Foetus apple cores and six-fingered hands. Excellent.

Foetus apple cores and six-fingered hands. Excellent.

Right, as I maybe mentioned another time, I NEVER watch whole series of things. Just NEVER. In fact I make a point of deliberately NOT watching something if I know it’s part of a series. Things like The Sopranos, Lost, Desperate Housewives, 24 etc. have all been shunned by myself.

 However, I decided to watch the pilot episode of ‘Fringe’ on SKY at the tail end of last year (cos it looked quite intriguing) and that was me hooked.

See him third from the right? He's dead - but yet somehow not dead...

See him third from the right? He's dead - but yet somehow not dead...

For the uninitiated it’s by JJ Abrams (creator of Lost and the movie ‘Cloverfield’) and it’s about agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv – nah, never heard of her before either) of the FBI and her investigation of weird ‘happenings’. Events, which it is gradually emerging, are all linked to a possible end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario.

It’s a bit X-Files’ish but obviously far more technologically advanced and with a bigger budget. Each episode has it’s own self-contained plot but the on-going story lines also unfold as you go along. It’s also excellently gruesome. Previous episodes have included a computer programme that makes you vomit out your own brain, people on a plane having their flesh melt off, a virus that seals up the body’s orifices and some kind of genetic mutator that turns a human into a giant, jaggy, gorilla-dog. It actually has everything you could want from a series really; Fit looking lead actress, Pacey from Dawson’s Creek, will they/won’t they relationship, eccentric older character, evil multi-national super corporation led by shadowy CEO that you never see, folk getting chopped in half, guns, the abuse of science and technology, aliens, cliffhangers, a cow and a right annoying FBI guy that you just want to batter.

I’m kind of devastated, in a way, for having started watching it because judging from recent episodes it’s going to get increasingly complex and baffling and will likely go on and on for about 12 seasons so I’ll now need to make sure I never miss it.

Aye that's him from Dawson's Creek on the left.

Aye that's him from Dawson's Creek on the left.

So I urge anyone with SKY to give it a wee try and see what you think. If you like it I’ll give you a summary of the larger story arc so that you’re not too confused. Cos you might be. Well, actually there’s no might about it. I missed one episode and I’m still trying to fill in the gaps.

SKY1, Sundays, 10.00pm.



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Waiting For Godot.


Steve and I were lucky enough on Wednesday to get the chance to see the latest production of  Samuel Beckett’s  ‘Waiting for Godot’, starring Sir Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup.

We went to the matinee at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh (looked like a full house from where we were sitting) and it was a wonderful experience. Quite apart from the acting which was exquisite, the actual production itself was fabulous. The set created just the right atmosphere of decay and the ravages of time and the lighting was beautifully executed. The play itself is very dense and full of symbolism and as Beckett himself said, totally open to the interpretation of the viewer as to what it’s actually about. For me it had the feeling of how easy it is to just let yourself drift from one day to the next to the point where you lose track of when or even if something actually happened. Very poignant.

We didn’t do the fan thing of waiting behind for autographs (although I understand the actors have been very accomodating in this respect). Maybe if we hadn’t had 3 kids and granny waiting for us at home we might have hung about for a bit – I love all the actors who were involved so it would have been exciting to meet them but never mind.

On a side note, I see Patrick Stewart was in the paper yesterday after a ‘fan’ got in his face with a camera (this same person tried to photograph the actors onstage). Patrick gave him a severe leathering and rightly so.


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Appparently there is some new legislation coming into force which will make it illegal to pay for sex with someone who is being controlled by someone else for their financial gain. This is supposedly to stop people trafficking in sex-workers and detaining people against their will in order to force them to work as prostitutes. I’m not sure how prosecuting the punters will get to the pimps though, from what I can gather they seem to be a very secretive lot and the women who work for them are too terrified of reprisals to give any evidence against them anyway.

Should prostitution be regulated in this country as it is in many other Western countries? Legalising brothels would at least offer sex-workers some protection from violent, dangerous men and de-criminalise their activities but it wouldn’t protect those people who are forced to sell their bodies against their will. I can’t imagine the horror of being forced to endure every kind of degraded sexual act imaginable and having no prospect of it ever ending.

Let’s brainstrom this and then send our ideas to the Home Office.


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The police

Evenin' all....

Evenin' all....

Many people will be aware of this story about a guy who got caught up in the G20 protests and ended up having a fatal heart attack.

Now I’ve been a law-abiding citizen all my life so have had relatively little contact with the police and never as their prey but I’m sad to say that most of my encounters with them have been very unsettling. They seem to adopt a personality not unlike Jeremy Paxman, firing questions at you in an aggressive tone and giving you the evil eye. They call you ‘madam’ in a way that sounds like ‘bitch’ and you know they’re just itching for you to put a toe out of line so they have an excuse to charge you with something. Anything.

Years ago when we lived in Glasgow we found this poor guy one night that had been slashed and robbed. He was going into shock so we asked him his name, address etc. and wrote them down (before he totally lost the plot).  By the time the police arrived it was very obvious that the guy was out of it and semi-conscious but they immediately started shouting at him, asking him his name and so on. When we tried to tell them that we’d got it all written down they told us to be quiet and not interrupt them, then they started yelling at him again. We tried again to give them the paper with all his details on it and they told us to go away or we’d be cautioned for interfering with police business!!!! So instead of them being able to contact his family right away and get his medical records if necessary, they probably had to wait until he’d recovered enough to talk. That incident really opened my eyes to the way some police officers get affected by themselves and I’ve never felt comfortable dealing with them since then.

Also, they are great believers in ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’. I got an ear bashing for double parking outside the cash machine near my work then the next day the VERY SAME policeman that had checked me was double parked HIMSELF and using the same machine.

I mean I know we need a police force otherwise there would be total anarchy but I think they need to be far more strictly monitored and more accountable for their actions.

And God help us if they get guns.


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Madonna and motherhood

So it appears that there is at least one person on the planet who is prepared to tell Madonna that she can’t have something she wants. Despite the expectation that all would go smoothly for Madge, Judge Esme Chondo yesterday ruled that the great one could not adopt 4 year-old Malawian orphan, Mercy James and remove her to New York.

Judge Chondo. 'I am the law'

Judge Chondo. 'I am the law'

I have mixed feelings about the current celebrity craze for adopting third-world orphans. On one hand it could be argued that they’re giving these children the chance to live their lives in privilege and comfort and theoretically look forward to a long life expectancy. On the other hand though, these celebrities often reveal themselves to be shallow dabblers in all areas of their lives, constantly finding something new before tiring of it and handing it off to their millions of wannabes and moving on. Celebrities are able to indulge their every whim so it’s inevitable that their boredom thresholds get so low that only the most outlandish diversions are able to satisfy them. And children are NOT toys.

I’ve read several hair-raising articles from sources allegedly ‘close’ to the inner sanctum of the Madonna household and had I been Judge Chondo these alone would have been enough to convince me that she should be kept at least a continent away from any orphans in future.

As some people may be aware, I have 3 children of my own. A 9 year old, a 4 year old and my little 9 month old girly. Yesterday morning David (#1) was struck down with a very nasty stomach bug. His brother Stu had the beginnings of a cold and so did Ava. When Stu gets the cold he also throws up cos his temperature goes through the roof. So I spent the entire day shuttling between the toilet, the bedroom (where David was)  and the living room (where Stu was). If I cleaned up the toilet once, I cleaned it 20 times. In between dispensing cuddles, water, Calpol, wet face-cloths and clean jammies, I had to feed and change Ava (who was girny), change their beds, tidy up dishes etc. and just generally keep on top of things. Then last-night I had the boys in bed with me so I could keep and eye on them. The night was punctuated by visits to the toilet to throw-up, re-settling the crabbit baby whose nose was completely bunged up, adminstering Calpol and drinks and trying to prevent David (who was a bit delirious) from wandering off downstairs cos he was imagining he could ‘hear a burglar in the house’.

This morning I feel like I’ve been beaten around the face and body with a 3 foot length of scaffolding pole. My eyes would give Keith Richards’ a run for their money and my brain is operating on Windows 95 instead of Vista.

HOWEVER, I love it.

I love all the bits about being a mother, good and bad and that’s what bothers me about Madonna. Can you really see her crouched on the bathroom floor holding a little one’s hand  and stroking their wee tear-stained face while he/she has yet another episode of agonising diarrhoea? Or cleaning a hysterical, vomit encrusted 4 year-old at 3 in the morning? Or mopping up poo from the carpet cos they were on their way to the loo and ran out of time? Or sitting up all night with a feverish child snuggled into each side of her in bed, trying not to move so they don’t get disturbed? From what I can gather (and clearly not all that you read in the press is true) she has nannies/assistants/flunkies to attend to almost all the normal duties of a mum. Taking them sledging, nanny’s job. Dancing lessons, nanny’s job, Teaching them to swim, nanny’s job.

She seems very rigid when it comes to controlling what goes into their bodies and their minds but perhaps a wee cuddle and a bit of fun now and then would be more beneficial for her kids than having her floating around parties and acting like a teenager. I’m a bit mystified as to why she feels the need to bring another child into her family when the ones that she already has are raised primarily by other people.

Well, anyway. I’m glad the judge said no and I wish it would make her take a wee reality check into exactly the type of mother she is but somehow I doubt that her gargantuan ego will allow that.


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Twitter is killing blogging. Fact.

Twitter is killing blogging. Fact.

I gave in and joined cos no-one posts on their blogs anymore and I’m lonely. I didn’t want to because I always sneered at it but it is very addictive once you start (bastard). I’ll still post here too cos I’m verbose and like the sound of my own voice.

I’m if anyone wants to come and have a nosey.


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The view from my window. Well, kind of.

The view from my window. Well, kind of. Well, that's how I see it...

As anyone who knows me will confirm, I dislike being outside. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of ‘outside’, as an abstract concept it sounds pleasant enough. Fresh air, sunlight, the beauty of nature in all its magnificence. However, this time of year is a nightmare for me because the weather is getting better and the days are stretching, so I’m under tremendous pressure to drag my pale carcass out of the house. I know loads of people who LOVE ‘outside’. My Dad gets cranky and psychotic if he can’t get out at least once every other day. He favours interminable bracing walks over rough terrain (think Bataan Death March only without the humidity). Walks which seem to have no actual destination, just walking for walking’s sake. He thinks 6 miles is a ‘wee stroll’.

My problem with ‘outside’ is that it’s not cushy enough. It’s dirty. There’s no coffee. If it’s windy my ears get cold, if it’s damp my hair goes frizzy. There’s nowhere to sit and there’s nothing to do. And regardless of the season, it’s never, EVER warm enough. Except when it’s TOO warm which is all the times when it’s not too COLD.

In the summer I HAVE been known to venture out onto the decking armed with coffee, sunglasses and a book (provided the temperature is between 20 and 22 degrees and there is absolutely, positively NOT ONE BREATH of wind).  As long as all I have to do is sit on a chair or lie on a sunlounger, ‘outside’ and I can co-exist quite peacefully for a few hours. Oh, and barbecues. I quite like barbecues – but that’s probably just because there’s food involved.

Aside from the aforementioned occasions, I prefer to enjoy outside from the comfort of inside. I liken it to the way you would view paintings in a gallery; savouring the spectacle, glass in hand, from the luxury of a soft and squishy chair. My only exception to this rule, bizarrely, is EXTREME weather. I love thunderstorms, howling gales, torrential rain, hailstones, tornadoes (OK the last one was a lie). The only thing guaranteed to get me running out of the house (aside from the smoke alarm) is the sound of the heavens opening.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is cat and vampire somewhere in my genetic code. Roll on winter again.


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