. That was when he had just one or two restaurants and the menu was delightfully different and the wines tasty and the prices about right. Then before you could say ‘turkey twizzlers’ he’d gone and opened restaurants all over the place. The exclusivity had gone. And I can remember telling Carol whilst sat in a Jamie’s Italian in the beautifully evocative Tuscan-like setting of Milton Keynes shopping centre that I thought the helpings were become less and less substantial whilst prices were becoming alarming high. Crucially in the rush to expand, the Italian-ness had just disappeared. And the place was half empty. That was at least 2-3 years ago and I forecast then that the chain wouldn’t survive and, no surprise, that was our last visit. Hey ho, I say this without any pleasure at all.

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Rumours

I read an interesting article today in the i newspaper sports section. It posed the question, what have these names got in common…

Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Ruben Dias, Bruno Fernandes, Gelson Fernandes, Kalidou Kalibahy, Nicolas Pepe, Adrien Rabot, Saul Niguez, Christian Eriksen, Kieran Trippier, Jan Obiak, Matthijs de Ligt, Paulo Dybala, Daniel James, Idrissa Gueye, Philippe Coutinho, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Wilfried Zaha, Thomas Meunier, Mauro Icardi, Moussa Dembele, Ben Godfrey, Nikola Milenkovic, Harry Maguire, Aaron Was-Bissaka, Patrick van Aanholt, Jadon Sancho, Gareth Bale, Toby Alderweireld, Joao Felix, Declan Rice, David Neres Campos, Kostas Manolas, Hakim Ziyech, Joao Cancelo, Marcos Llorente, Toni Kroos, Raphael Varane, Youro Tielemans, Robert Lewandowski, James Rodriguez, Keylor Navas, Lika Jovic, Jordan Pickford, Juande Ramos, Jack Grealish, Giovani lo Celso, Gianluigi Donnarumma and no doubt several others?

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Getting away from it all

Just look at this view, stunning eh. When I was back working for BT I used to drive to and from work in London and I’d spend nearly 5 hours a day on the road. When it came to time off I’d yearn to go places to get away from it all but mostly away from the car and roads and traffic. Places just like the scene above in fact – wandering round the lakes, on the moors, in the dales etc. Ah the peace and tranquility eh.

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Guess who’s not coming to dinner?

Well it’s been an interesting week on the political front. That damned decision to have a referendum on the EU has cost us yet another Prime Minister and now we face the very realistic prospect that our next head of Government could be one of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove or Jeremy Hunt. It’s not much of a choice is it, choosing between a conceited buffoon with a laughable hairstyle, a double-dealing snake with the brain of a dipstick or an under-delivering smug little shit? What a bloody fiasco. The only saving grace is that if we lived in America our leader would possess all of these traits – and more. Yes this posting’s really about the Donald, his ridiculous plans and actions, that hair and his unlikeability.  And he’s heading to the UK on his first state visit very soon. Oh lawd.

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Trying too hard to Take That

Another posting about tv – this ones all about Suzuki cars’ newest marketing partnership. They have a long-standing sponsorship association with ITV Saturday night entertainment programmes or, put more simply, shows featuring the ubiquitous Ant & Dec. And to back it up they formed an advertising link up with the duo themselves showing them driving around in their cars meeting fans etc for use as break bumper ads around the lads’ shows. I always thought that was pretty lazy thinking. Why target the same audience twice? But all that changed when Ant only went and crashed his actual car (not a Suzuki) whilst pissed and his addictions became public knowledge. Hence a year out of the public eye recovering at the Priory, which kind of created an Ant-sized hole in the Suzuki partnership strategy.

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I bloody knew it

It seems only fitting that on the day that ITV announce that the Jeremy Kyle show has been cancelled for good, I should do a posting about television – specifically ‘factual’ series and the rather odd role that reality and truth play in their production sometimes.

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Losing it

Well hello dear readers, long time no post. Sorry about that. I thought being retired would give me oodles of time for writing but somehow the days get filled up. Anyway it’s nice to be back on the blogosphere. I’ve missed so much I could have commented on – the saga over Brexit (but now it’s just too dispiriting), the fabulous football scene (though right now being a Man United fan is, well, bloody dispiriting too), that dipstick Danny Baker (but some redneck radio station will hire him no matter what I say – it’s got to be Talksport hasn’t it?). No I’ve missed all the big juicy and newsworthy story lines so I’ll just talk about myself for a change.

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