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EDGE

the ISSUE NO: 183

www.theedgemag.co.uk

‘THE CHELMSFORD FANZINE’

The Edge Chelmsford CM2 6XD

Telephone 01245 348256

JANUARY 2012

Mobile: 077 646 797 44


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And the question is, what is the primary advantage of rotary-winged aircraft over fixed-winged aircraft? OMG, what an appalling start to 2012 The Edge has made, as it’s New Year’s Resolution was not to be so damned infuriatingly sexist in future. “Drat, double-drat and triple-drat, Mutley.”

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with those bitches for five minutes, and I’m awfully glad I did. One of them said, “I hope 2012 turns out to be the year of being nice,” and as soppy as it sounds, I thought, ‘Yeah. What the hell’s wrong with being nice to each other?’ Which means a whole host of people are going to have to change their ways. Only they won’t. They won’t because they’re too dumb to understand that actually being ‘nice’ is not a sign of weakness.

BRUSSELS

The Edge Editor’s Column LOVE IT

I absolutely love it when the Chelmsford Weekly News comes through my letterbox with all of those leaflets inside it, which immediately go into the (recycling) bin, totally unread. Farmfoods, Aldi and Asda, please take note that you are wasting your bleedin’ money.

WASTE

Speaking of Recycling Bins, my God, it’s gone absolutely mental, hasn’t it? What with that latest ickle baby one called a Kitchen Caddy. How much more separating of waste materials is it possible to do, do you think? And could it eventually spread from the kitchen into the bathroom?

IT’S NICE TO BE NICE

I’ve just broken off for a bowl of Tomato Soup, flicked the TV on to catch the lunchtime news, only those Loose Women were on, so I stuck

JANUARY

The wife took me on a surprise pre-Crimbo day trip to Brussels and it was a blinkin’ surprise too as we’d been on the Eurostar from Ebbsfleet for fully 15 minutes before I realised we weren’t actually going to Bruges (boo!), which is miles better, right, readers? Or did I just catch Brussels on a perishingly cold, grey and drab day? Nope, I don’t think I did. Brussels is pants and that’s now official.

GIRAFFE

Stuck my neck out and ate at Giraffe (bum bum) the other evening. Frank and honest, as ever, appraisal on page 16 this month, folks.

THIS IS ENGLAND ’88

Shown in December as the 3 programme follow up to This Is England ’86, this is what I’d call TV drama. It’s gritty. It’s raw. It’s real. So do try and get it on REPLAY if you missed it.

SHALLOW

How can you be so shallow, yet still end up drowning? Flailing. Splashing about in but two feet of the mire. Dishing it out. Drinking it in. Sinking. Failing. Going down.

VIETNAM

Watched, for the second time (as it was recently repeated), that episode of Top Gear where ‘the boys’ (isn’t it great that middle-aged men can sometimes still get referred to as ‘boys’ doing ‘boy type things’, where as middle-aged women simply get called just that?) went to Vietnam and covered 700 miles from the south to the north on old scooters/motorcycles. That has surely got to be one of the best Top Gear’s ever, I’ve recorded it and am not going to delete it as that’s what I want to do; go to Vietnam for two weeks and scooter it from the south to the north, just like Clarkson, Hammond & May (which sounds like a firm of solicitors). So, please can I hear from any Edge readers who’ve been to Vietnam, particularly your ‘must do’ and ‘must not do’ experiences. Whenever I ask you lot for your help, you never ever fail me, so please, readers, I’d genuinely love to know of your Vietnamese experiences.

2012

I thought 2011 was going to be a good year because it had a number eleven in it and I like the number eleven and that’s about the extent of just how simple/daft I am. But was it? A good year? And will 2012 be better or worse? All I know for certain is that if we believe everything we read in the national press, then we might as well all top ourselves now. Thank God I got a machine that prints money for Christmas, readers. Plus a packet of seeds to plant a tree so’s I can grow my own money. Life is life. I guess the trick is to take control as much as is humanly possible. THE EDGE Chelmsford CM2 6XD 01245 348256 shaun@theedgemag.co.uk

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The Edge 01245 348256


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MORE Edge Outlets Required

One of the results that came out of a R.M.S. (right mini survey) The Edge carried out recently (i.e. Kingpin rang his Mum) was the fact that you readers seemingly want a greater choice of outlets to choose from where The Edge is readily available. Fine. If that’s the case, The Edge genuinely needs I.P.O. (interested prospective outlets) to put their best foot forward and present themselves as genuine distribution opportunities, and by that we mean you must be confident of shifting.....ooooh....a fair few mags on a daily basis at the least. Somewhere down Chelmsford High Street would be ideal, preferably in a shop/store doorway so that The Edge is protected from the elements (most notably RAIN, despite the fact we’re being told we haven’t actually had any for the past 12 blinkin’ months). Or what about the bottom end of Moulsham Street? Or near the railway station? Or inside the Odeon? (No, cancel that one as they don’t want anything to do with this particular publication in there!) As ever, The Edge is open to suggestions, so contact suggestions@theedgemag.co.uk NOW! That was a PUBLIC INFORMATION message brought to you by The Edge, Chelmsford’s unofficial fanzine and number one choice of the people blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

www.theedgemag.co.uk

EDGE’s NEW PIN-UP GIRL Here she is: Monica Galetti of TV’s Masterchef. And yep, without a shadow of a doubt, The Edge has got the definite hots for her. For starters (not to mention mains and dessert), she sounds (now put on a Bruno Tonioli voice and start rising up from your seat) “like a top of the range Alfa Romeo accelerating in third gear” (settle down, Bruno, lad)...and that’s just her name. OK, OK, so The Edge has seen better photographs of her than the one above, but she is most definitely cute, not to mention that snazzy ickle haircut suiting her completely. And hey, SHE CAN COOK! So surely the gorgeous Monica isn’t just The Edge’s (latest) Dream Girl, but potentially she’s every fella’s dream girl. Right, guys? Oh come on....don’t anyone DARE report that she’s a lesbian??? Having said that, when has such news ever daunted any shit-for-brained bloke? “Oh, I’ll show her what she’s been missing alright (grunt, grunt)” etc.

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WHAT THIS PICTURE SAYS TO THE EDGE...

“MOVEMBER is BRILLIANT!”

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OK, OK, so The Edge is a little late bringing this story to you, but just SHUT UP and read it anyway! This Movember thing is absolutely brilliant. The Edge really loves it and if only it could grow one as strong and vibrant as Merrick’s (the fella in the centre), then it’d have a bash with pleasure. Movember, if you’re not aware - and The Edge cannot believe that any of you aren’t - is all about gentlemen throughout the UK (and indeed the world) growing a set of handlebars during the month of November in order to help raise awareness and much needed funds for men’s health issues, in particular, prostate cancer. On 1st November, guys (known as Mo bros) register at Movember.com with a (note) clean shaven face and for the rest of the month cultivate a certain facial plumage just above their trap region. Meanwhile, there are also Mo sistas (aren’t the names superb?) who do not have to register photographic evidence of their shaven haven’s. No, no, no, no, no....Mo sistas register in support of the men in their lives, with many women clearly having more than one. Once again, no, no, no, no, no ....The Edge is not referring to ladies with loose morals and means their husbands and/or boyfriends and/or brothers and/or fathers etc. Dear me, readers, what disgusting minds you ’ave. So Chelmsford’s The Home Partnership got together with Duke Street’s Property Stop and The Mortgage Business in Brentwood, registered as The Tash Factor, then set about growing their mo’s. In all, the 14 man team managed to raise £2,795 which The Edge thinks is an absolutely first class effort. Meanwhile, worldwide, the whole Movember 2011 movement raised a really rather staggering £67, 627, 282 if the figures The Edge has been given are correct (if not, blame Scott, above right). What’s so great about this charity effort is that it looks so very much fun. Mo Bros in effect become walking talking advertising billboards throughout the 30 days of November with both their actions, various antics and words helping to promote public conversation concerning such an oft ignored, yet incredibly serious issue concerning men’s health. For more details see MOVEMBER.COM

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Even The Home Partnership’s Jo Williams managed to get in on the act by sprouting a few ‘lady whiskers’. shaun@theedgemag.co.uk


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Development Environment and Highways Policy and Scrutiny Committee. The objective of this Group is to ‘consider the most appropriate approach to the management of A-boards on the publicly maintainable highway’. They had been debating the issue for the best part of the year and were really nowhere nearer to a clear solution, partly due to the fact that they were trying to tackle the problem on a county-wide basis and what they believed to be a lack of clarity on the legislation front. They debated three possible policy options.

Zero Tolerance

Mick McDonagh Continued from last month...

Media Storm in a Teacup

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Naturally, the media were all over the story like a rash with sensationalist headlines such as ‘War on Street Signs to Shut Businesses’. This was from Darragh McDonagh (no ‘close’ relation) of the Connacht Sentinel. The article claims that the ban on A-boards would result in the closure of several businesses on the City’s side streets within a matter of weeks in the absence of an alternative advertising provision. Quoting the proprietor of a restaurant in Market Street, he said, “If the proposed law comes in, I’ll be out of business for certain.” However, the article concluded that things were getting out of hand and the City centre needed de-cluttering. This year, when I returned to my tribe once more and again passed through Galway City Centre, I am delighted to report that the Cityscape has indeed remained de-cluttered. There are designated areas for buskers, marked similar to London Underground. There are many more authorised external dining areas in front of cafes, restaurants and bars, but unlike Chelmsford, the large menu boards are within the demise of the designated areas. I am also delighted to report that the aforementioned proprietor of the restaurant in Market Street is still successfully plying his trade too, a year on!

Scrutiny Review

In September last year (2011), I was invited to a meeting of Essex County Council’s Safer and Stronger Communities Committee. This is a Task and Finish Group of the Economic

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The County Council claims that they do not have the resources to undertake enforcement that the zero tolerance option would create. Highway boundary checks would be required in order to clarify their jurisdiction; storage facilities needed for ceased A-boards, together with payment collection procedures for fines and penalties.

Licencing

A licencing procedure on the highways, whilst not unprecedented, would equally need to resource an enforcement and collection element, possibly on a daily basis, not forgetting that income from such a scheme can be self-financing.

Localism

This suggests a procedure whereby responsibility is devolved wholly to the Planning and Licencing functions of the Borough and District Councils. This enables individual areas to investigate the use of licencing within their remit to ensure traders adhere to good practice and seek to compromise wider public access requirements, taking account of local circumstances. In my opinion, a combination of all three options has merit. First of all, go in heavy, threatening the ‘Galway Method’, then offer a local licencing solution with strict guidelines on size and location of one A-board per business. This is my ‘carrot and stick solution’. First of all, beat them with the stick, then beat them with the carrot! The Committee cautions, however, that anyone that places an item on the highway is potentially liable to any person who suffers an injury caused by that item. Therefore, traders are advised to consider obtaining public liability indemnity insurance in the event of any claim. The Committee are currently researching best practice on this matter from towns and cities in other counties. A final decision is not expected until sometime this year. Meanwhile, the rest of us must persist in enduring the obstacle course.

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An unforgettable

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Lovely Ladies

These two lovely ladies - and The Edge does miss ’em - are Colette Day and Sue MacDonald of the Essex Acupuncture Room and they have recently been giving your editor a bit of the old electronic Acupuncture on that damned and blasted shoulder of mine that most stubbornly refuses to heal, and it’s been what.....nine sodding months now! In the west, acupuncture is still most commonly practiced privately, with one patient seeing one practitioner for around 45 minutes to an hour with prices varying from £30 to as much as £200 per treatment. Whilst the latter figure may be affordable for some, it certainly doesn’t make it accessible for all, as it is vital that any patient has treatment frequently enough and for long enough to not only get better, but stay better. So is there a way to provide acupuncture at an affordable price? The answer is ‘multi-bed’ or community acupuncture clinics where several people are treated together in one large room, hence the term. Non-NHS funded multi-bed clinics have been appearing in the UK only since 2003. However, in the Far East, it is normal practice to treat people together and many feel that it is a more authentic way to practice and receive acupuncture. As well as the reduced cost, an extra benefit of multi-bed clinics is the community spirit that emerges when several people are cared for in a shared space. Patients consistently report that they like the sense of togetherness and further to this an energy field is created when several people are treated all at the same time, which can certainly enhance the power of one’s healing experience, as in practicing Yoga or Tai Chi. Here in Chelmsford, we are lucky enough to have such a clinic (the first in this region) which has been set up and run by Colette and Sue, both registered acupuncturists, accredited by the British Acupuncture Council, who also offer the additional benefit of years of experience in midwifery and nursing. The aim of the clinic is to provide high quality, holistic treatments in a community setting at an affordable price.

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Traditional acupuncture treats the person, not the illness, and each person’s unique patterns will be assessed and taken into account when the acupuncture points are chosen. This means that there is always some way in which it can benefit any physical or emotional health problem. For more information on how acupuncture can help you, please contact Chelmsford (01245) 710017 www.essexacupunctureroom.co.uk Editor’s Note Acupuncture is sooooo relaxing that I actually nodded off a couple of occasions whilst I was having my electronic treatments, plus a heat lamp aimed at my shoulder. It was a truly wonderful experience. What’s more, I also concur with Sue’s editorial (above) about the feeling of togetherness by all being in one room together. One of the occasions I was there, a lady who literally looked fit to burst was having acupuncture to prepare herself for the delivery of her first child, which The Edge thought was both sweet and wholesome without really knowing very much about such practices at all. Do have fun getting there though (it’s the Chelmsford side of Writtle)! The Edge 01245 348256


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David Sherman’s

BEVERAGE REPORT CHELMSFORD WINTER BEER & CIDER FESTIVAL 1st - 4th February 2012 The Triangle Club, Essex County Council, Duke Street

150+ real ales including winter brews; also real cider & perry. Souvenir glass. Hot & cold food available all sessions. way

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malt. Those who share my love of Western-Isles whiskies will not be surprised to learn that this beer tasted of TCP. This is a welcome taste in spirit-strength products whose high alcohol content offsets in nicely, but in beer it simply suggests the presence of an infection. The fact is that the existence of a ‘fan-club’ for such businesses has created a confusion in the mind of the brewer. He has come to think of himself as an artist, not as an artisan. An adulatory audience waits with bated breath for his next great work, an innovation with no purpose beyond the basest act of crowdpleasing. Rather than engaging in the true manifestation of his craft, which is the repetition and the reinterpretation of a form, he produces ludicrously brain-spun beers which prove to be as tasteful as a Queen record and as subtle as a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. The misguided floridity of the conception is generally matched by the sheer incompetence of the execution. It’s a large-scale wrong-turn of gargantuan proportions, which sees huge numbers of British beer drinkers delighting in the destruction of everything they claim to love. This clique, however vocal, does not actually represent the intentions of CAMRA (although most of them are members of that organisation), nor do they comprise the majority of ale consumers in this country, so it’s time the rest of us stood up for the interests of the future of real ale. Here is a draught manifesto: We, as drinkers of traditional British beer, defend the founding aims of the Campaign for Real Ale, and wish to state the following: 1. That we are motivated by taste, not by technique. 2. That we loathe the majority of cask ale produced in this country and understand it fully. 3. That we consider golden ales to be horrible. 4. That we respect and find marvellous the beers of the traditional family brewers of Britain. 5. That those who show the greatest disrespect towards British beer are those who get worked up about technical matters, falsified by their incomprehension of intellectual brewers who blind them with science. We believe that they have done more damage than the national breweries of the 60s and 70s. 6. That we admire those who persevere with traditional brewing of bitter, mild, stout and porter. You thoughts, please. dpsherman@hotmail.co.uk

t al S Tind

The recent celebrations of the 40th anniversary of CAMRA resulted in the publication of some interesting views, courtesy of the four founding members.Much as I had predicted, several of them complained that, while they had no particular problems with the general direction of the organisation, they felt that a significant proportion of the membership had a misplaced sense of priorities. An excessive emphasis on beer festivals and lack of support for the pub was a common gripe. Obsession with technicalities of beer production and service over and above quality of product was another. The latter, in particular, struck a chord with me. There are hundreds of tiny breweries in the country these days, and, let’s face it, the vast majority of them are crap. Their beer is virtually undrinkable to anyone with a functioning set of tastebuds, and even if one manages to force the vile liquid down one’s neck, one often finds that a single pint of it produces one hell of a hangover the day after, so incompetent is the brewing. Frankly, you’d be better off with a pint of smoothflow, which does at least tend to be inoffensively bland rather than offensively offensive. Suggest this to any self-styled ale-lover, however, and he’ll look at you as if you’re mad. The small brewery product must be better - it’s cask-conditioned! The point these people are missing, of course, is that the founding fathers of CAMRA paid no heed whatsoever to whether or not the beer was ‘cask-conditioned’ - they didn’t know what that was! They protested against the mass-market products of their day because they were cold, fizzy and bland - in short, everything traditional British beer never was. Such new-fangled beers were forcing traditional products off the bar-tops of Britain, not by virtue of being more popular, but because they were cheaper to produce and forced into pubs by the controlling interest of breweries. For the modern-day drinker to sing the praises of patently disgusting beer simply because it conforms to a technical distinction is idiotic and self-defeating. The entire concept of ‘traditional beer’ has, of course, been lost amid a gadarene rush towards the wildest realms of experimentation. For example, I recently received a free bottle of beer from a notable East Anglian brewery. The alleged attraction of this product was that it had been brewed with peat-smoked

valentine’s dinner - £32.95 per person including a glass of champagne valentine’s brunch available on feb 11 & 12th, £15 per person Loch Fyne Restaurant 109-111 Bond Street, Chelmsford. Tel: 01245 293620. chelmsford@lochfyne.net. www.lochfyne.com

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Trees Landscaping Paving

H ghwood Landscapes & Purrfect Paving

To WIN 2 TICKETS to see Crack’d Mirror at the ‘LIVE’ ENTERTAINMENT EVERY SATURDAY EVENING Cramphorn Theatre THROUGHOUT DECEMBER! on 26th January simply email artsmarketing@chelmsford.gov.uk and state how many ‘FRINGE’ awards Monkey Poet has won (the answer is on page 24, folks, and you’d be daft to miss this show!)

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BRISTOL

Why doesn’t Chelmsford have an L.S.,B. (large silver ball) in its town centre like Bristol does in its Millennium Square? Just a thought. Anyway, your editor has often harped on within these very pages about wanting an alternative weekend getaway destination, other than Corfe Caste and Swanage which it is forever visiting, but have any of you ever come forward to offer up any suggestions? Have you buggery. Until, that is, The Edge’s very own colonist Steve Ward happened to mention Bristol to me. Now Steve’s a former Chelmsford lad who now lives up in London within spitting distance of St. Paul’s Cathedral, as it happens. So it’s definitely fair to say that he enjoys city life, with Bristol seemingly being his favourite ‘second city’. OK, so it’s a two-and-a-half hour drive to Bristol from Chelmsford with Mrs Edge and I opting to hole up for a couple of nights in a cracking room (ask for 128, 228 or 328) at the Bristol City Centre (King Street) Premier Inn for £49:00 per night (but Wardo definitely pays double that wherever he stays). If you get there on a Saturday morning, do take his advice, as did we, and head for the Harbourside and the Watershed in particular, where you can snack/graze, drink alcohol in adult surroundings and generally just chill out after your journey. Watershed even has it’s own 3-screen cinema, so we plumped for The Deep Blue Sea starring Rachel Weisz, which was truly the most mind-numbingly boring film I have ever seen in my entire life. However, on the plus side, it really is a cracking little cinema and the seats were very comfortable, so I took the opportunity to have an ickle snooze. So far as shopping is concerned, the old shopping centre certainly isn’t much to write home about, which we had a little peek at. However, the relatively new Cabot Circus is probably much more like it - though we missed it completely - as is home to both House of Fraser and Harvey Nicks. For our first evening, we’d already taken Wardo’s advice and pre-booked a table at Severnshed (there’s an awful lot of ‘sheds’ in the names of places at Bristol) and if you like your restaurants to be fairly lively with good food and wine, then you won’t go far wrong there. What was also handy was that it too was situated on the Harbourside, which was but a short walk from our digs, so no taxis necessary all weekend. Result. Next morning, after a cracking night’s sleep in a king size bed (got to get ourselves one of those), we wandered into a Costa’s for a coffee and a pastry before walking beside the River Avon on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning (how lucky were we?) up into Clifton to see old Isambard’s magnificent suspension bridge, where my legs honestly turned to jelly whilst walking across the little cutie. Then we wandered down into the village of Clifton itself and were immediately in Hog Heaven as we absolutely loved the place, and particularly The Royal Oak where we enjoyed some excellent beers (well, I did) and had a cracking Sunday Roast. And if all that wasn’t enough, just a couple of doors up from the pub was a delightful boutique called Mele where - oh Brunel’s Suspension Bridge at Clifton dear - they happened to stock impressive to say the very least. Belstaff, so I merely stood by in awe as my ickle wife flourished her credit card. Will we return? Absolutely. Most definitely. And it would be rather nice to stay at the Avon Gorge Hotel in Clifton next time too. (www.theavongorge.com).

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“OOOOOOH, YOUNG MANNNNNN!” After checking out the line-up, The Edge wasn’t even going to bother watching the recent ‘I’m A Celebrity....Get Me Out Of Here’. But when the remote-control is in the vicelike grip of one’s missus, it was either that or picking the fluff out of my navel every night, and there’s simply nowhere to store T.M.F. (that much fluff).

ing to the regulars why you don’t get a sex-pack like his by drinking 20 pints of Mild every night, or from a diet of donnas’n’burgers. Thing is, The Edge has already mentioned on page 4 this month - under it’s ‘It’s Nice To Be Nice’ heading - that there’s truly nothing wrong with being N.I.C.E. and perhaps Mark Wright could even make a career out of being Mr Nice in the same way that Rowan Atkinson has considerably enhanced his own bank balance by playing that idiotic Mr Bean character.

Now then, I swear, I have never seen a single episode of The Only Way Is Essex. I haven’t even seen 5 minutes of it. So when The Edge was told who Mark Wright was, I just groaned, like you do, and was certain the bloke was bound to be a major league prize prick.

Essex Eye Candy Mark Wright - TOWIE star and the real ‘King of the Jungle’.

But how wrong can you be? In fact, what a charming young fellow M.W. truly turned out to be. So much so The Edge reckons he’s now gone and put Essex firmly on the map in a positive light for a right refreshing change. Don’t some of you older readers reckon he looks as bit like a very young Robert Wagner? For research purposes only, this mag logged onto Wikipedia to try and check Mark Wright out, although it pretty much just stated ‘television personality’ and that was about it. Only then it spotted a story about Mark and his brother running out of fuel on route to see their mum and dad not long after Mark returned from ‘The Jungle’ - followed by a joyous gaggle of paparazzi - and The Edge thought, ‘How does the tabloid press justify its existence?’

What’s slightly more interesting (mildly) is the fact that Mazza actually fancies landing a role in EastEnders after spending ten years at the Sylvia Young (never heard of her?) Acting School, and says he would genuinely like to become the next James Bond. Dream on, lad. Fact is, because of his undoubted good looks, Mark’ll no doubt end up on our TV screens in the not too distant future, but will it really be as a presenter, the vocation he so craves? Incredibly doubtful, The Edge would say. However, The Edge is definitely ALL for championing him as an ‘Ambassador for Essex’ and he could cut his ultra-white teeth by doing the rounds of pubs and kebab houses and explain-

For Atkinson though, that was merely a means to an end, whereas Mazza seems to wholeheartedly embrace niceness. That said, we could all surely learn a lesson from him. Mark’s former fiance, Lauren Goodger, has even threatened to “bed him because he’s so nice” in a bid to win back her former lover and remind him of just what he’s been missing. “The whole time Mark was in Australia, I tried to be strong by lifting weights and stuff,” she informed Heat magazine in a right ‘in depth interview’ (yeah, right). “I missed him terribly, but that slag Emily Wotserface has got a battle on her hands if she thinks she’s going to pinch Mark from me...she has...the bitch.” But the final word goes to Holy Moly! magazine who insist the all new Mark Wright image just isn’t washing with them. “He’ll always be a greasy, shallow, sex-pest to us,” they say. Now that’s what The Edge calls being nice.

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Wardo has a stab at explaining the financial mire we’re unfortunately all caught up in...

"Can you write me something short and sweet explaining why we're in the financial mire," came the directive from our editor. “Gordon Brown” was my response. But it turns out he wanted a bit more meat on the bone than that, so here goes... If anyone could understand the whole picture in the detail necessary to fully explain such a wide ranging subject, they would doubtless be much better employed trying to fix things rather than spending half a lifetime writing it all down. Additionally, there are many differing opinions as to the causes of the current recession, so there really is no simple right or wrong answer. For what it's worth though, here's a personal, and simplified, take on it all. Let’s look at the various components of the problem one by one. Banks It's all the fault of the bankers, right? Wrong. Firstly, there are two different types of bankers. There are Retail Bankers, who offer you a current account, somewhere to put your savings, a mortgage and maybe a loan to buy a car. Safe, solid, and not spectacularly well paid people on the whole. Then there are Wholesale, or Investment, Bankers, who you, the man or woman in the street, will never meet. There used to be Merchant Bankers too, but they live on only as Cockney rhyming slang. The Wholesale Bankers are what the popular ’papers call Casino Operators. Contrary to popular opinion, they do not, however, bet the nation's economy on whether a share price will rise. They bet their own bank's money. Some are good at it, and earn a fortune, whilst others are not so good, and soon find themselves out of work. It’s a very unforgiving world in which to work. The problem with banking occurs because some of the bigger ones have both Retail and Wholesale arms. To put it simply, they did not distinguish which side of the fence their cash came from, so the wholesale bankers were using our savings to play the markets. Note again: they were playing the markets only with money contained within the vaults of their own bank, not the nation's, as is so often misquoted.

Page 14

Once the crisis really hit, governments became involved in pouring billions into SOME - i.e. not all banks to ensure that the retail savings of the likes of you and me were not lost. This is where public money enters the equation. Note that after that injection of public money, the ‘casino’ operators were under very strict control as to what they did with it. They did not punt public money in any meaningful sense of the word. But let’s come back to the banks again later as it's important not to let a natural disgust at a very small number of people earning huge salaries and bonuses obscure the facts, because not all banks and not all bankers were the cause of the crisis. Bank Regulators Governments around the world have for years appointed independent authorities to regulate Financial Institutions in their own countries. In the UK, the regulation was what Gordon Brown called ‘light touch’. That is, the FSA (Financial Services Authority) didn’t regulate very hard at all. As a result when the global crash came, British banks were as badly placed as any others. In retrospect, this light touch regulation was a mistake, but even die-hard Brown haters will say it’s a forgivable one because it helped the City of London remain competitive. Don’t forget, about 10% of all the UK’s tax revenue comes from the Square Mile, so helping it to do its stuff was a bit of a no-brainer. The United States Gordon Brown was very keen to tell everyone that the recession was all the fault of the USA. It suited him to have his own shortcomings hidden away by shining the spotlight on someone else, but the USA does bear some of the blame. Over the previous decade the banks and credit institutions over there had been giving mortgages to all sorts of people who really weren't capable of the responsibility. After all, it was boom time. House prices kept rising, so even if these people defaulted, the bank could reclaim their house and still make a profit. Or so they thought. However, once things started to slow down and more and more people couldn't afford their mortgages, house prices fell and the banks were left with a loss. To try and reduce these losses, the banks came up with complicated deals that packaged up a lot of mortgages and sold them on to a number of investors who were each, therefore, buying a small bit of the loss. These investors - mainly people who should have known better - were some way behind the

cleverer banks in their evaluation of the situation. Credit Crunch A pre-cursor to the main crisis. Across the world, but especially in the USA, banks had lent too much to people they shouldn’t have. When this became apparent, they went too far in the opposite direction and wouldn’t lend to anyone. This was the real start of the recession as economies ground to a halt because businesses couldn’t get the finances they needed. Lehman Brothers Lehman Brothers were first bank to go to the wall. As it did not have a retail banking arm worth the name, the US government didn't fancy bailing it out and badly misjudged the effect that one Investment Bank failing would have on the markets, and therefore the world’s economies. Had it been supported with public money, would all this trouble have been averted? No, not entirely. But it might have been a lot less bad. You Well, not you specifically, but all of us. As far as the UK is concerned, we are better off than some, but worse off than others. We have been hit though, because we believed Brown (what fools) and thought the good times were set to last forever. We borrowed more than we should have to buy a house bigger than we could really afford and we stacked up on Credit Cards. When a little downturn arose, it became a big downturn because we were all maxed out and very scared for our financial futures. So we stopped spending and the downturn got worse. On top of all that, over the past 30 years, our manufacturing base has been eroded, thus we are very reliant on the service industries. When we stop spending, it's services that are hit first - you don't go to the pub so much, or on holiday as often, thereby exacerbating the downturn further. This is our fault for sure - we insist on buying foreign goods, not UK manufactured ones, and none of us want to work in factories anyway. Gordon Brown Yes, he really does have to feature. The fact that the UK is now having such a painful time of it, slashing public spending and all that goes with it, is because for the 12 years G.B. was either Chancellor of the Exchequer or Prime Minister, he just went on borrowing more and more to spend on his pet projects. Pet projects that usually entailed employing ever more people in the public sector, all of them on final salary pension schemes way

beyond the generosity of the private sector. Bernie Madoff was rightly put away for running a ponzi scheme (that is, getting new investors to prop up previous ones in a pyramid of ever increasing size) so why isn't Brown behind bars for doing exactly the same thing? Because the law of the land allowed his incompetence to ruin our finances for a generation, that's why. The Euro The Euro wasn’t a cause of the original crisis, but it’s become a major component of the ongoing mess. It is, it transpires, a failed experiment. Whilst the European Union was a small number of similarly well developed nations with broadly similar cultures - France, Germany, Italy, for example - the Euro would probably have worked. But once some fairly flaky economies started to want a piece of the action, it was all just an accident waiting to happen. The Greeks, for example, consider taxes as optional, yet still want to retire on a full salary at 50, so understandably the Greek economy isn't exactly flush. On the other hand, industrious Germans pay their taxes on time and work very hard and efficiently. Yet the currency the two countries share is worth the same. It just doesn't make any sense. So Greece needs Germany to pay for its previous over-borrowing and to fund its easy lifestyle. So if you were a German, how would you feel about that? That’s why all the Euro based bailouts are so controversial. All of these contributory points have left us in a horrible place. There's no one person, or even group of people, to blame, just a conflagration of factors all coming together in a perfect storm of pain. But DON’T PANIC. As with all previous terrible periods, the world will survive, it's just a matter of how long it takes before the feelgood factor returns. Unfortunately, with UK growth more or less stagnant, that’s some years off. Can you help? Yes. You could start spending whatever you can afford on British manufactured goods and services. Looking on the bright side (actually, there really isn’t one - this is the ‘and finally’ bit) the last big recession in the 80s did throw up the Specials and Madness. Thus far, this one has managed only Jedward - so we must be about due some decent music at least. OK, so why are India and China booming? Oh God....my head hurts!

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EDEN Beauty Clinic

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GIRAFFE... Now this is a tricky one.

On the one hand, The Edge has ‘a bit of a problem’ with chain restaurants in so far as they forever seem to lack the authority to alter/change/adapt on the spur of the moment to any particular set of circumstances. In short, everything costs, everything has its price, such is the nature of the beast as yet another juggernaut has rolled into town. And on the other hand, despite myself, I was genuinely surprised to actually enjoy my evening out at Giraffe. But let me start with why I probably won’t go there again. One: We ordered the most expensive bottle of red Shiraz on the menu (Madfish), described as “deep and brooding (a bit like me, obviously) cherry chocolatey with steak-loving peppery spice,” and it was £24.95. What? In a chain restaurant sat on wooden classroom-style seats in Chelmsford? The other weekend we had a lovely bottle of ‘chocolatey Shiraz’ at Severnshed in Bristol and Severnshed is by far Giraffe’s superior and Bristol is a city. However, the wine was just as palatable, yet cost £17.95. My second reason is that our Toffee Apple Crumble dessert (“enough for two to share” the menu said, and there was) warranted two blobs of ice-cream, as opposed to the one it came with, which soon melted. Nice as it was (though I’m not sure about the ‘breakfast cereal’ topping), when I enquired about another blob of ice-cream, I was informed that such would cost an extra £1.75 on top of the £5.95 dessert price.

Now I guess that some of you will ‘get’ my grievances and some of you won’t. The fact remains, customers are fickle and if a restaurant really wants its customers to return, in The Edge’s humble opinion, they have a duty to satisfy them. But charging £1.75 for an extra blob of ice-cream absolutely screams profit and margins to this particular customer. To the positives. We ordered a side order of Garlic Brussel Sprouts (yes, you heard The Edge correctly) and you can forget your garlic bread, Peter (Kay), my lad, for Garlic Brussel Sprouts are definitely ‘the future’! Our main courses of Jambalaya Risotto (spicy risotto with grilled aubergine, peppers & courgettes with chicken, prawn & chorizo) £10.95 and Hot Thai Duck Stir Fry (shredded BBQ duck, bok choy, Thai basil, mushrooms, red pepper, mint, egg noodles & bean sprouts, topped with chilli jam, crispy shallots, leek,

carrot & red pepper) £10.25 were really, really tasty. We also had a quick word with the young couple (there were a lot of young people in Giraffe, placing your editor alarmingly in the ‘seniors’ brigade) on the table next to us and she, being a vegan, reckoned Giraffe offered “much more choice and taste” than many other local restaurants. What’s more, this was their second visit to Giraffe in Chelmsford already, and yes, she/they would definitely be returning. It’s pretty much horses for courses when dining out and many folk will be ‘easier going’ than me. P.S. Giraffe’s £6.95 ‘main course + selected drink’ lunchtime offer (served 12 - 5pm) might well be worth a try. 21 Springfield Road, Chelmsford. Tel: 01245 409255

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A

pparently, the BBC received a staggering 21,000 complaints over comments made by Jeremy ‘motormouth’ Clarkson on their One Show which The Edge actually happened to be watching at the time and simply viewed it as ‘Clarkson being Clarkson’. Why people haven’t got far better things to do with their time than demand his dismissal from the corporation seems nonsensical. Fact is, he’s a witty, intelligent and extremely interesting guy (I’ve met him) who’d be sorely missed. So why such uproar by 21,000 nobodies?

Page 17

unreasonable and bad for the economy. On top of the job losses, we’ve been on a pay freeze for two years now with a 1% cap on any future raises. Take inflation over the past few years into account and this really amounts to a pay cut. We’re also now having to do a lot more with a lot less, yet are still constantly being asked to

That’s The Edge’s view. But, of course, there are always two sides to every argument, so let’s hear what public sector worker and Edge ‘colonist’ Kingpin has to say about the matter. “I still haven’t seen the Clarkson comments, but I take it he was saying we (as in the public sector) had no right to go on strike that day? Absolute nonsense. Of course we did. The pension issue is really the tip of the iceberg and unless you have worked in the public sector (which I doubt he ever has) then I posit that you have ‘no right’ to talk bollocks about something you know nothing about. Let’s be clear about one thing, the dreadful financial state of our country can be tied in to those arseholes in the banking industry and the deplorable mismanagement of our economy by successive governments. The public sector didn’t cause any of this. It certainly wasn’t teachers and nurses who were busy bankrupting the country and who still walked away with massive bonuses, yet it’s the public sector who are bearing the brunt of the austerity measures now put into place. Yes, public sector is a huge employer and did need to be trimmed down a bit, but the sheer amount of job losses in this sector is both

save more money. Public sector is often seen as being an easy ride (and in some cases that’s true, because God knows I’ve seen some ‘dead wood’ do bugger all for years at a time in my job) but, by and large, people in the public sector do work very hard and actually care about providing a service to the community. I don’t know many nurses who went into it for the money, which is pitiful to begin with. (In fact, I don’t know enough nurses full stop, but that’s another story). In my own particular case, my team look after the IT infrastructure for around 800 people. We have 90 servers and 13 remote sites to look after, as well as the main offices, all of which takes a huge amount of work to keep running smoothly. Most of our kit is now way past its sell-by date, meaning it’s even harder to keep

Cherry Garden Gar den Lane, Chelmsford Chelmsfor d

matter up to speed, meaning even more work for us. A team like mine, looking after an ‘estate’ as big as ours, would usually have 8 to 10 people in it. We do it with just 4. I’m sure this scenario is mirrored in many places across the public sector, so it’s far from an easy ride. Unlike when the tube drivers, or whoever, go on strike, we weren’t asking for more money. All we were asking for was to keep the pension plans we already had in place and had been paying into for years, as opposed to now paying in more money, for more years, for it to be worth less, which hardly seems unreasonable to me. As for our right to strike - everyone should have the right to strike in protest in a democratic country, end of story. The Unions had asked for discussions with the Government on this issue time and time again and were ignored, so the strike was the last resort and not something any of us did lightly. None of us got paid for that day, and in these times, losing a day’s pay isn’t something any of us wanted to do. But personally, I feel it’s far better to strike and make a protest against something you feel is wrong, than just let the Government walk all over you. It’s always good to remind the people in power that we’ll only put up with so much. This whole economic situation is their mess, and the public (the general public, not just public sector) paying for it is wrong. But, whatever the reasons, we are where we are and there’s not going to be an easy way out. All of us are in for a shitty few years and, at the end of the day, we’re just going to have to tighten our belts and ride it out. But that doesn’t mean we can’t stick the boot into ‘the man’ every now and again and remind them how angry we all are about it.”

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YOUR letters

&

emails

to theedge!

CHELMSFORD, CM2 6XD. shaun@theedgemag.co.uk Car Park Encounter

My dear, dear Shaun, How lovely it was to see you this afternoon, after so long, and it is so comforting to know that you are still as opinionated as ever and haven't changed a bit. First off, you insult my car, saying it is “too big for me” (I train and walk lots of dogs, hence the need for a reasonably sized car). Secondly, you continued with a tirade about how dogs stink and how you bet my house stinks of dogs too! I, on the other hand, love the smell of my damp Retriever and any other dog that I happen to be with. They provide so much companionship and cheer most people up (though obviously, with the exception of you). So I hope you won't be offended if I don't invite you round for a cup of tea to discuss old times. In fact, I am sure you will be more than happy to stay away. Oh, and by the way, my car stinks of dogs too! Lovely to see you all the same. After all, it is good to find some consistency in this world. Jackie McClelland Springfield H’hey! Me & Mrs Mac used to work in the same orifice years and years ago, readers, only I didn’t realise her love of canines had endured, the smelly things. Am gonna pop round for a brew and a sniff all the same tho’. E.E. Page 18

19:45

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Awkright?

Hi Shaun, I've just this minute received the electronic version of my favourite magazine and it has promoted me to ask a question that I have been meaning to ask you for some time. A good few years ago you ran a feature article on my Uncle's shop, Fellas Clothes. You also did a write up for our wedding photographer, Scott from Edge Photography, at some point too. Based on these two excellent editorials, I was wondering if there was any way you would consider doing something similar for my Dad's shop? He owns a fantastic (although I do understand that I am slightly biased!) DIY & Hardware store in the lovely little village of Ingatestone. From the outside, the store is VERY deceiving, but once you step inside, you realise what an Aladdin's Cave of treasures it truly is.

This photograph was taken at a recent Ingatestone Victorian evening! I have taken the liberty of adding a link to the gallery of the shop just so you can see what I mean. Their slogan is: "The Town sized store with the Village service" and that is absolutely true. Customer service is what keeps people going back time and time again as it is so very personalised and nothing is ever too much trouble. http://www.patrickgreen.biz/gallery/i nfo_18.html As you know, times are hard for everyone right now, and a little bit of a push from my favourite magazine I'm sure would go some way to increasing the footfall throughout this amazing store. Sorry if this isn't really something that you d, but it never hurts to ask, does it? :) Thank you and kind regards, Laura Miller You can blow hot air up The Edge’s ass all you like, Laura, but I couldn’t possibly... E.E.

Edge Podcast

Hi Twat, Listening to the debut Edge Podcast did make me chuckle! Especially you. Your voice. And you sort of being ‘you’, yet als being 'aware' of what you were doing/hosting and unable to 'HOG' or control the conversational channel you're usually tuned into (i.e. SHIT, TITS & PEOPLE’S BITS) because everyone else was gripping their own remote 'hard ons' and word-w ing HARD!

***

A ‘mike’ really does seem to bring out the best/worst in everyone. Brilliant! Though Lengthy Boy seemed to have his finger on mute for most of the time, which was a DAMN SHAME. He did come out with some cracking, but low key, 'one liners' that were totally lost to the dominant (i.e. LOUD) voices of The Goose and Kingpin. (HE'S REALLY FUNNY, is Matt, and shrewd with his delivery.) I honestly LOVED it in parts. It was a bit like being in a pub and hearing people on a table having a really good convo, but only picking up snippets, but doing one’s best to tune-in to the wavelength and enjoy being taken out of the 'humdrum of everyday life’; for a bit at any rate...before swiftly tuning out as it went a bit male mainstream and predictable. You DO need some women on board though. Even as 'guests' and with subjects geared to clash/ antagonise/balance etc. and not just setting 'Dick v Chick' but also 'Chick v Chick' in terms of views/ opinions etc. The bit about plastic tits and VAT made me both squeal and smile at the ceiling as it got YOU LOT going for SOME WHILE. But from a female perspective, all I was thinking was: COME ON GUYS, no woman honestly gives a shit about the 20% going to the tax coffers because men usually end up paying for a boob job anyway! In one way or another, women usually recoup the original outlay and do nothing more than the occasional Kleenex clean-up of their new puppies. I couldn't believe none of you sort of 'went there’? Ignorant bliss? Love it! But it is weird how YOU saw/ viewed how it went, I guess because you were there, as opposed to how I actually HEARD THINGS based on our brief chat beforehand about The Edge recording a ‘Pod’. The Goose should DEFINITELY stay. He wasn't overbearing, but sure, I can imagine that some of his verbals would need a good 'script edit'. Less is more, so they say. All in all (and lack of female voices aside), there was a pretty good balance and a MONKISH nemesis to the predictable 'five knuckle shuffle' banter that took over in the end and made me begin to drift off. But hey, that's just me, and I'm OLDER now. My tits are shrinking and I also fart like my grandmother. But these days I read/listen to a lot of ‘odd stuff’ and by that I mean I don't even bother to figure out/fret over/ worry about what men want/like, get hard or soft by etc. For me, it's now dull stuff best left to the titivating TOWIE’s or the depressed divorced etc., but I LIKE IT when MEN banter/agree/disagree over things rather than the usual ‘nudge nudge, wink wank’ things etc. It takes TIME to develop an audio voice, even if your readers are familiar with your 'written' voice.

The Goose comes across exactly like his columns, whereas I can't really speak for you because I KNOW YOU - so for me, your voice/conversation was like my armchair in that I know exactly what it's stuffed with! Kingpin - in parts, yes - but The Pin’s profanities went from 1st straight to 5th gear at times, which kind of detracted from his written 'voice' (FANTASTIC Kingpin colon in December Edge though - I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT). And he was great in the 'Old Whistle Test' way of herding the conversational loose sheep back to where they should be in the POD PEN! In fact, The Pin and The Goose have really great 'recording voices’ which makes a difference to the 'aural' experience, whereas you need to add your 'BRILLIANT' pearls when the timing is there and not just throw them in to keep the momentum going. But your 'MOMMY DEAREST DREAM' thing made me absolutely piss myself. You said everything without saying anything, until pressed, and even then you said everything without saying very much at all. NOW THAT WAS FUNNY, so just keep the oyster shut if there's nothing to add to a topic, GOBSHITE! Matt: COME ON MATT! Unbutton your trousers and show them what you’ve got, Two-Tone! And Hannah: Ha! LOVED IT/HER! All in all, a most creditable first attempt, I’d say. The Bitch xx Thanks for that, bitch. Honest, as ever. When’s your very first ‘Hermit’s Perspective’ reaching me, hmmmm? E.E.

Grow Up!

Dear Edge, We were on our way to see the dolphins in Mexico when we stum-

bled across this place and thought it might be much more interesting! James King (left) & Paul Forrester (right) Guys, guys....GROW UP for God’s sake. I mean, how old are you? What was that? You say you’ve listened to The Edge Podcast and I’ve no room to talk? Well, you cheeky..... E.E.

Happy New Year

Dear Editor, As you are a complete and utter Billy No Mates, I thought I would take this opportunity to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year. Shaun (yeah, it’s me writing to me). Well you sad f er. E.E.

***

The Edge 077 646 797 44


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theEDGE

DVD DVD review

THIS MAG’S TRYFAVOURITE IT - IT’S ACHRISTMAS BLAST! MOVIE!

I’d never even heard of this movie, let alone seen it on the shelves, but I spotted it and thought I’d give it a try. As it happens, it wasn’t three bad, despite a title that would perhaps make one inclined to give it a miss. Ray Stevenson (you ever heard of him, because The Edge hadn’t?) plays big, shaggy, brawling, hunky, Irish Mob boss Danny Greene, who shot his way to the top of the Cleveland USA underworld. He was also an FBI informant. It was the summer of 1976 and 36 bombs detonated in the very heart of Cleveland as a turf war raged between this Irish mobster and the Italian mafia. Kill The Irishman is amazingly based on a true story and also stars Christopher Walken (forever creepy) and Val ‘WeightWatchers’ Kilmer. Greene turns the tables on snaky, sinister, Jewish loan shark and restaurateur Shondor Bims (Walken), stops taking orders from the mafia, allies himself with gangster John Nardi and sets about persuing his own mantle. Surviving countless assassination attempts along the way, Greene makes it his business to kill anyone who makes an attempt upon his own life (“How very dare they?�). Greene’s infamous invincibility and notorious fearlessness eventually leads to the collapse of mafia syndicates across the USA and also earns him the status of ‘the man the mob couldn’t kill’ (impressive). This movie is based on the book of the same name, inspired by Rick Porello’s true crime account entitled ‘To Kill The Irishman: The War That Crippled The Mafia’, which might be worth a read/Kindle (pagh/spit). There’s definitely a gritty ‘underdog conquers all comers’ quality about this movie and it feels genuinely different is so far as it’s right rough and ready.

All DVD’s fired from BLOCKBUSTER Springfield Road, Chelmsford.

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BRITAIN’S BEST ESTATE AGENTS CONGRATULATED AT THE 2011 NEGOTIATOR AWARDS The top estate agents in the UK were recently congratulated at a dazzling awards ceremony in London, hosted by comedian, TV presenter and author Mark Watson and organised by The Negotiator magazine, in association with Digital Property Group. The Home Partnership was the outright winner of the Independent Estate Agency Firm of the Year category, beating off stiff competition from all around the country. Clare Bettelley, editor of The Negotiator, said: “Our fourth annual ceremony welcomed more than 500 of the agency market’s leading property practitioners, despite the housing market downturn and ongoing Eurozone debt crisis. This strongly reaffirmed this event as the residential agency bash of the year! “Once again, the strength of the award entrants was outstanding, not least their initiatives designed to survive the past 12

months alone. “The Negotiator is immensely proud of its role in identifying, rewarding and celebrating their excellence, which is part of our ongoing effort to help further raise industry standards.� Guests gathered for the celebrations at the prestigious London Hilton Hotel on Park Lane on 9th November 2011 and enjoyed champagne, fine food and a terrific presentation by Mark Watson.

The Estate Agent that works for

YOU!

www.thehomepartnership.co.uk 11 Duke Street, Chelmsford CM1 1HL Telephone: 01245 250222 The Edge 01245 348256

Page 19


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New Doctor

I went to the doctor's the other day, only to find out I had a new sexy hot one.

Carlsberg

Confession

A man goes to confession and says, "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.” “Oh yes?” enquired the Priest. “Most definitely. You see, last night I made love to a pair of twins half my age, in positions I think are probably illegal." The Priest thought for a moment and said, "Buy seven lemons, squeeze the juice into a glass and knock it back in one." "Oh Father, thank you,” said the man. “And will that cleanse my soul?" "No," replied the priest. "But it ought to wipe that f ing smile off your face.”

2:30am

Stunning Thai Girl

I sat on the train this morning opposite a stunning Thai girl and the only thing that kept going through my mind was, ‘Please don’t get an erection. Please don't get an erection.’ But she did. The Grim Reaper came to visit me last night, only I beat him off with a vacuum cleaner. Phew! Talk about Dyson with death.

Parking Ticket

The other day, my wife and I went into town to do a bit of shopping. When we were about done and it was time to return home, we spotted a Traffic Warden busily writing out a ticket. So we went up to him and I said, “Oh, come on. How about giving us senior citizens a break, eh?” But he just ignored us and continued writing out the ticket. So I called him ‘an asshole’, I’m ashamed to say. And he glared at me and started writing out another ticket for having worn-out tires. So my wife, Mary, actually called him ‘a shit head’, even though she normally frowns on that sort of language. Well, when he’d finished writing out the second ticket he started writing out a third. Then a forth, and so on. And this went on for about 10 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote out. Fortunately then, our bus arrived.

F.A.T.

Did you hear about the fat alcoholic transvestite? All he wanted to do was eat, drink and be Mary.

Welsh Pub

A man walks into a welsh pub and orders a white wine spritzer. The bar goes deathly quiet as everyone stares at him. "Where are you from then?” the barman asks. “You sound kind of English." "Oh, aye,” replies the man, nervously. “I am from just across the Severn, yes." "So, what do you do then, just across the Severn?" persists the barman. "I'm a taxidermist," says the stranger. "A taxidermist,” repeats the barman. “What on earth is one of those?" "I mount animals," confesses the man. "Phew!" sighs he barman. Then he addresses the regulars in his pub with the broadest of smiles “Panic over, boys. He's one of us.”

* *

I really don't understand all the hype around Carlsberg supposedly being the best lager in the world. I found a can on a wall this morning and it honestly tasted like piss.

My neighbour knocked on my door at 2:30am. this morning. Can you believe that, 2:30am? Luckily for him I was still up playing my bagpipes.

Grim Reaper

The little girl thought for a moment before saying, “I think so.......providing those w nk rs at * * Jewsons deliver the f ck ng bricks.”

***

Comfortable

Well, I was a little bit embarrassed, but she said, "Don't worry, I'm a professional. I've seen it all before. Just tell me what's wrong with you and I'll check it out." I said, "My wife thinks my cock tastes funny."

Q&A

Q: What's the difference between Iron Man and Iron Woman? A: One's a superhero and the other is an instruction.

Lovely Story

Here’s a lovely story about a bond formed between a little girl and a group of builders. It's allegedly true and may help to confirm your belief in the all round goodness of all we members of the human race. A young family moved into a house right next door to an empty plot. Then, one day, a gang of builders turned up to start building on the plot. Well, the young family's five-year-old daughter immediately took an interest in all the activity going on next door and started chatting with the builders. She always hung around with them after school and eventually, with hearts of gold, the builders more or less adopted the little girl as a sort of project mascot. They would talk to her, let her sit with them while they had their tea breaks, and also gave her little jobs to do here and there to make her feel important. They even gave her her very own hard hat and gloves, which thrilled her immensely. And at the end of the first week, the smiling builders presented her with a pay packet containing two pounds in 10p coins. The little girl excitedly took her 'pay' home to her mummy who suggested they take the money to the bank the very next day to pay it into her savings account. At the bank, the female cashier was absolutely tickled pink to hear the little girl regaling her about all her 'work' on the building site and the fact she had earned a 'pay packet'. “You must have worked very hard to earn all this money?” she said. The little girl proudly replied, “Oh yes, I did work really hard every day with Bob and Joe and Mick and Bill and Terry.” “My goodness gracious me,” said the cashier, “and will you be working on the house again next week?”

MEN: If you want to get your missus' attention, just sit on the sofa looking comfortable. I guarantee it’ll work every time.

Blonde Double Glazing

Last year, I replaced all the windows in my house with those expensive double-pane energy efficient kind. Only today, I got a call from the contractor who immediately started complaining that whilst the work had been completed twelve months ago, they still hadn't been paid. “Hellloooo?” I said. “Just because I'm blonde doesn't mean I’m stupid.” So I patiently explained to him just what his smooth talking salesman had said to me this time last year, which was that in ONE YEAR the windows would pay for themselves.

Toothbrush Tale

Twenty years together and the wife still gets the arse-ache whenever I use her toothbrush. But hey, how else am I to get the dog shit out of my trainers?

Shocked

A policeman came to my front door last night holding a photograph of my wife. He said, "Is this your wife, sir?" Shocked, I answered, "Yes, it is." He said, "I'm afraid it looks like she's been hit by a bus." I said, "I know. But on the plus side, she’s a great cook, she’s got a lovely personality and she’s really good with the kids."

Popping Out

My mate's missus left him last Thursday. She said she was just popping out for a pint of milk, only she never came back. So I took him out for a pint to find out how he was coping, and he said, "Not bad, actually. I've been using that powdered stuff."

Injury & Accident

Injury and accident insurance claim adverts are bollocks. For instance, when next door’s daughter cut herself on our fence, they told me to take some photos of her gash. Only now I'm the one who’s ended up in court. How did that happen?

Important Announcement

Screwfix is not actually a dating agency.

All jokes published are supplied by Edge readers. Please send your ‘egg yokes’ to shaun@theedgemag.co.uk


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I GIVE UP!

The Edge has been meaning to publish this photograph ever since it went on a pub crawl one sunny Saturday along the Thames, and don’t summer days like this feel like an awful long way away right at this moment? Love this picture though, because it’s like the girl at the table has just said to herself, ‘Sod it. I cannot listen to any more of this shite’ (that obviously the fellas are spouting), so instead she’s promptly decided to go to sleep. And has. Marvelous! Photographic evidence, if any were needed, that blokes do indeed bore girls to tears. Thinking about it, I honestly reckon this particular subject is something The Edge’s next Podcast should touch upon. OK, I appreciate it’s not rocket science and that we all accept that men and women are fundamentally very different creatures, but The Edge can’t help thinking that if we simply gave each other just a little more slack, instead of always expecting so very much of each other, might we not ‘get along’ better? Why do we always feel a need to ‘get’ where the other is coming from, when instead we could simply choose not to understand each other, and accept that there’s no bloody point even trying?

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Kung Hei Fat Choi! 136 MOULSHAM STREET, CHELMSFORD. TEL: 01245 290099 www.theedgemag.co.uk

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Edge there to see two richest football teams in country put on a DULL NO SHOW

FRAZIER CHECKS OUT

Smokin’ Joe checked out on 7th November 2011, just short of his 68th birthday. Without a shadow of a doubt, Mike Tyson is the scariest thing The Edge has ever seen in a boxing ring and is fairly confident some of his opponents must have actually been pooping in their pants before the very first bell signalled the start of a fight against ‘that thing’ in the opposite corner. But way before Tyson there was Joe Frazier who was cut from a somewhat similar cloth. To your editor’s young eyes, he was also definitely the villain of the piece back in 1971, when I was but 10 years old, and he knocked down everyone’s darling, Muhammad Ali, in what had been dubbed ‘The Fight of the Century’ - Ali and Frazier’s very first encounter, to gain a points victory and inflict upon Ali his very first defeat. I remember I cried that night (big soft lad). I just couldn’t understand how anyone could beat Muhammad Ali who was the equivalent of boxing royalty. But it was their ‘Thrilla in Manila’, Ali and Frazier’s third and final encounter, on 1st October 1975, that everyone really remembers and which must surely go down as one of the fights of all time. During the entire period from before their first fight to their final face-off in Manila, Ali had used his wit, sharp tongue and position with the press to take verbal pot-shots at Frazier’s expense, which escalated in intensity and became particularly more ugly and malicious, taking their great rivalry into a whole new territory. Back then, I just used to think it was all part of the hype and all good fun. But the older you get and the more you read up about it, nah, perhaps the villain of the piece wasn’t Smokin’ Joe at all. The mood in the two fighters camps could not have been more of a contrast. Ali’s thought Frazier was washed-up after his mauling at the hands of George Foreman (way before the latter had even thought of selling grilles) whilst the relative ease with which Ali defeated him in their rematch seemed to bear out this notion. The general consensus seemed to be that Ali was doing Frazier a favour by simply giving him one last major payday before promptly dispatching him into retirement. As a consequence, Ali did relatively little training and instead concentrated on his torrid affair with Veronica Porsche, right under his wife’s nose. Meanwhile, Frazier was training with a grim and determined intensity and would never forgive Ali’s invective; his latest slur being to call Joe a ‘gorilla’, purely on the grounds that it rhymed with Manila. It turned out to be a brutal, punishing contest, fought in a searing heat to satisfy global TV audiences. Amazingly, it ended with the two pugilists slumped in their respective corners after an amazing round 14. Frazier’s corner threw the towel in seconds before Ali himself admitted he had been ready to quit. Indeed, if you watch the footage of the fight, you can see by Ali’s reaction that he was visibly shocked when he realises that Frazier was not coming out for the fifteenth and final round. But it wasn’t Frazier’s call. His manager, Eddie Futch, decided for him. Ali said he felt like he’d been close to dying in that fight. When asked whether he would have risked his own life by coming out for the final round, Frazier simply replied, “Hell, yes.” After hanging up his gloves, Frazier trained boxers in his own gym in Philadelphia, including his son Marvis, who fought like a bit of a ‘Mavis’. Unfortunately his latter years saw the continuation of his bitter rivalry with Ali, during which the two old men periodically continued to trade insults. Smokin’ Joe was diagnosed with liver cancer late in September 2011 and admitted into hospice care, dying just over a month later. The International Boxing Research Organisation (IBRO) rates Frazier among the ten greatest heavyweights of all time. So far as The Edge is concerned, it was an honour to see the man box. R.I.P. Joseph. Page 22

Monday evening 12th December: Out of the blue, your editor was invited to The Bridge by its N.B.M. (new best mate) David Scarborough of our friendly local Aston Barclay Car Auctions in Chelmsford, to watch Chelsea beat Manchester City 2-1....and thank God I wasn’t paying! Do you realise it can cost £90 to watch a top-flight game of football these days? Absolutely disgusting. Best part about the whole evening for me was seeing the Christmas lights in Sloane Square and then

and if every bugger had paid ninety quid, well then, that’d mean gate receipts in the region of three and a half million quid, which is not bad for a nights work/poncing-about. City are very much the new kids on the block and everyone seems to hate them because they've got even deeper pockets than Chelsea, but as I hail from oop north, I definitely wanted them to put one over on the cockernees and they couldn’t have gotten off to a brighter start than with a lovely, intricate goal from Balotelli (‘the main man’). Only this is where City then went

walking down the King’s Road, though apparently we were late, so a taxi had to be hailed to completely destroy ‘the magic’. Mind you, it soon picked up again once we reached The Big Easy Crabshack You Plank. (Ooops. Sorry, readers. Those last two words were what Scarborough called me because I could never remember the name of the place for the remainder of the evening!) The Crabshack’s a bit like an upmarket Back Inn Time and they had this ‘meal deal’ thing going on whereby you paid a set price (dunno what it was as dinner was apparently included in my trip, which was yet another right result) and you got to eat as much BBQ chicken and ribs as you liked. I tell you, I actually bowled out onto the pavement afterwards, I felt that round. Then it was a brisk walk through the upmarket backstreets of opulent West London to Stamford Bridge and Jesus, I was literally gobsmacked by all the stinking wealth. Where do so many people get so much money? Recession? What recession? And then, not far from The Sporting Page pub (which looked as though it’d serve a nice pint), there it was: Stamford Bridge, home of Chelski. Just over 40,000 people turned up on a rainy night to see the match

so very wrong. I don’t know whether it’s Mancini’s Italian breeding to make them somewhat cautious in trying to protect a lead, but Chelsea were actually scared of ’em at that point and were definitely there for the taking. But City eventually had a man (somewhat harshly, The Edge thought) sent off and ended up losing 2-1 to blow the Premiership title race wide open once again. But was it all value for money, despite me being on a freebie? Straight answer: no. If that is how football is played these days, then I am far happier continuing to watch the edited highlights on Match of the Day with it’s numerous replays in the comfort of my very own living-room, rather than having to get crammed into a tube carriage like a sardine at West Brompton immediately after the match in order to get shuttled across to the other side of the smoke. Home was eventually reached on the stroke of midnight, though I then had to immediately go out again to pick up her indoors who was out at her works Christmas party. So would I go again (if invited)? To the football, do you mean? No. But The Edge would definitely return to The Crabshack for some more chicken’n’ribs....you plank! www.theedgemag.co.uk


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A better way to divorce? If you are facing a breakdown of your relationship, the things that you may dread the most are how you can sort out the finances; the house; the children. The thought of arguing and going to court is both frightening and expensive. There is, however, another way. Collaborative Family Law is a process where you and your spouse have your own solicitor, but instead of being adversarial, you work together to find the right solutions to your problems. You agree that you will not resort to court proceedings and by having a series of meetings you can reach agreement on all of the things that matter to you. These can be things that the court can not help you with because of the way the traditional court system operates. You set the pace of the process, you set the agenda, and you make the decisions. Your lives are not left in the hands of the courts or the judges. At a time when the court system is becoming even more pressured due to cut backs, the collaborative process can offer a far quicker resolution. Many people are finding the collaborative process a better way to divorce and come away feeling satisfied that they have aired their views and reached an agreement that will work. Children have especially benefited from their parents dealing with their divorce in a collaborative way as they see their parents working together rather than arguing about them. Collaborative Family lawyers are trained to deal with separation in the collaborative way and are experienced family lawyers committed to providing a professional service to their clients. Most collaborative lawyers will offer a free chat about collaborative law to see if it would suit you. For more information, contact Teresa Foss on 01245 349696, email: tfoss@thblegal.com or visit www.thblegal.com.

Volkswagen Herbie Sledge only £24.99 with free retro t-shirt. Suddenly, you can’t wait for winter. Here’s something to bring you and your family a little shiver of excitement. A disc-shaped sledge with sidebrake and Herbie logo. So when the snow comes, the fun begins. What’s more, for every sledge you purchase, we’ll give you a free retro t-shirt worth £9.95. Roll on winter.

Inchcape Chelmsford Westway, Chelmsford, CM1 3BH. Telephone: 01245 268826. www.inchcapechelmsford.volkswagen.co.uk

shaun@theedgemag.co.uk

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Crack’d Mirror Should comedy reflect society or just shut up about politics and give us McIntyre depth distraction, writes Monkey Poet? It’s a valid question. Currently in the country there is a widening gap, not only in the 1%’ richest and the rest of us tread-millers, but in the entertainment world too. There are those who wish to be seen as political commentators and those who wish to merely entertain and it is that use of the word ‘merely’ that betrays some of the inherent snobbery in the arts, and in comedy in particular. I hope Michael McIntyre forgives me using his name because I admire him greatly, but he is something of a poster boy for candy-bar comedy high in sugar and hollow carbohydrates, low in sustenance and mental nourishment. Dario Fo used the phrase ‘culinary theatre’ to describe the audiences habit of eating, digesting, and.…forgetting what they had seen. In the early nineties, when comedy began to be a viable career path, I don’t think anyone foresaw the juggernaut it would become. From playing to a handful of happy punters in a backroom to playing the largest spaces in the land, the Arena’s, comedy has become the new Rock’n’Roll. And just like the fat dinosaur rock bands of the 70’s one wonders if there is a lean lithe punk movement waiting in the wings to smash it all to pieces. Then, just as now, there was a discontented youth, high unemployment, and a Government increasingly out of touch with the populace. A major difference today is that thanks to the internet and social media, a politician hasn’t even finished his speech before people are tweeting that he’s a lying bastard sponsored by Tesco.

EZE

One almost feels sorry for Cameron, Clegg and Osborne, the pantomime villains of Politics, as they merely have to come onto the screen and audiences audibly hiss and boo. I said almost.

Page 24

The problem with Social Comment Comedy is that, damn, it’s pretty hard to miss as these targets are so big. And if it’s hard to miss them then it’s hard for the comedian to hit, as good comedy relies on the unexpected. People also genuinely do want to have a good night out and forget about the whole bloody mess that we have inexorably slid into. This explains the rise and rise of Peter Kay and the aforementioned McIntyre. Fantastic comedians, they transport the audience to Laughter Valley, but that’s it. You go out, you laugh, you go home, take a dump, then go to sleep. However, the nation at the moment has been truly united, politicised and radicalised by the current Government, as virtually everybody hates them and Milliband is not offering a solid alternative (sorry, Ed, but you’re rubbish). Therefore political comedy is definitely on the rise. But social commentator, beware! Unless you’re careful you can end up preaching to the converted, and they don’t like being preached to. “Politician’s are rubbish” “I know.” “They all smell of rhubarb.” “I know.” While political comedy is in danger of losing itself in its own audience, I’ve noticed, when touring around the country, that there’s been an openmindedness in audiences I was warned would be heavily conservative, and a willingness to engage in political discourse as well as have a laugh. Politics, it seems, is back on the menu. Monkey Poet has won seven Fringe awards. He’s currently on tour and will be performing his show entitled ‘Welcome’ at the Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford, on Thursday 26th January. To book tickets, go to www.chelmsford.gov.uk/theatres or call 01245 606505. Tickets are £10.00, concessions £8.00. www.monkeypoet.co.uk

The Edge 01245 348256


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To Infiniti and beyond... Zagger Fashion Group in Baddow Road, Chelmsford, became the place to visit last month with the exclusive launch of the luxury Infiniti car series. The collaboration, organised by Chris Geer, Managing Director of Zagger, and Paul Watts-Barnes of Infiniti, was the first of its kind in Essex. Chris is now ‘ambassador’ of the Infiniti brand for Essex through his Enterprise Group, and showcasing the FX, EX, G and M Series models in the street was his first step towards introducing the Infiniti range to the general public. So who are Infiniti? Infiniti are part of the Nissan Corporation, headed by Carlos Ghosn, and co-sponsors of World Champion Formula One racing driver Sebastian Vettel alongside Red Bull.

Chris Geer spoke to The Edge about the concept and his vision for the Infiniti brand throughout Essex. “There are very few car companies showing anything new in the UK motor industry at the moment. Infiniti are creating a niche in the market by offering luxury vehicles at affordable prices for a whole new generation of car consumers. “I am very proud to be associated with Infiniti and firmly believe they are a company with a positive future in automotive solutions.” Zagger clients were presented with exclusive Infiniti goodie bags throughout the two week promotion period and several customers booked test drives in their preferred Infiniti vehicle.

Head of Infiniti Design, Shiro Nakamura and his team in Atsugi, Tokyo, take inspiration from Japanese calligraphy, architecture, fashion and music in their quest to style a beautifully balanced fleet of vehicles.

Chris Geer - driving fashion forward.

For enquiries contact chris.geer@zagger.co.uk Infiniti has already come a long way. Born in the US from its Nissan parent company, the brand now has a presence in China, Russia and Switzerland, as well as 40 centres across Europe, including the UK. Already Infiniti has become fast renowned for its ‘attention to detail’, which is why the range provides a seamless match with Zagger. shaun@theedgemag.co.uk

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MAN FLU

Before we start, let’s be clear about one thing: Man Flu doesn’t exist. If, as a man, you’ve ever ‘had’ it, then (in medical terms) you’re a great, galloping jessie. It’s that season where everyone seems to have a cold or the flu, but have you ever wondered why?

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ME & MY adamantium skeleton

Basically, this ‘holiday’ was just made up in the 1800’s, supposedly by bored soldiers from the Napoleonic wars. Originally it was literally a festival involving little more than getting right royally pissed, fighting and setting things on fire (we call it The Premier League in the UK) but after a while, and for Odin knows why, the festival suddenly acquired a Nordic theme.

****

Finally, a Doctor who gets it. With just a tiny bit of knowledge you’d know that both viruses and bacteria don’t like the cold weather anymore than we do, nor can you catch a cold or a ‘chill’ simply because it happens to be cold. Medical ‘advice’ such as this is on a par with sticking a toad under your bed to get rid of warts, so if you ever hear anything like it, I suggest a swift elbow to the ovaries is in order. Whatever the reason behind the cold and flu ‘season’, I’m currently surrounded by people coughing and spluttering and complaining all day long at the moment, yet once again I find myself immune to bacterial blandishments of any kind. I often joke about my Wolverine-esque immune system, but, by and large, it’s actually true.

The Kingmeister reports

ble, so you do actually end up feeling worse than you really are. But you won’t actually have the flu. If you aren’t running a fever and you’re not aching to the tips of your hair follicles, then it’s not flu. Poor baby just has an ickle cold, so shut up moaning about it. The next time you get ill, try the Kingpin method of self healing. Just carry on as normal and tell yourself you’ll be right as rain in a day or two, and I bet you will be. If you can’t manage this though, go and bloody moan somewhere else will you?

HAPPY HOLIDAYS?

The lovely HIV virus, which I got over in about 3 days. I do get ill on occasion, but unless it’s really bad, I refuse to take any form of medication as I want my immune system to earn its keep, thank you very much, and while there’s no medical evidence to support the claim that this will make my immune system stronger, I still think that not relying on ‘medicinal crutches’ at the first sign of a runny nose is a very good thing. The second secret weapon in my immune system arsenal is the fact that if and when I do get ill, I just ignore it and keep on going. Moping about and whinging about how ill I feel will only do two things: (1) make me feel worse (2) make me look like an effeminate ponce. Bizarrely, in the case of the common Rhinovirus - or cold at least - the medical profession is actually backing me up on this one. Colds are apparently highly susceptible to emotional and psychosomatic responses. So basically, you can easily get a little sniffle and then convince yourself you’ve got the flu and you feel terri-

Page 26

I’ve saved the best ’til last. In fact, even I’m surprised that I’m ranking this last one above both monkeys and sex, but there you go. If you travel to the Shetland Isles, you may be lucky enough to witness the insane and drunken glory that is called ‘Up Helly Aa’.

So it’s all over again for another year. We’ve survived yet another Christmas and New Year where I assume we all indulged in the time honoured traditions of getting pissed, getting fat and possibly making unwelcome advances to one of the girls in Accounts.

Seriously, what’s not to like in this? It’s already making Christmas look like a dick, isn’t it? What’s not to like about seeing a massive table of food being swarmed all over by monkeys for a few hours, before watching the inevitable fighting, fornication and shit-flinging break out? OK, I guess you could argue the food would be better off going to the homeless or orphans or whatever, but on the other hand: Monkeys! In Russia there’s a public holiday called ‘The day of Conception’. Alarmed at the falling birth rates in the Motherland, the enterprising (and obviously insanely brilliant) Governor of Ulyanovsk created a new holiday for the people. On September 12 each year the citizens of Ulyanovs are given a day off of work, and this day off is given over solely to what renowned romance writer Barabara Cartland called: “Maximum Boneage”.

Nowadays the festival of ‘Up Helly Aa’ still involves copious amounts of drinking and burning things, but now they do it in Viking armour while they wave axes and broadswords around. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? Swearing allegiance to the ‘Guizer Jarl’ for the day, groups of men design their own coats of arms before donning their armour and then marching down streets lined with petrol soaked torches, singing Viking battle hymns, just before burning a full sized replica of a Viking longboat.

Church of England take note: This is how you do shit. “Ho-Ho-Ho. Ah, bollocks to the lot of yer.” Now, I’m not about to go into the expected anti-religious rant about Christmas as we’ve pretty much beaten that camel and its wise man to death over the years. But what I will complain about though is what’s probably our most treasured holiday being a bit shit, at least compared to holidays in some other countries. If we lived in Thailand, for example, we could all be celebrating the ‘National Monkey Buffet’ once a year. Yes, this is truly as awesome as it sounds. Every year in the Lopburi province of Thailand a huge feast is created by some of the countries top chefs, purely for the enjoyment of thousands of monkeys.

“Man, I love me some bonin’!” That’s right, for one day a year you get a free day off work purely to have as much sex as you can. OK, I’m sure the sex is supposed to be with your actual husband or wife as opposed to a free-for-all-f ***athon in the streets (and I’m trade marking that name for Children in Need next year), but it’s a genius idea all the same.

I think part of the reason I like ‘Up Helly Aa’ so much is that it isn’t from a long and storied tradition and it’s pretty much been made up for the excuse of getting hammered, dressing up in armour and burning things all day because, well, why the hell not? So next year, rather than a few nights out down the local and too many mince pies, who fancies a trip up to the Shetland Isles? Count me in!

Thing is, we don’t actually have to go all the way to a different continent for this sort of shenanigans though, and

www.theedgemag.co.uk


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The Ground is NOT Your Ashtray Spotted a van with the words above written on the side of it. Reckon it must be a council van and the message is self explanitary. It disgusts The Edge when it sees a mound of cigarette tabs discarded on the floor, usually in car-parks. Only filthy disgusting scuzzers would even dream of doing such a thing, but you still wouldn’t do such on your own living-room floors, would you? SO STOP ACTING LIKE SCUM.

Keeping Pavements Clean & Tidy Spotted this steam cleaner chappy near Liverpool Street, London. Let’s be having ‘some of that’ in Chelmsford, please. Particularly outside greasy take-away outlets instead of unsightly congealed gunk trodden into the paving slabs. Let’s see some much needed pride restored to our town in 2012.

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Jiu-Jitsu

Upcoming events for 2012 at Laurence Sandum’s Black Belt Martial Arts Acadamy in Boreham (see back page) include a 1-day Jiu-Jitsu seminar on 7th January 2012 with Tom Starling. Then on 18th/19th February, for the first time ever in the United Kingdom, Master Pedro Sauer, 8th degree BJJ Gracie Black Belt, will be holding a 2-day seminar. The Academy, at Church Road, Boreham, is rated a National Center of Excellence for Martial Arts. Over 40 classes per week are available at this purpose built Martial Arts Centre including Kickboxing, Muay Thai, BJJ, MMA, JKD, Jun Fan Wing Chun and Kali Self Defence. For further information of future seminars and classes, contact the academy on 01245 467680 or visit www.blackbeltmartialarts.com

NEW SOCKS

If The Edge was rich it’d wear a brand new pair of socks every single day. Clean socks are fine and to be expected, but slipping ones feet into a brand new pair of socks each day - now that really would be a luxury. What quirky things would you do if you became dead rich, readers? Email the mag with your suggestions to be published, please.

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bang-olufsen.com The Edge 01245 348256

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FIFTY...NOT OUT

by Steve Ward Intrusions Here’s a little test. It’s a simple question, but the answer you give will reveal several things about you. The question is; what does the phrase ‘Big Brother’ mean to you’? If your answer is anything to do with attention seeking misfits, then you will immediately label yourself as firstly, young, and secondly, stupid. On the other hand, if you include the words Orwell and George in your response, you immediately rule out the stupid bit, but you could be of any age. There is a third option, but it’s a derivative of the George Orwell answer in that ‘Big Brother’ has now come to be attached to anything that the authorities do to keep an eye on the plebs. In other words, it’s now a shorthand and lazy way of complaining about the ever increasing power of the state. You will know, because it is an oft repeated statistic, that this country has more CCTV cameras per head of population than anywhere else in the world. There are so many of the buggers you actually don’t notice them any more. But they notice you. Should you park illegally for a couple of minutes to pick up your drycleaning, and think you’ve got away with it, don’t be so sure. A few weeks later, the number plate has been traced to you and that will be £60 please, sir. Or £120 if you should delay payment. On the other hand, just try to get anyone to make use of them if your car is broken into. Although the perpetrators will have been caught on tape somewhere, the police won’t be interested. “Here’s a crime reference number - claim on your insurance,” is the unspoken recommendation, thereby backing up the thought that these things are there to subjugate the masses, not for anything seriously linked to crime prevention or detection. Just like their sinister cousins, speed cameras, they are there only to let you know ‘they’ are in charge, and you are one of the little people. You are a nuisance that needs to be controlled by superior beings. All this came to mind recently when Oxford Council decided that every single taxi in their borough would be fitted with a CCTV camera which would also record Page 28

the occupants’ conversation. Despite the drip drip effect that dulls your thinking to the point whereby you no longer notice the ever increasing surveillance, this particular intrusion did register loud and clear. Just who do Oxford Councillors think they are? How can they be so arrogant as to even contemplate this gross invasion into your privacy. And let’s get this straight, once you have hired a taxi, it’s your space. When questioned, the spokesman for the council came out with the usual bullshit about the recordings being available only to authorised officers to use as evidence in the case of a crime being committed. Right. Hand’s up if you believe that? Let’s imagine Hugh Grant is taking a taxi in Oxford with a lady friend. Should something a little tasty slip out, do you actually believe the recording would be destroyed, even though no crime has been committed? Or, more likely, do you think that some under-paid and bored little twerp in the council offices will decide to make a bob or two and flog it to the tabloids? Take it further. Hughie finds out that the recordings have been used illegally. Who should he complain to? The police? Would that be the same police that Leveson has uncovered were being paid by the tabloids too? OK, so you don’t have much sympathy for the floppy haired one, but think if it was you, slightly tired and emotional in the back of a cab and maybe spouting things you wouldn’t really want the world to hear when you’re sober enough to realise what you said. Even if you aren’t interesting enough to be tabloid fodder, do you really want some ill educated git with a bad haircut and cheap suit at the council offices reviewing what you were up to and having a laugh at your expense? Calling all his colleagues over to join in the fun? Maybe even posting it online? This idea is just so wrong it’s unbelievable that the jumped up little bureaucrats could conceive of it in the first place. But that’s what a little power does to people. Despite their rightful status as nobodies, they come to believe the small amount of clout vested in them by dint of working for ‘an authority’ can be expanded to thinking they are much better than you. It’s not likely that the proposal has been thought through to a logical conclusion either. If the Oxford cab drivers are anything like their London cabbie cousins the recordings will contain not much at all from the passengers. No, but there will be an endless stream of right wing rhetoric about immigration, how we ought to bring back hanging, and what the country needs now is a large dose of Margaret Thatcher. Oh, and how bad Arsenal are at the moment. Given such a probability, the council might find itself embarrassed into prosecuting the very people it purports to be protecting. The biter bit, as it were.

And serve them right too.

To comment on this article email: steveward2000@hotmail.com


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“THAT BUTTON’S GOOD, INNIT?”

The Edge took not one, not two, but three different Alfa Romeo Mito’s out for testdrives all in one morning recently and definitely knows which one it fancies. But the question is, which one would you go for, readers?

are not on its wavelength.

First up was the 1.4 Multiair TCT Lusso (135bhp) and if I let my head rule my heart, then this would be the Mito for me.

I’ve just had a quick look at some of the cars you ‘genuinely’ might consider instead of a Mito and think you’d be as MAD as a hatter to buy a VW UP, a Kia Picanto, a Nissan Leaf (as in lettuce?), a Toyota Yaris (aren’t they just a teeny weeny bit ‘old hat’ these days), a Honda Jazz (oh, I really don’t think so), a Nissan Juke (ah, now The Edge does actually like the Juke very much indeed), a Peugeot iOn (oh come on, be serious), a Hyundai....(STOP RIGHT THERE because it doesn’t matter what it’s name is if it starts with Hyundai), a Mazda 2, an Audi A1 (OK, now that is a genuine contender), a Suzuki Swift (er, nah) etc.

As opposed to the 1.6 Diesel Veloce (120bhp), which is quite strange, me being a dyed in the wool ‘diesel man’ and all. Because to let your heart rule your head would ultimately mean opting for the amazing 1.4 Cloverleaf (170bhp) version, and that little baby is just fun, fun, FUN all the way. Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions, decisions. The thing about these cute little Mito’s is that they each have a DNA switch (or ‘button’) and when you flick it, it honestly feels as though they’re transformed to warpfactor mode, it’s that instant, that dramatic.

Yeah, yeah, you could buy a Mini instead, The Edge supposes, along with everyone else in Great Britain. But wouldn’t you rather stand out from the crowd by choosing a little Italian flair?

Whatever decision you come to, don’t live to regret it. So here’s a polite reminder of what you’d be missing....

Now that’s what The Edge calls sinister looking. Proper smokin’.

Can you see yourself behind the wheel?

But whatever car you’re thinking of buying in 2012, surely you have to like the look of it right from the off (which, come to think of it, is what I once quipped to the father-in-law after very first clapping eyes on his navy blue 2006 Citroen C5 ‘Landcrab’ - OMG). And in all seriousness, how can any of you not like the look of the baby Alfa Mito? In a word, this is one cool car and if you honestly cannot see it, then unfortunately, you clearly

Admit it, you’re falling for the Alfa Mito, aren’t you? You can’t help yourself.

Would you look at that? Red tyres!

ALFA ROMEO MAKES PASSION MAKE SENSE. With its unique Alfa D.N.A. selectable drive mode system, sportscar looks and responsive engines, Alfa MiTo is a sensation to drive. But with Alfa Romeo’s 5 years or 50,000 miles complimentary servicing*, peace of mind warranty package and fuel efficient technology, it also makes a lot of sense. Talk to our sales team today about our flexible finance options from 0% APR^ representative.

WITHOUT HEART WE WOULD BE MERE MACHINES.

COUNTY MOTOR WORKS EASTERN APPROACH, SPRINGFIELD, CHELMSFORD, ESSEX CM2 6PN 01245 235050 www.countymotorworksalfaromeo.co.uk Model shown Alfa MiTo 1.4 8v 78 bhp Sprint at £13,375 OTR including Alfa Red Special Paint at £425. Range of official fuel consumption figures for the Alfa MiTo Range: Urban 34.9 – 61.4 mpg (8.1 – 4.6 l/100km); Extra Urban 58.9 – 94.2 mpg (4.8 – 3.0 l/100km); Combined 47.1 – 78.5 mpg (6.0 – 3.6 l/100km); CO2 emissions 139 – 95 g/km. Prices correct at time of going to press December 2011. OFFER SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY WHILE STOCKS LAST, BEFORE 31 MARCH 2012. FINANCE SUBJECT TO STATUS. GUARANTEES/INDEMNITIES MAY BE REQUIRED. TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY. OFFERS MAY BE WITHDRAWN OR AMENDED WITHOUT PRIOR NOTIFICATION. ^0% APR REPRESENTATIVE HIRE PURCHASE AVAILABLE OVER A 3 YEAR TERM WITH A MINIMUM DEPOSIT OF 30%. WE WORK WITH A NUMBER OF CREDITORS TO PROVIDE FINANCE TO OUR CUSTOMERS, INCLUDING ALFA ROMEO FINANCIAL SERVICES, PO BOX 108, LEEDS LS27 0WU. *5 YEARS COMPLIMENTARY SERVICE PLAN OR 50,000 MILES – OFFER APPLIES TO VEHICLES REGISTERED BETWEEN 1 JANUARY TO 31 MARCH 2012. SERVICE PLAN INCLUDES SCHEDULED SERVICING ONLY OCCURRING WITHIN 5 YEAR PERIOD OR 50,000 MILE LIMIT, WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST AND EXCLUDES WEAR AND TEAR ITEMS. THE SERVICE PLAN CAN ONLY BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH PCP, HP, APP OR A CASH PURCHASE. RETAIL SALES ONLY. OFFER CORRECT AT TIME OF PRINTING. TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY. SEE OUR WEBSITE FOR FULL DETAILS.

The Edge 077 646 797 44

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TOTALLY TRACIE What’s In A Name?

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So girls, Happy New Year to you all. It’s estimated that in the month of January nearly 8 million women globally turn their attentions to Internet Lurve and decide that it’s out with the old and in with the new. But before you can meet the man of your dreams on an Internet Dating Site, you need to jump some pretty big hurdles because the hardest part is not parting with the money when you could have bought a new pair of shoes instead. No, it’s choosing a Screen Name so you can trawl the site, which is by no means an easy task. Such has to be done with great care and thought out from a man‘s perspective. Never, ever, under any circumstances, use anything like Bitch123 as your moniker no matter how much of one you are, or Princess, because you may as well just put ‘highmaintenance123’ and have done with it. Similarly, any name that includes, Cute, Hot, Babe or SexKitten are best avoided UNLESS you want to be inundated with mobile phone pictures of men’s naughty bits, which is not so good if you’re checking your emails on the bus or at work. Anything related to your cat or the words Angel, Halo or Sweet will probably see your inbox remain empty for evermore. Let’s face it, men, despite what they say, are only interested in one thing and it’s our job to make them think they are at least in with a chance of getting it. Larger ladies should definitely avoid the words Cuddly, Hippo or Baby Elephant to stand a chance of getting a few dates because we all know how shallow men are and how they think a beer belly and an extra chin definitely looks sexy on them. Finally, don’t even think of using anything like UR_Future-exwife, Killerwoman, BunnyBoiler or Crossmeifyoudare for reasons that should need no explanation.

Girls On Film

So you’ve paid your money and joined a dating site, come up with a Screen Name and now the fun really starts as it’s time to upload some photographs. Your pictures need to say a thousand words, so the first rule is: less is more. Seeing you standing in a group shot with some guy's tongue in your

ear, or with a series of several obviously ex-boyfriends in every single one of your sixteen shots, is not advisable. Find some software with a crop tool. Do not, I repeat, do not leave ‘him’ in the picture and paint over his face with an angry black paintbrush. This makes you come across as slightly unhinged. When uploading images of yourself in some bar with some of your girlfriends, make sure that every single one of them isn't prettier than you because it is just so annoying to receive emails asking, "Who is your friend?” or “Do the pair of you have sleepovers together?" It is also not a good idea to show yourself holding a drink in every single shot if you’re about to state on your profile that you only ever drink in ‘moderation’. Remember, it’s only men that lie! Finally, no matter how desperate you are to pose in your underwear in the hope of attracting a man sooner rather than later, remember that noone likes to see those kind of photo’s before breakfast, do they?

Me Me Me Right - your profile! Definitely do not put a search radius of 5,000 miles and include anyone between the age of 21 - 65. You may be desperate, but it’s a definite no-no to come across as such. Nor should you post comments like “love to have fun“ because your idea of fun and a man’s idea of fun are two entirely different things. And don’t put “like to hang out with my girlfriends” either because men get excited and take things like that in totally the wrong way. Also avoid mentioning your kids or pets because men like to think you are totally devoted to them and them alone. If you’re ever actually lucky enough to meet a man, remember the following:1. Nice men are ugly. 2. Handsome men are not nice. 3. Handsome and nice men are gay. 4. Handsome, nice and heterosexual men are married. 5. Men who are not so handsome, but are nice men, have no money. 6. Men who are not so handsome, but are nice men with money, think we are only after their money. 7. Handsome men without money are after our money. 8. Handsome men who are not so nice but are heterosexual don't think we are beautiful enough. 9. Men who think we are beautiful and who are heterosexual, nice and have money, are cowards. 10.Men who are handsome, nice and have some money and are heterosexual are shy and never make the first move. 11. It’s sod’s law that men who never make the first move automatically lose interest in us the moment we try to take the initiative! Who can possibly understand men? Conclusion: Girls, you’re probably far better off saving the money on the Dating Site and buying a lovely new pair of shoes instead!

Tracie123@aol.com


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5 Duke Street, Chelmsford. Tel: 352833

website: krafftjewellers.com email: enquiries@krafftjewellers.com

NURSERY & PRE-SCHOOL

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inning Award W Bullying 's Anti Children Self tial Arts and Mar Classes to Defence ur child o y h c a e t "we will he bully f e d eat t fighting" without


The Edge Magazine January 2012