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the ISSUE NO: 277
‘THE CHELMSFORD FANZINE’
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the little Photo-Box type booth with the quack and his pointy needle, he asked me the exact same question AGAIN!
ONCE Is it just me, or does Liam Gallagher’s Once sound somewhat similar to John Lennon singing Jealous Guy?
WIFE LEFT ME She didn’t really leave me (see page 12), but those 10 days did feel like a bit of a long time. She sodded off to Los Angeles with a couple of her girlie friends, and then on to Vagas to see Circus Soleil, and also to check out the Hoover Dam (yes, that’s what I thought - ‘That’s not a particularly girlie thing to do’).
The Edge Editor’s Column “IT’S RAINING, MUMMY” Without a word of a lie, I was walking out of Tesco when a mother and her toddler were walking in and I heard the child state (the bleedin’ obvious): “It’s raining, mummy.” To which her mother replied, “Yes, it is, isn’t it? I much prefer the rain to the sunshine.” And I thought to myself, ‘You what?’ Because it never, ever occurs to me that some folk seemingly think completely differently to moi.
FLU JAB Popped into Boots at Chelmo Village Rattle Park to have my annual £12.99 Flu Jab on the last day of September to hopefully protect myself against the germs and gremlins of winter, and was fortunate enough to have ‘the prick’ administered immediately. What wasn’t so fortunate was the assistant behind the counter quite openly asking me, in front of other folks, “Are you over 65?” And to add insult to injury, once I’d gotten into
NOEL FIELDING I didn’t think I liked Noel Fielding before I started watching him on Bake Off, but he’s alreet, ’inee? But OMG, he’s got some very strange ideas when it comes to his own personal dress sense. Sure, I accept that he likes to be different. But he borders on the ridiculous far too many times to mention. Bless him.
SEEDED BAPS I do like those little seeds (like black & white hundreds & thousands) they put on their granary batons at Sainsbury’s, but dear oh dear, they get absolutely everywhere. For starters, they get all over the rest of your shopping in your shopping bag and then, when you finally haul it indoors, they’re immediately all over the kitchen worktop as soon as you’ve put your shopping down to rest. Only don’t get me started on where they eventually end up, once you take a bread knife to the thing. In your hair (even mine), up your nose, in your ears, and even in one’s belly-button.
SOMETHING BORROWED What is it about borrowing books from the library? You’ll get to page 126, or whatever, only to be confronted by a total stranger’s stray pubic hair, or dried bogey, or something of that ilk.
LESS NOISE People pacing about whilst talking far too loudly in public places on their mobile phones, what with their mockney Essex accents, grandly gesticulating with their spare hand and arm, as though painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Simply stand still and make far less noise.
BBQ HULA HOOPS Did you happen to see that Tom Allen fella’s stage performance recorded for TV recently? You know, the gay guy who does ‘Bake Off: Extra Slice’ with Jo Brand. He is excellent. I was honestly in tears when he kept on saying, “Barbecue Hula Hoops” in that voice of his, as it was so ridiculously funny (N.B. You obviously had to see it for it to work). I think the bloke is hilarious, although I accept it’s always a matter of individual taste.
SAD NEWS INDEED This is only for those of you who remember The Edge’s very first edition, way back in October of 1996. Do you remember the front cover? There was a guy on it called ‘Big Al’ Brasted, a roadworker, bending over and showing a good couple of inches of arse-crack. I guess Chelmsford must have wondered what had hit it. Anyway, the sad news has reached The Edge that Al recently passed away at the tender age of just 80, while that particular photograph has been on my desk for the past 23 years. THE EDGE Chelmsford CM2 6XD 0 77 646 797 44 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Edge 01245 348256
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The worst one’s got to be repugnant body odour. If you have access to a bathroom with hot running water on a daily basis, there can surely be excuses. Then there’s the godawful stench of McDonald’s take-outs and such like. Openly consumed on public transport. So you think that’s acceptable, do you? Really? How disrespectful. Oh and the fact that you’ve farted and the stench that’s been omitted is an expression of what lurks within you find amusing, simply goes to show what a small-minded, ill-mannered, ignorant prick you truly are. There really shouldn’t be a need for rules that say you mustn’t do this and you cannot do that, because in all of the instances described above, instinctive self-tutoring ought to be the norm. Possessing a natural ability to immediately sense the difference between right and wrong. Understanding and being respectful of etiquette and not being so damned ignorant or selfish. Then again, there are those who seemingly need such basic values knocking into them and until they’ve learnt, they genuinely shouldn’t be allowed into the public domain. Try to remember, it’s NOT all about you. But if you genuinely happen to think that it is, sure, blame your parents, but also have enough nous to do the right thing and change/develop.
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Paul Jeffs Fisheye Photography
WHAT THIS PICTURE SAYS TO THE EDGE... That’s right, bitch....come to MAMA!
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“To see what happened next, turn to page 17”
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Chelmsford Rugby Club are now in their 99th season, which astonishingly means they’ve been going for even longer than The Edge. Oh sure, they’ve got men’s teams. But were you aware they’ve an U-6 team and other teams right the way up to a veterans team (for ages 35+ ... and apparently it’s heavy on the +). But what about a bit of this too (see above)? Yep, ladies playing rugger! That’s right, Chelmsford R.C. have one of th largest mini and youth sections in the county, as well as 5 senior rugby teams catering for both lads’n’lasses. This summer in particular, their women’s team, Bluebirds XV, carried on training throughout the off-season period, despite the rock hard pitches, in order to capitalise on the many new players they have recently recruited in order for everyone to familiarise themselves with each other. A huge driving factor in this has been a former teammate, Stef Evans, who now plays for Richmond Women in the Tyrrell’s Premier 15s. Stef helps to coach the Bluebirds XV when she isn’t playing herself and, together with personal trainer and Dietician Kristen O’ Connell, she put together a strength and conditioning programme for the squad to get stuck into. As a result, much of the squad entered the new season fitter than ever before. The Bluebirds also welcomed back 3 players from maternity leave, some literally hours after they’d received their doctor’s sign off. Laura Farnsworth, Marcys Jackowska and Victoria Boyd all took to the pitch just as soon as was humanly possible and have put in such physical effort that it has been applauded by all concerned at the club. Meanwhile, the senior chaps have been working with local gym Powering Through Performance, in particular with trainers William Wayland and Iain Couling, in order to undertake an impressive strength and conditioning programme. It is not possible to oversell this. Wayland runs an excellent outfit and works with a wide range of athletes to develop strength and power applicable to their own particular sport, from golf to rugby and everything else in between. The gains seen in some of the Blue Boys has been astounding, while it should also aid injury prevention, something the club are always keen to capitalise on.
Continued on page 18
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The time we spend on landline telephone calls has halved in the past six years amid evidence young people find having a conversation daunting and far prefer to send text messages or emails. But is it just young people? In fact, do any of us want to ‘sit on’ the blower anymore these days when, instead, we can just ‘say our piece’, send it, job done. And be honest, are we even interested in the reply; of hearing another person’s perspective? Evolution, eh? Come to think of it, when was the last time any of us sent someone a hand written letter that wasn’t a complaint to a service provider, The Edge wonders?
Is Chelmsford now playing host to professional beggars? Because if we are, and The Edge has reason to be highly suspicious, then that is plain sick. First of all, it saddens me that we have homeless people on our streets at all, but for some folk to then pretend to be homeless, simply because they think they can make a fast buck out of it...Jesus, people of that mind must truly be the lowest of the low. Homelessness should disturb each and every one of us, but what can and what should we do about it? I recently got in touch with a local charity to ask them if The Edge could help in any way, publicity wise, in order to aid getting their message across to the wider general public. But strangely, I didn’t even receive the curtesy of a reply, which shocked me. People fall upon hard times for a multitude of reasons and the fact is, many of them presumably don’t even see it coming. I always tend to think: ‘There but for the grace of god....’ because the reality of the matter is that it’s a truly terrifying prospect. But for people to sit about in Chelmsford, with their mobile phones, smoking their fags, pretending to be homeless. Now that is simply the pits.
Chelmsford Market looks so much better these days, now that they’ve refaced it and got rid of all that miserable terracotta/turd-brown colour. But oh look, they’ve missed a bit. So please can someone slap a bit of white paint over the offending patch, as that’d be truly grand, would that. Even the concrete pillars of the car-park (above) don’t look so bad or Sloughlike anymore, so it’s been a job well done, has that. Walking though Bell Meadow (the parkland area immediately out the back of the tradesman’s entrance of M&S on New London Road) the other Sunday morning, The Edge was well chuffed to see not a scrap of litter on the ground, in this it’s favourite Chelmo park. Lovely new (I’d never noticed it before) area with tables and benches for eating an al fresco lunch, or enjoying a coffee, too. But pray, where’s our ‘soldier’ gone, standing guard with his wooden rifle? Sometimes he’s there and sometimes he’s not. It’d be nice if he became a permanent fixture. Actually makes you feel proud of the city you live in when people don’t abuse it by chucking litter all over the place. Keep it up, folks.
PROPER EDGE LEGEND
It doesn’t use it and nor is it interested in it. But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be using it. So if you feel as though you might be a bit of a Mini-Me, with The Edge Editor working on the physical publication and you working on all of The Edge’s cyberspace stuff, then please get in touch and tell me how you think we could work together.
01245 348256 077 646 797 44 firstname.lastname@example.org The Edge 01245 348256
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You may have seen us serving up our Po’Boys on our stall during the summer. Our main aim is to change the flavours of the menu and give our customers a variety of dishes throughout the year, whilst keeping calamari and a vegan alternative in the spotlight.
‘BOB’ IN ACTION! theedgemag.co.uk/subscribe receivetheedgedirectto yourtabletorcough mixtureorlaptopor whereverthehellyou wanttoreceiveit withoutleaving yourhomeoryour officeoryour deckchair. it’sverysimple. allyouneedtodo isSUBSCRIBE
As the nights draw in and the weather gets colder, we have worked on a new menu to keep your bellies warm and tantalize your taste buds. We have taken inspiration from our love of Moroccan inspired recipes and food we both love to eat.
Flavours to Keep you Warm We are now serving warm flatbreads, topped with a smoked garlic aubergine puree, harissa, parsley, crispy ras el hanout spiced calamari (or cauliflower), fennel pickled radish, herby lemon mayo, finished off with sumac powder. Here’s a little sneak preview into one of our recipes:
Fennel Pickled Radishes Bag of radishes (any you fancy) 300ml cider vinegar tablespoon of dried fennel teaspoon of salt/pepper tablespoon of brown sugar
When and Where Next? Now that the sun has disappeared and the wet weather is settling in, our appearances at open markets will be somewhat less than during the summertime. However, we do have some local dates to share with you during the lead up to Christmas. Hope to see you there, and please do say ‘hello’ if you happen to read our columns in The Edge. Saturday 16th November Braintree Market - Christmas Light switch on Saturday 7th December Braintree Christmas Market Sunday 8th December Colchester Christmas Market Saturday 21st December Braintree Christmas Market Check out more at www.cocktailsandcalamari.com Instagram - cocktailsandcalamari
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KIDS READING THE EDGE
Did you happen to read the one about Heston Blumineck ‘causing outrage’ (what, really?) for claiming that women simply cannot become top chefs because an awful lot of pots and pans are far too heavy for them to lift? Fancy having five Michelin tyres to your name and coming out with a thing like that, ladies? (Or maybe it’s because he’s got all those gongs that he feels as though he’s entitled to make such a crass remark?) To be fair, Heston’s not alone, as the animal that is MPW (Marco Pierre White) has also backed him up on this most unsuitably salient point, himself being branded a ‘rambling dinosaur’ for his troubles (which The Edge bets the Frenchman absolutely loves). Fact is though, women apparently make up under 20% of chefs in the UK. That said, so where on earth did all of those Bernard Manning ‘a woman’s place is in the kitchen’ jokes come from, fortunately all those years ago? However, Heston also went on to say, “We need to eat to be fulfilled, but not to be full. We need to eat less, and think about eating more.” You see what he’s really saying with all of his word trickery? But with The Edge’s annual Christmas Day lunch approaching swiftly upon the horizon, will I really be asking my wife for a smaller portion?
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There’s a particular term I keep hearing more and more frequently these days and the more I hear it, the more I loathe it. ‘Influencer’. I don’t think there are many people out there that are less worthy of such a title. In case anyone is unfamiliar with what this ‘job’ entails, they are basically those Instagram accounts who consistently post pictures for likes (and as a result will probably find themselves appearing on the next
series of Celebrity Love Island). Call me old fashioned, but if I am going to be ‘influenced’ by anyone, it’s going to be by someone with at least a couple of brain cells, a bit of personality, and most likely someone who has or is contributing something worthwhile to the world. That doesn’t have to be on a global scale. However, I would far rather my kids were growing up influenced by anyone out there who gets out of bed and works hard each day to make ends meet and in turn contributes towards society. But no, the ‘influencers’ that we are apparently to aspire to contribute to absolutely nothing except their extremely over-inflated egos. One of the worst things is that there doesn’t seem to be a single positive ‘influencer’ out there who isn’t trying to make the rest of our lives look inadequate by comparison. We are subjected to gushing photos of the perfect family - mum, dad and three kids - all happily frolicking by the sea, as they wear their matching white outfits with not a hint of dirt or snot on any of them. Then there are the self-proclaimed nutritionists who like to post every single thing they eat and nearly choke on their kale in disgust at us mere mortals who have dared to have a bowl of Rice Krispies for breakfast. Or what about the wannabe glamour model with enough collagen in her lips to float a small passenger ferry (which is actually kind of handy as she’s also wearing enough makeup to sink a ship), yet who also manages to use her kids as an accessory to the whole sorry charade. Even a simple trip to the cinema and the kids are dolled up in red lipstick whilst wearing an incredibly inappropriate version of a Mary Poppins outfit which obviously gets plastered all over social media. Spending thousands on Princess and Precious’s first birthday party, complete with mini zoo and ponies dressed as unicorns, won’t make you or them popular anywhere, other than on Instagram, regardless of how many likes you get. What it really shows to people is just how pretentious, shallow and des-
perate for attention you are. But why, as a society, are we even allowing this to be ‘a thing’? Quite frankly, looking at a friend’s holiday snaps can often be awfully dull, so why is anyone following these random people and feeding complete strangers egos with likes and comments? Why are we essentially letting them into our lives to tell us that we are apparently not up to their standard? The pictures we are shown are set up - they’re not real life. Apparently, the average time taken to create the ‘perfect’ Instagram picture is twenty minutes. Not so much catching the moment; rather a full-blown theatrical production. Whereas back in my day we had to wait three weeks to get a couple of films of holiday snaps back from Truprint, only to find out you’d had your finger across the lens in each and every one of them. I’d honestly have been grateful to have a single half-decent photo of me with a donkey to show for my two weeks in Torremolinos, never mind spending all that time trying to look flawless, purely to make other people jealous about my ‘lifestyle’. Fact is, they only show the good times (which we all have), but never the bad (which we also all have). I’m fairly sure their kids still fight and their **** still stinks, but they’d like us to believe they are some sort of superior beings. But perhaps the most infuriating part of all this is the fact that these wasters of oxygen are actually able to make a fortune for their troubles. We have the emergency services out there saving lives on a daily basis, nurses caring for sick children, the armed forces protecting our country, all of these people working their backsides off to make all of our lives better for what can be an inexcusably low salary for the job they do. Only then you have an ‘influencer’ who’s never done a proper days work in their life, raking in millions whilst they swan around contributing absolutely zilch. So, on that note, I am officially putting all of those so-called ‘influencers’ into Room 101. Rant over!
...YOU DO REALISE THE EDGE IS AVAILABLE ON PLATFORM ONE, DON’T YOU? Page 10
Whoever would buy such a thing to put in their garden?
#scaryoldgit The Edge 01245 348256
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but also emotional ones. The moment his health care worker asks him, “Have you had any negative thoughts recently?” and Joker responds with, "All I ever have are negative thoughts," this couldn't be more bang-on with the times we live in, particularly considering critical matters such as mental health awareness and just how important it is to aid those suffering with such distressing issues. Perhaps if she’d actually taken the time to listen to Arthur, then maybe the tragic events of his life that were about to unfold wouldn't have played out.
If you haven't seen this movie yet, but you are going to, then stop reading right now and we’ll catch up with each other a bit later…. Critics and cinema goers seem to either love this film, or hate it, and there doesn't seem to be too many people in the middle with their opinions. I, for one, thought it was an excellent piece of filmmaking that stays with you long after the credits have rolled. Before going to see it with Mrs Polak on a wet and windy midweek afternoon at our local Odeon, I thought I would read a few of its reviews and soon noticed that a couple of words kept creeping up in particular. Such words were ‘dark’ and ‘disturbing’, so I figured Joker had clearly moved on a tad from the frankly rather camp Batman & Robin movie starring George Clooney released some 22 years ago. Now normally when I go to the cinema, I must confess that I prefer proper popcorn movies. You know the type of thing, films that Sly and Arnie were great in back in the day (although seriously don't bother watching the new Rambo movie if you haven’t already, as it is bloody awful), rather than anything too hard hitting or serious, as the world we live in normally provides us with enough of that. But every now and then, Hollywood chucks out a movie that you really shouldn't avoid. Joker is definitely one of those movies; you simply need to see it. Although when I say that, I don't mean every one of you will enjoy it, as it's definitely not a comfortable film to watch by any stretch. But it's a film that is important to watch, bearing in mind its relevance to the state of the society we live in today. From the moment Arthur Fleck gets his advertising board stolen and is on the end of a quite unnecessary beating that results from his efforts in trying to get it back, Joker begins a very purposeful slow build, so that the viewer feels every ounce of his anger and pain, which comes from not just physical beatings throughout his life,
Then again, the incident that really kick-starts his unraveling spiral is a chance meeting with three Wall Street grade-A assholes who boast about their unsavoury deeds to a loan woman on an underground subway car, before moving on to their next potential victim, who they believe is laughing at them. Now supposing Arthur been been equipped with a clean bill of health and not had a particular form of tourettes that manifests itself in certain stressful situations, then maybe the young woman concerned would have faced certain harm. But as luck would have it, it is Arthur’s critical condition that diverts their attention to even more potential fun and once again, Arthur finds himself on the wrong end of a brutal and unnecessary beating. This ultimately becomes the straw that breaks the camel's back, with Arthur retaliating and shooting all three to their death. And it is from this point on that Joker becomes the inspiration to all of the poor, frustrated and angry citizens of Gotham City that use the killing of greed as an excuse to rebel against a system that they feel has let so very many of them down. A system that enabled Arthur, as a boy, to be adopted by his future abusive mother. With the resulting riots and the masses now conscious of the subway murders, Arthur finally feels that he is being noticed, which gives him the belief that killing those who have wronged him throughout his painful life is a justified means to an end, and it is at this point that plain old Arthur Fleck takes on the persona of the iconic character called Joker. I think the one question this movie ultimately asks of the viewer is whether Arthur/Joker is the victim, or the villain? Personally speaking, I think it must be a very rare person indeed who isn’t rooting for Arthur once he takes his revenge for the very first time. What this movie clearly shows is that everyone has a breaking point just before they snap and we should all try that little bit harder to think about other people's feelings and simply be a hell of a lot nicer to each other. Keep smiling. The Polak. x
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That’s right, readers, she bloody well did ’an all. At the end of September it was, for pretty much 10 entire days. And it’s odd, isn’t it, because you get comments like, “Oh, I’ll bet you had yourself a whale of a time, didn’t you?” Sadly, no, I didn’t. The house just felt empty and there were absolutely no sounds in it, other than the ones I was making. Sometimes, when I’m upstairs, comfy on the bed, watching a bit of the recorded footie highlights of an evening, my missus will be downstairs, curled up on the settee, watching some stuff that she likes, but more than likely I don’t much care for. But that’s fine, because it’s not just the sound of the downstairs tele floating upstairs, is it. I honestly think you can actually sense it when there’s someone else in the house with you, because you can feel their presence. But when I was on me Jack for 10 days, I couldn’t feel feck all and ended up going to bed really early on numerous occasions, either to read or watch something on TV (once as early as 7.30pm. Well, it’s miserable and dark by that time these days and I bloody well hate it). There were a few occasions where I managed to feel an exceedingly small semblance of contentment, but not many. For instance, I made a topping to go on a Spag Bol that ended up doing me for four nights. Talk about overkill. I also recall watching the very first episode of the brand new series of Doc Martin with glee, because I had a need to feel soothed (we both love it down in Cornwall and we’ve visited the county countless times. Oh and by the way, the series is filmed in Port Isaac, if you didn’t already know). On the one and only Friday night that my wife was AWOL (it’s 15 years since I regularly used to go to the pub of a Friday night and it’s of no interest whatsoever to me these days), I settled down to watch a movie I’d recorded called The Family with Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones. Surprisingly, as the newspaper hadn’t given it much praise, I loved it. It’s about a top Mafioso (De Niro) who’s put into a Witness Protection Programme in rural France, although he simply cannot shake off his bad old habits of handling things he doesn’t agree with. All told, with refilling my wine glass every five minutes and sending and answering text messages pretty much throughout, that particular movie ended up occupying me for almost five hours. (Although come to think of it, it’s director was Luc Besson, so no wonder it was half decent.) And how could I forget a simply brilliant episode of Room 101 (Extra Storage) with guests Gabby (Yorath) Logan, who looked better than I’ve ever seen her look before, Richard Ayoade (simply a brilliantly funny man) and some geezer called Alun Cochrane (comedian) who pretty much made the numbers up, but he was okay. I’ve always loved host Frank Skinner, who’s so very comfortable in his own skin these days, after at one time being a reet raging alcoholic. So these were three very much stand out programmes that truly helped me through my misery and loneliness, as you’ve got to watch stuff like Peaky Blinders together, haven’t you - so all of that type of stuff had to be put on the back burner until ’er indoors got back with me. It’s okay to love your wife to bits though, isn’t it? Even after 18 years of marriage and 23 years of living together. Because let’s face it, the alternative is, well, you’ve gone and picked a wrong ’un, haven’t you. Oh sure, Lurch said, “Come over to ours one evening, if you feel as though you’re at a bit of a loose end.” But Lurch’s wife had only just given birth to their second child, baby Willow (not sure who the father is this time around?), so you don’t, do you? Sad old bastard that I am, I’ve also got another mate who’s sort of on his tod, but has a dog, only we’re not really ‘that sort of mates’. And anyway, he reckons he’s “happy in his own company”. I’m not so sure I am. I think because I spend so very much of my working life in splendid isolation, whenever the evenings and weekends come around, the very last thing I’m craving is yet more time on me tod. Numerous people have often said to me, “You should have had kids. They’ll look after you in your lonely old age.” But who are they kidding? Generally speaking, unless you’re an incredibly close-knit family, your kids don’t really want to poke up with you at all, as they’ve got their own lives to lead and their own particular routines that they’re more than comfortable with. All things considered, those 10 days ended up making me think about a lot of things in far greater detail than I’ve ever done before. #sadoldgit Page 12
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Trade body, the Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom Specialists Association, (KBSA) recently announced the winners of its 2019 Designer Awards at the Stratford Manor Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon. The awards were presented following the KBSA conference and AGM on Wednesday 25th September by former England football team manager, Kevin Keegan OBE.
Indeed, the judges’ comments also made for very good reading where Regal Kitchens were concerned: “Inspiring to see so much design talent across so many different price points.” National chairman of KBSA, Richard Hibbert, said: “We offer our huge congratulations to all of the shortlisted designers and winners. The standards this year were extremely high, reflecting such outstanding talent amongst all of our members that we can all so be very proud of.” Founded in 1978, the KBSA is the only trade association operating specifically for the KBB industry and represents independent KBB specialists.
• Confidence that you are using a reputable and reliable company • Satisfaction that your chosen company meets the stringent membership criteria required by the KBSA • Quality in the service, design and installation of your home improvement project Paul Hibbert (KBSA), Jeff Abram (Liebherr), Emma Mcloughlin & Stacey Docherty (Regal Kitchens) Kevin Keegan.
• Security in the knowledge that your money is protected • Absolute delight at the end result Regal Kitchens showroom is open 10am - 4pm seven days per week.
Regal Kitchens, based in Navigation Road, Chelmsford, scooped the highly sought after Customer Service Award, which was proudly collected by Business Development Manager, Emma Mcloughlin. Emma says, “Our customers will absolutely love the fact that we have won this award as it is positive proof that we are always looking after our clients and showing them that they are number one, because, as our slogan professes, ‘Client is King’. Regal’s senior designer, John Martin, was also ‘Highly Commended’ for kitchen designs in the ‘Under £25,000’ category, as well as in the ‘Over £50,000’ category, showing just how varied Regal’s options really can be.
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The Stores Coffee, brunch & lunch
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No-one is absolutely certain who first developed Vodka, but it was most probably invented in Poland. We do know that a liquid obtained by the distillation of grape juice was first brought to Russia in 1383. It was thought to be a concentrate in the spirit of wine, which in fact is where the term ‘spirit’ came from. The word vodka comes from the translation of the Slavic word for water voda - although it’s only similarity being the fact that it is clear. A popular misconception is that vodka was originally made from potatoes, but we all know that potatoes were not introduced into Europe until the 14th century, so it was most probably, originally, a distillation of wine. After the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks confiscated all private distilleries in Moscow. As a result, a number of Russian vodka makers emigrated, taking their skills and recipes with them. One such exile revived his brand in Paris, using the French version of his family name - Smirnoff. He then met a Russian émigré from the USA and they set up their first vodka distillery there in 1934. This was subsequently sold to a US drinks company. From this small start, vodka began in the 1940s to achieve its wide popularity in the Western World. At this time it was one of the strongest spirits around with the Polish version coming in at an enormous 80% ABV. Although some vodkas are still made from potatoes, many producers now favour grains, such as barley, as this gives a much cleaner and more neutral drink. Most vodka is distilled a minimum of three times and then charcoal filtered, thus removing any impurities and the flavours they impart. Vodka’s popularity, unlike gin and whisky, has little to do with flavour and taste. We like it simply because it is neutral and it can be added to other beverages without spoiling the flavour, vodka & coke being a particular example. The manufactures can, and do, add many other flavours to the basic distillate, such as lemon, lime, peppers, chillies and toffee (sorry, but that last one is plain wrong). Vodka is also used in many cocktails without destroying the resulting mixture. Think of a Bloody Mary, Moscow Mule, Black Russian or a Screwdriver. Mixology fans choose from one of the top brands for a classic martini, such as Stolichnaya, Absolute or my own particular favourite, Grey Goose. But if you think Grey Goose is expensive, then how about splashing out on a bottle of Billionaire Vodka? At $3.75million for a five litre bottle, it certainly earns its name. The vodka is first ice-filtered, then filtered through Nordic birch charcoal, and lastly passed through sand made from crushed gems and diamonds. It is then poured into a platinum and rhodium encased, diamond encrusted, crystal bottle, created by luxury designer, Leon Verres. The neckband is further encrusted with channel set diamonds. No, not tacky at all! A few facts about Vodka: The Russians partied so hard once WWII ended that the entire city of Moscow ran out of the stuff. As one reporter put it, “I was lucky to buy a litre of vodka at the train station when I arrived, because it was impossible to buy any later. There was no vodka in Moscow on 10th May. We drank the lot.” Teachers in parts of Siberia, Russia, were paid in vodka in September 1998, as the authorities had no money to meet their wage bill. More than 8,000 teachers were given 15 bottles each, as they reportedly had not been paid their salaries since February/March. In Russia, their word for vodka is in their top 1,000 most used words. Moderate use of vodka can, allegedly, have many health benefits, including better cardiovascular health, reduction in stress quotient, keeps cholesterol and arteries healthy, is an excellent remedy against coldsores and fevers, helps prevent strokes and Alzheimer’s. Vodka also possesses valuable antiseptic and anti-bacterial qualities, helps in disinfecting wounds, and works as an effective cleaning agent. It is one of the few alcohols that have a relatively low amount of calories. Choosing vodka over high calorie beer and sugary drinks can help you lose weight significantly. Vodka is traditionally served straight from the freezer. This is due in part to it being drunk neat and the cold tempers the fierceness of the alcohol.
Essex Wine School is an independent wine education company that offers fun, informal wine tasting events and Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses, both in Chelmsford and Colchester. For more information please contact Neil Bull DipWSET, Certified Educator, on 01371 267260, or visit www.essexwineschool.com The Edge 077 646 797 44
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Did any of you tune in to watch and listen? The Edge did, because no matter what you might think about Liam Gallagher (and we’ll get to that), as a frontman, he’s definitely ‘got something about him’, whilst the setting for his recent (Saturday 3rd August) N.A.S. (northern acoustic set) was phenomenal. Let’s just make one small point though; not one person smiled on stage throughout the entire performance. Not one. Not even any of the backing singers. Talk about ‘enjoying your work’. Cast your minds back to our wonderful summer. It must have been baking inside Hull City Hall that night. But there was Liam, trussed up in his fishing gear. He was soon sweating like a pregnant nun, yet: “It’s all about the clobber, innit? I’ve got me look, I ’ave.” I counted 10 songs. That’s what were shown on TV at any rate, but surely he treated his devoted fans to more on the night in question, didn’t he? Surely. He kicked off with one of his own, ‘Wall of Glass’. Which was fair enough. Followed by 3 more, including ‘For What It’s Worth’ (is that an apology to brother Noel for behaving like an utter twat, by any chance?). Then he announced he was going to play a few tunes by a band called Oasis (he might have added, for sarcastic effect, “I’m not sure if any of you have ever heard of them?”) and 3 more songs in, that was it for me. I was immediately onto PLAY, REWIND, REPEAT time after time after time (well, I was ‘entertaining myself’ on yet another lonely Friday evening, with my 2 best mates, Red Wine and G&T). The song in question that 100% floats my boat is ‘Cast No Shadow’, written by “our kid” (Noel), who says, “I wrote this song about Richard Ashcroft (lead singer of The Verve) who always seemed to me to be not too happy about what was going on around him. That’s why it goes: “Bound with the weight of all the words he tried to say”. It was as though he was always trying to say the right things, but they came out wrong. Anyway, when I played the song to him, he almost started crying. I was like, ‘’Ey, come on. Get a hold of yourself, son. Easy, now!’“ Make of that what you will, but here are the lyrics to the song...
Cast No Shadow Here's a thought for every man Who tries to understand what is in his hands (what's in his hands) He walks along the open road of love and life Surviving if he can (surviving if he can) Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say Chained to all the places that he never wished to stay Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say As he faced the sun he cast no shadow As they took his soul they stole his pride (pride) As they took his soul they stole his pride (pride) As they took his soul they stole his pride (pride) As he faced the sun he cast no shadow etc. However, Noel’s supposed to be the clever one, right? He goes on chat shows and he’s relaxed, open and witty. He’s also had considerably greater success post-Oasis than his bro’s had, with Liam seemingly forever hankering to repeat what was happening back in the day, due to the fact that he’s a bit of a one trick pony. Yet do you know how verse two of ‘Cast No Shadow’ goes? Do you? EXACTLY THE SAME AS VERSE ONE. Exactly. Word for frickin’ word. When Liam eventually left the stage at Hull City Hall, it was comical, as we saw his exaggerated shadow bowling off like a bowl of fruit, pretty much a right daft parody of himself. www.theedgemag.co.uk
Joke, more like. Is this supposed to be entertainment? As a human being, as a member of ordered society (unless you aren’t and you crave its destruction), do you honestly think it’s a ‘good thing’ to celebrate anarchy? Sidenote: So far as The Edge can see, far more people support anarchy for anarchy’s sake, rather than having a single notion in their tiny minds about the reason why they’re actually anywhere, creating noise, upheaval and havoc. They’re just vacuous. They simply ‘get off’ on the thought of being the cause of disruption. Safety and anonymity in numbers. Surely it can be no accident that the stupidest people are always generally the loudest. So you’re damn right, The Edge is definitely not in favour of this movie one iota. And hey, please don’t tell me it’s ‘a piece of art’. The only bit it did like was the Joker ‘dancing down the steps’ scene, yet that’s even controversial, due to the music he is dancing to. I recognised it instantly, because I bought it, as a single, when I was a kid. In my defence, it’s the only piece of vinyl I ever purchased by this particular artist, but to this day, I still happen to think it’s an amazing track. It’s called ‘Rock & Roll (Part 2)‘ by - wait for it - Gary Glitter. Odd, isn’t it, both the bile and resentment such a name immediately evokes? When it appears, by contrast, quite alright to play Michael Jackson tunes as background noise while kids are happily jumping up and down on Bouncy Castles. But that’s just the f cked up world we live in, and it’s always been * f cked, because we’re a world away from being the perfect race.
Quarter-of-an-hour into this movie, I’m thinking: ‘I’m not enjoying this’. Then an hour goes by and I’m thinking: ‘I’m still not enjoying this”. For the simple reason, there’s nothing to enjoy. Not unless you love nicotine, because Joaquin Phoenix certainly promotes that alright. Furthermore, not for one single moment did I ever feel sorry for Arthur Fleck, other than when some street youths nicked his sign and followed it up with a beating. So tell me, what is the point in making a movie if the only emotion you are able to create is some bloke leaving the Odeon in Chelmsford feeling a little bit angry (I did, I actually felt a little bit angry after watching this flick), but also a little bit cheated too, due the the fact that I’d wasted the best part of an afternoon on ‘the experience’. But it’s certainly got MADE IN AMERICA stamped all over it, yet do they honestly need any more reasons to glorify gun crime? Nope, this one’s definitely not for The Edge, as it’s so blatantly wrong on so many levels. We often end up watching movies we like a time or two, but I certainly won’t be watching this one again. Page 15
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I guess it’s inevitable that these two movies will be compared as they came out pretty much one so very soon after the other. Personally speaking, I’d far rather have watched a late night, in-depth documentary about each of the two stars concerned, rather than pandering to a ratings war by making, in the case of BohRap particularly, the film also accessible to adolescent teenagers, but there we go. What I will say though, also from a personal perspective, is that during my teenage years, I bought one Elton John (vinyl) album, two of his hit singles, and absolutely nothing by Queen whatsoever. But WE ALL LOVE FREDDIE, don’t we. Don’t we? Yet if you think about it, other than ardent Queen fans, the reason we all love Freddie is simply because of his 17 minute performance on Live Aid when he literally blew every other artist out of the water. He was simply phenomenal and a worldwide audience lapped him up.
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But from a music perspective, I don’t even think he liked a lot of what Queen were producing, from what I’ve read. Because let’s face it, they were playing to huge stadiums and started bringing out songs accordingly that they figured would suit. Such as ‘We are the (bloody) Champions’, which The Edge absolutely detests. Honestly, what a pile of garbage. It’s nothing more than a karaoke sing-along. If I want to listen to a stadium anthem, then give me Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’ any day of the week. Rami Malek and Taron Egerton were both excellent as the principle characters of the two movies concerned, but because we warm far more to Freddie as a person, I guess that’s why BohRap will prove to be the bigger hit. Because there’s a lot not to like about Elton John, isn’t there? Tantrums and tiaras and all of that. Although maybe we simply forget how shy a person he was - probably still is - despite the fact he is clearly able to go out there and ‘do his
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thing’ in front of 75,000 paying customers. But do any of us mere mortals really have the remotest inkling what it’s like to be known pretty much by everyone on the entire planet? So I guess I probably lean towards Rocketman being my slight favourite of the two films, along with the fact that I bought the title track way back when I was but 11 years old. And what about ‘Bennie and the Jets’? What a hugely underrated song that is. And I also just love ‘Tiny Dancer’. While we’re on the subject of musicians, let’s also remember George Michael, if nothing else than for the fact that he could sing ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ far better than Elton. But what about the time when Queen turned to him to sing ‘Somebody To Love’ back in 1992? George turned up on stage wearing his trademark shades, big earring, orange jacket, looking every inch like George Michael, and he absolutely smashed it. The guy had one hell of a voice.
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Paul Jeffs Fisheye Photography
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CONT. FROM PAGE 6 Chelmsford Rugby Club are also always keen to welcome new players at all levels. With their teams ranging in both age and experience, there is literally something for everyone, whilst rugby is notorious for being a sport in which there is a place for all different kinds of athletes. Men’s senior’s train on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7.30 - 9pm whilst women’s seniors train on Tuesdays from 7.30 - 9pm. Senior training is open to all men and women aged 18+ regardless of fitness or experience and there is no upper limit on age. Under-6 up to under-12 age groups train on Sunday mornings from 9.30am, whilst the youth boys (U13 - U18) train on Wednesday nights from 6pm and youth girls (U12 - U18) train on Tuesdays from 6.30pm.
Paul Jeffs Fisheye Photography
Paul Jeffs Fisheye Photography
If any of you reading this are interested in giving rugby a try, then why not get in touch with Chelmsford Rugby Club via any of their social media channels, email, or through the website, as detailed below:
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PARKING HEAVEN OR HELL? I don’t have a particular issue with paying for parking as it’s a ready source of income for hospitals, private companies and our own City Council (although I cannot help but feel I’m cheating when someone kindly passes me their ticket with unused time left on it, but I always reciprocate whenever I get the opportunity). But what I do have a very large issue with is all of the dratted variations of meter. Have we to pay with cash, card only, or by phone? I’ve taken to keeping a few coins in my glovebox, just in case a machine still dares to accept good old-fashioned money. Steam always comes out of my ears whenever I try to crack the time/charge calculation. And if my endurance results in the delivering of an actual ticket, it feels as though I’ve just won the lottery. Whichever the option available to me, I generally prefer to ‘pay-uponleaving’ any car-park, as there’s nothing worse than clock-watching or having to rush back so as not to incur a penalty charge.
IT’S COFFEE TIME There’s a reason I generally give coffee chain outlets a wide berth (although there is a café in our fine town which does a smashing cheese scone that I always find extremely hard to pass by without popping in to indulge) and that’s
because I dare not enter any of their ‘temples of pretentiousness’ and ask for a coffee without sugar. I rather suspect I’d get dragged into a back room and waterboarded until I cracked if I did so. I generally look up at the coffee menu board with growing panic as the hipster-Barista sighs at the dithering golden-oldie stood before them. Do I order a Ristretto, or a Cortado? Venti or Primo size? Skimmed milk or Coconut Almond? Frappu-which! Mocha-what? I generally play safe and simply order a Flat White. What a cop-out, eh? Perhaps I should take instructions on the mysteries of coffee from my fellow fogey Edge companion, the Mystery Silver Surfer?
CITY OF DELIGHTS In my not so humble opinion, I truly believe we are most blessed to have so many brilliant cultural and social events hosted locally throughout the year, by the many dedicated theatre companies, societies, and not forgetting the excellent programme of City Council events. For example, in September I rocked up (without prior booking, but I was made very welcome nevertheless) to the Springfield Lyons Bronze Age Enclosure where there were tours and talks being held throughout the weekend by the Chelmsford Civic Society. This was one of their various
PERHAPS I SHOULD BE A TV REVIEWER INSTEAD? Hot on the heels of my rave review of BBC2’s The Repair Shop (even our editor is now a converted viewer, thanks to my heartfelt recommendation in the September issues), I’d like to draw your attention to yet another TV programme that I think you should give a go. It’s the Emmy winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Prime Video. It’s about a young, fashionable, privileged, Jewish mother-of-two who’s an ordinary housewife, yet through circumstance finds herself on stage in a dingy basement nightclub where she consequently discovers her comic chops. It really is full of funny, clever, snappy lines. If you happen to drool over anything US retro, you’ll absolutely love this little gem. Oh and the 1950’s outfits are absolutely FAB-U-LOUS! However, I should mention that this programme is really not for those
who cover their ears upon hearing four-letter words.
AND FINALLY Welcome to The Edge’s brand new columnist, the ‘Beaulieu Housewife’ that is Nicole. Her two contributions thus far are surely a budding soap or pseudo-reality show script in the making, don’t you think? But it’s surely tongue-in-cheek, right? The only element that appears to be missing that I can see is the ‘throwing of the car keys into a fruit bowl’ party! Although oops, I’m way behind the times; I wonder what today’s keyless-car drivers throw in? P.S. And yes, most of my clothes are labelled Sainsbury’s.
Heritage Open Day events which are not to be missed. What a wonderful glimpse of such early history beneath our feet. Also, a recent visit to our vastly updated Museum is a definite must-see. When all’s said and done, we really should appreciate and support what treasures we have right on our very doorsteps and both laud and applaud them at every given opportunity.
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Back by popular demand! Hello Reader. It’s okay, I can confidently open my column with “Hello Reader” because I know for a fact that I do actually have one. I know this for sure because I received an email saying how much my reader enjoyed reading my first two articles, even though my email address has never been published in this supreme organ. My reader went on to suggest that I should write a book about my life and times, which is not a bad idea. This got me to further thinking what Stephen Spielberg or James Cameron would make of my life story (to date) and if either of them decided to make a film about it, who would play me?. It’s honestly been keeping me awake at night; just who would be the leading guy?. Obviously my own choice would be George Clooney. Truth be told, you were probably thinking that too, right? Or perhaps Ray Winstone (he’s a West Ham supporter like me), if he had a platinum rinse. West Ham do have a lot of famous supporters, as it happens. Other than Ray Winstone and myself, there’s James Cordon, Russell Brand, Lennox Lewis, Katie Perry (see photo evidence below), Keira Knightly, John Cleese, Matt Damon, Danny Dyer, Pixie Lott, Barack Obama and The Queen. I kid you not, Elizabeth II is a mad keen Hammer. Anyhow, I digress. Only do watch out for the book and then the film and if by chance George Clooney does get in touch, I promise you, reader, you’ll be the first to know. A proper ‘Edge Exclusive’, no less. So where did I get up to last month, in my life’s journey, not forgetting armed to the hilt with my CSE Grade One qualification in woodwork, courtesy of The Rainsford Academy for the Criminal Arts? Ah yes, I had just started work for an unpronounceable property firm in Savile Row, London,
at the tender age of just seventeen. Funnily enough, my new employer was not content with my gong for woodwork, so I was given the opportunity to do further education by way of day release, which I actually did one day a week for fully 12 months. But my boss, who was 68 years old at the time, and if he’d ever had an original thought in his head he would have died a lonely man, decided to retire. And lo and behold, they asked me to run the department. Result! My salary immediately doubled and though it was still not very much, I also got a swanky company car - an orange Colt Mitsubishi, with velour seats - and my luncheon vouchers increased from 15p per day to 45p per day. While my further education might have gone down the pan, I was now eating like a lord and sitting on pure velour. During my 8 years working for the property company, I also got married, had 2 children (well, the wife did) and got divorced, which sadly are all subjects I’m banned from discussing with you, by order of my sons, Gary and James. Mind you, it does give me the opportunity to quote a mate of mine, who has described being married as like being a member of The National Trust. It allows you to visit old relics whenever you want to, but you can’t really be bothered. (I think I can just about get away with that because it works both ways, right girls?) So after 8 years with my first employer, the inevitable happened; I was headhunted. This is when someone wants you so damn badly they’re prepared to offer you all kinds of things to get you to leave your current employer and work for them. All very flattering, so off I went to work for one of the big London property agents. Everybody there had university letters after their name, like RICS (hons) and RIBA or ARICS, but they wouldn’t allow me to put CSE Grade One (woodwork) after my name for some stupid reason or other. In hindsight, I should have taken the wooden foot-stall I once made into the office to show them, as I’m pretty sure that would have changed their minds. Back in those heady days, the big agents were distinguishable by the length of their names, such as Jones Lang Wooton, or Hillier Parker May & Rowden, or Debenham Tewson & Chinnocks, or Coughdrop Bollock Scrotum & Bellend. Sure, I made that last one up, but you get my drift. When I joined said London agent, they employed 450 staff. When I left them, 30 years later, they employed 18,000 (staff) worldwide. I have lots of stories to tell you in the next few columns of wanton debauchery, excessive drinking and numerous other shenanigans, assuming that my sons will allow me to, of course. So what has been occupying my thoughts of late in these current times. Well, I’m gradually settling back into my home in Little Waltham. Handy Smurf is rattling through the house and has now completely finished the upstairs wings and rooms. Nice to get my bedroom back in order with my new ‘seductive mood lighting’ - oh yeah. My electrician described my master suite as something akin to a giant Iguana Tank, which was not quite the effect I was going for. But then again, I was not really looking to attract him into my private quarters, was I? Got a new car! Has anyone ever got to the end of one of those PCP finance plans that can explain to me exactly how they work out? A pal of mine, who sells cars for a living, tells me that 80% of new cars are bought via PCP deals, so I’m thinking 80% of car owners can’t be wrong, can they? So a PCP - or Personal Contract Purchase Plan, if you really want to know what it stands for - involves you giving the dealer a deposit (which you’ll never see again). The dealer will then give you a GPV - that’s a Guaranteed Purchase Value - for that which you can buy the car for in, say, 4 years time, if you actually want to own the thing by such time. In between those dates, the dealer sells you finance for the balance, plus a selection of insurance packages so that you are covered for damage to any part of the car that doesn’t really belong to you. My mate, who knows about these things, said not to take out any of those insurance policies. So naturally, me being me, I completely ignored his advice and promptly took out every insurance policy known to man/offered to me. Anyhow, I’m now the owner of a beautiful ivory Mercedes Benz, or rather I’m not the owner, but it does look absolutely fabulous in my drive. OK, so I’m going to leave you now with a fact which you can impress your family and friends with. Did you know that St. John’s Wood is the only station on The London Underground that doesn’t contain at least one letter from the word MACKEREL? Go on, knock yourself out on that one! Check out every other station if you don’t believe me, perhaps starting with the Circle Line, as that’s an easy one to work around. You’ll thank me for this at your very next dinner party, trust me. Hey, and I’m officially on the Edge payroll now. Well, I say payroll. Our editor in chief kindly treated me to breakfast the other day. I wonder if Billy, Kingpin, Tracie, Cath or any of the others have been fed? Probably not. TTFN. DEAKS. firstname.lastname@example.org
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PARKING FINE As some of you may know, Chelmsford train station has been the subject of some extensive refurbishment of late. As part of the makeover, they either temporarily suspended, or removed, the existing areas for motorcycle parking. As the station is largely used for commuter use, the ability to ride a motorcycle both to and from means you can generally avoid exorbitant parking fees and unreliable public transport. However, during the period of refurbishment, I had little option but to park my motorcycle (well, it’s actually a motor tricycle, to call it by its proper name) in Townfield Street car-park. Obviously I was disappointed, as such costs £7.50 per day. But after doing this for a number of days, a helpful assistant who worked there advised me that a section at the back of the car-park had been designated specifically for the parking of motorcycles and that if I parked within those bays, I could park entirely FREE of charge. That was great news, and with that I readily moved my ‘trike.’ A few months later, I received correspondence from Chelmsford City Council advising me that I had been issued with a Parking Contravention Notice (PCN). Apparently, I had parked my bike in an incorrect bay. Now that I come to think about it, I think what had happened is the Parking Officer (or whatever silly name they go by) had assumed that I knew about the free motorcycle parking area and had chosen not to park there. However, as it’s not pay and display, he or she probably hadn’t appreciated that I was a fee paying customer (with not even a discount granted on account of the reduction in wheel-count as compared to a car). Upon receipt, I swiftly returned to Townfield Street and had a good
look around, but I could not find anything that said fee paying customers could not park motorcycles in any of those bays. However, unbeknownst to me, my post had been delivered to the wrong address and so by the time it arrived, the Local Authority had applied for some sort of order against me from Northampton County Court. So I contacted the court and had that order immediately cancelled, but by that time, Chelmsford City Council had promptly passed the ‘debt’ on to a debt collection agency called Equita. And that’s when the real trouble started. You see, I honestly don’t think these people want to engage with you at all. They have no desire to want to settle any ‘debt’ whatsoever, as it means they won’t be able to charge their collection and administration fees. I have written to Chelmsford City Council on numerous separate occasions (because they refuse to discuss the matter over the telephone) and have tried to call the debt collection agency over 20 times, all to no avail. I have also written to them without response, whilst their website simply doesn’t work. You have to remember that this isn’t some exploitative land owner trying to fleece people (or at least, that’s what I thought). It is our very own City Council. To cut a long story short, all of this resulted in a very burly debt collection agent visiting me at my home. With my wife and young family also present, I thought this was incredibly unreasonable and totally unnecessary, but I guess it’s all part of their money-making scheme. When the agent from Equita advised me that there was an outstanding ‘debt’ of £423.00 I vehemently disagreed and asked if I could record our meeting, to which he agreed. I then produced a copy of the order I have
from the court that cancelled the ‘original order’ (confusing, eh?). He then told me no further action would be taken that day. However, I explained to him the trouble I had been encountering in trying to contact his company and he said that it was down to me to try harder. He went on to say that my correspondence had probably got lost in their internal system somewhere as they have been going through an upgrade. You just couldn’t make this sort of stuff up, right? His view was that it was for me to continue to try and make contact with them. Since that meeting, I have tried calling them every single day, often on a number of occasions, but once again without success. I appreciate that we all have our own personal issues from time to time, but I wanted to share this with you all because I think it is completely outrageous that Chelmsford City Council can act in such a way. At the time of writing, I have made another application to the court and filed a further witness statement. Upon receipt, Chelmsford City Council have advised that they have, for the time-being at least, called off the ‘heavies’ from Equita. The problem I now have is that no one is prepared to speak to me at Chelmsford City Council in terms of resolving this dispute. I have therefore raised it as a formal complaint and sent in a cheque for £70.00 as there is no facility for me to pay currently in place. I have also contacted the court, the debt collection agency, my councillor (John Spence), and even my local MP, John Whittingdale OBE, to try and get some help and assistance with this issue. Mr Spence has advised he is our County Councillor and has, therefore, referred onto our City Councillors (Ian Wright, Bob Shepherd and Richard Ambor). Mr Whittingdale OBE has contacted
Billy Hinken Chelmsford City Council and asked them to look into my case further. Regardless of the underlying dispute and the incorrect address issue, I think there is a responsibility for Chelmsford City Council to ensure that the agents they instruct are suitable, fit for purpose, and fair. This certainly hasn’t been the case with Equita and after a quick Google online, it is clear that I am not the only person who has struggled to contact them. I will keep you posted with how I get on and I am fully prepared to go to County Court on this matter, if Chelmsford City Council continue to be so unreasonable. I have also posted letters of complaint to both them and Equita and I will await their formal response before referring to the applicable regulators and ombudsman, if necessary. In the meantime, I would appreciate hearing from any of you readers who have suffered similar problems at the hands of our council. email@example.com
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ONLY JOKING! POOP JOKES
Poop jokes might not be everyone’s favorite, but when all’s said and done, they're a reasonably solid staple of The Edge mag as a whole.
IS THIS NORMAL? One of my testicles is bigger that the other two.
JESUS TO THE RESCUE Her: “You're in no state to drive home tonight.” Me: “Don’t worry, Jesus will take the wheel.” Jesus: “Can't. I’m drrunk as a skkunk [hic]hee.” Me: “But you said you were only going to drink water tonight?” Jesus: *tries to wink at camera*
NICE & TIDY My wife does this thing where she hides all of my stuff, but calls it “putting things away”.
CHECKING OUT RACK She caught him up easily; a trip sent him flying. He rolled and came up into a fighters stance. Southpaw, eh? She stepped in with a hip throw. He grabbed at her and she felt her shirt rip. He rolled up on his stance and his eyes immediately dropped to her boobs. Her foot flashed twice. His leg buckled and he went down. ‘Bastard won’t be checking out my rack in a hurry’, fleetingly passed through her mind. He came back for more. Change of stance now. So she dove in with a tight roll, exploding upwards for a double punch to his solar plexus. Only he wasn’t there. Instead, that bearded wanker from Check-a-Trade stood in his place as we go to another f ing commercial break.
RIPE It was truly pleasant outside, so they wanted to sit on the patio and enjoy a glass of wine together. However, it all smelt rather ripe. Doubtless they hadn’t buried the body of the hitchhiker down deep enough.
BAD DREAM What a terrible dream. I dreamt that something was biting my neck. It was so vivid, I got up to check. Only to discover that the bathroom mirror had stopped working.
VEGANS Bloody vegans who only drink water. That’s where fish live. Bastards!
SEAFARER’S JOKE How’d you know if a pirate is winking?
MAGIC So this magician said, “Pick a card, any card you like.” “Okay,” said I, and did. Magician: “Visualise that card. Keep it at the forefront of your mind.”
“Okay,” I agreed. Magician: [puts two fingers to the side of his head] “Was your card the nine of spades?” “Nope,” said I, smiling. Magician: “No!!! Was it the nine of clubs then?” “Wrong again,” said I. Magician: “That’s disappointing. Well what was it then?” I told him, “It had balloons on the front with a large number 5 in the top right hand corner.”
FRANK A bloke said to his missus over breakfast, "Hey love, last night you really were fantastic. Were you faking it?” "No,” she said. "I genuinely was asleep, Frank.”
POOH Piglet: “How much sh t are we gonna f *** up * today, Pooh?” Pooh: “We gonna f *** all this sh* t up, Piglet.” Eeyore: “Posse, mount up!”
SINEAD O’CONNER TAKES UP BIRD WATCHING “It’s been seven owls and fifteen jays, Since you took your dove away.”
SURPRISE Some days I drink glasses and glasses of water, just to surprise my liver. ‘Ha, Sucker!’
MUD PACK She was at the salon where she got one of those facial mud packs and I have to say, for three days, it really was a marked improvement. Then the mud started cracking and pretty soon completely fell away.
MUSIC "Hi," she said. “I’m Amanda Lynn.” “Oh, that is sweet music to my ears,” I said.
BREAST REDUCTION My wife had a breast reduction last year. She’s just got the two now.
ALTERNATIVE SHAKESPEARE Yo chick! “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? For thou doth make sweat drip from the gooseflesh of my testicles...”
PANCAKES Called round at my mate’s house. “Whoa!” I said. “Are you making pancakes for your dogs?” “Sure am,” he said. “But why?”said I. He said, “Because they don’t know how.”
SMART CAR Bought the missus one of those Smart cars. She drove it back from the garage yesterday, only today, it’s that clever, it won’t even let her get back in.
FAVOURITE WEBSITE “What’s my dog’s favourite website? Weebyanycar.com of course.”
MOUSE BUMMED Two meeces are all over a piece of cheese. “Hey, let’s get ourselves proper mouse bummed tonight, shall we?” says one. His mate says, “Surely you mean rat arsed, Keith?” “Really?” says the first one.
THERAPIST I got really anxious when I found out my therapist was seeing other people.
CBD OIL I’ve heard that CBD (Cannabidiol) oil might cure my dyslexia, which I have to say was music to my arse.
SAME OLD CONVERSATION “Does my bum look fat in this dress?” “No. You’re not fat.” “Seriously though, does it?” “No, I just said.” “So should I wear it then?” “Yes.” “Let me see what else I’ve got.” “Jesus, woman. Why did you even ask me in the first place?”
WHEELCHAIR My wife’s just dumped me, so I immediately nicked her wheelchair. Yeah, that’s what I figured. Who’s gonna come crawling back now?
ABSTINENCE I never have sex for religious reasons. God made me pig ugly.
MAYOR I happened to be in Duke Street when I came across the Mayor. Now I’m not usually one for social etiquette, but in this particular instance, I apologised profusely and wiped it off with a tissue.
MATTER CLOSED I went into my mate’s florists and ordered a surprise bouquet for the wife. “No card is necessary,” I told him. “She’ll know who they’re from.” He told me later that the delivery driver hadn’t even returned to the store before the phone rang. It was my missus. “Who sent the flowers?” she asked. After explaining to her that the customer had requested no card be included, he considered the matter closed. But apparently not so. Half-an-hour later she went rushing into the shop and said, “You’ve got to tell me who sent the flowers before my husband gets home?”
STUFFED Acquaintance: “Did you ever have a favourite stuffed animal when you were little?” Me: [fondly remembering the Christmas goose] “Mmmmm...”
IKEA They say that one in four people born in the last 20 years were conceived on an IKEA bed. Which surprises me as the places are so well lit and are usually rammed.
SERIOUSLY Look. I said I’ll do it. So I’ll do it. But I seriously don’t need to be nagged every five or six months about it.
LITTLE JENNY Little Jenny came rushing in from the garden. “Mummy, mummy, can little girls have babies?” “No darling, that’s highly unlikely,” she chuckled. Jenny headed straight back out into the garden and shouted, “It’s OK, Johnny. Panic over!” The Edge’s sincere thanks to Nyx Trye
All jokes published are supplied by Edge readers. Please send your ‘egg yokes’ to firstname.lastname@example.org
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BALD LEGENDS Norris ‘Nosser’ Cole You cannot have a Bald Legends section without including Coronation Street’s Norris Cole, played by the outstanding Malcolm (what a name Malcolm is - almost as bad as Norris, eh?) Hebden. Funny thing is though, and it can only happen in soaps, Nosser actually made his very first appearance on ‘The Street’ back in March 1994 when he played the part of Carlos (does he look like a Carlos to you, readers?), Mavis Riley’s Spanish lover. And you see, that’s the thing about Corrie; they have a laugh with the viewers, whereas Eastenders is all bloody doom and cockernee gloom. The character of ‘Nosser’ first appeared on a semi-recurring basis, until he was ridiculously written out in 1997. However, much like The Edge’s ‘Dodgy Deakin’, due to popular demand, Norris was rightfully reintroduced two years later and swiftly became a ‘Street’ regular, working as Rita Fairclough’s Kabin boy. Unfortunately, due to Malcolm suffering a heart attack, his appearances in ‘The Street’ of late have been understandably less frequent. “Most of December 2018 I spent in an induced coma,” Nosser told The Edge. “I honestly didn’t realise just how touch and go my situation was. The cardiac team literally saved my life with, it was explained to me, a groundbreaking operation. The attack literally tore a hole in my heart and they took a chance by immediately operating.” The Edge loves the fact that Norris is married, but separated, from Mary (below), who will not grant him a divorce. Well, what woman would, after landing a catch like Nosser? One of his best ever lines in ‘The Street’ was after surprisingly catching a glimpse of his ex-wife. “It was like seeing a vicar in a tracksuit,” said our Norris. “Most unnerving.” Actors like Malcolm Hebden come around once in every century, if we’re lucky. And we rightfully speak of them in the same light as we do Brando, Newman, De Niro, Pacino and Mosley (Alf Roberts, also of ‘The Street’).
Two-and-a-half year old EVE CROOK sent in by her Nana Valerie
P.S. Nana Valerie reckons ickle Eve might well have been caught reading the September Jokes Page! www.theedgemag.co.uk
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As you sit in the gridlocked Chelmsford traffic yet again, you’re probably thinking, ‘Surely this can’t get any worse?’ Like most retirees, we all remember those idyllic days when, at the weekend, Dad would announce that we were all going out for a drive in the country. Back in those days I lived in north-west London and that meant driving out about as far as Hendon, or possibly just north of Harrow, where we’d be surrounded by green fields. The traffic was always light back then and a right-hand turn onto a main road was never fraught with danger. Even going to school by bus from Neasden to Wembley was a simple 10 minute trip, quite unlike navigating the roads of Chelmsford these days, which can take up to 45 minutes simply to get from one side of town to the other. It’s not just the sheer number of cars due to the increased population of Chelmsford and Mid Essex (which has risen from 285,000 in 1986 to 400,000 at the moment), but the continuing failure to improve the road and transport system in both the town and county. As a result, there is a complete lack of available parking with far too many cars parked on our roads these days. Have you ever tried to drive along Broomfield Road, New London Road, or up Moulsham Street? Or tried parking at Broomfield Hospital when you’ve got an appointment? Or even tried parking in town, when you finally get there! Whilst getting in is always a problem, getting out of Tesco at Wood Street, or from The Meadows car parks at rush hour, is a total nightmare. And what on earth is going to happen now that the new Aldi store at the Army & Navy has opened, especially as the flyover has now been closed ‘indefinitely’? As a bonus question, why oh why do they allow those massive car transporters to park on double yellow lines, blocking the likes of the Clock Tower Retail Park entrance/exit? Not only is it annoying and plain stupid, it always causes a totally unnecessary obstruction to the flow of traffic trying to get in and out of the retail park. With the City Council having already stated that the roads in Chelmsford had reached full (or at least 96%) capacity last year, there are now plans to build a further 14,000 homes in Chelmsford (in addition to the Beaulieu Park development), of which 11,500 are now going to be built on the ‘Green Belt’ land to the north of the city (see www.southeastlep.com/project/chelmsford-city-growtharea-scheme). “Ah-ha,” you might say, “can’t you retirees use your ill-gotten bus passes to travel around on?” Only at the moment, such seems as though it is going to be abolished and already Essex Highways has plans to end the FREE Park & Ride system for us ‘lucky’ pensioners and is going to make a charge for those of us who wish to use it, including the (also) ‘free’ hospital shuttle bus (if you don’t believe me, have a look at www.essexhighways. org/uploads/files/FAQs-CONCESSIONARY-FARES-AND-PARK-AND-RIDE.pdf.) If you want to get out of Chelmsford by train or plane, you’ve still got problems. The trains don’t run due to the type of weather, which may be due to rain, snow,
heat or simply leaves on the line, and don’t even mention points/signal failure, trespassers on the track, or engineering issues. Meanwhile, planes are also delayed due to weather, security, or baggage problems. Did this happen years ago? Steam trains always seemed to run on time, unless there was a catastrophic snowstorm, as seen in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. Fact is, bad weather has always had an impact on aviation; remember the film ‘Airport’ from 1970, starring the great late Burt Lancaster, which had a Chicago airport struggling to keep open in the face of a major snowstorm? But back then, that was their only major problem. And even when you manage to get on a plane and you’re not one of those lucky people who travel first class or business class, you can’t get comfortable. In the ‘golden age’ of air travel, approximately some 30 years ago, the pitch between seats ranged from a comfortable 34” to 36”, whereas today, you’re lucky if it’s 29”, with plans to further reduce the distance to just 27”. Great, eh? Additionally, the seat width has shrunk from almost 20” to 17”. So not only does it take you forever to get to the airport, plus another 2-3 hours to check in and (finally) board, and, if you’re very lucky, take off on time, you’re then going to be both squished and squashed into an exceedingly uncomfortable seat. Bon Voyage indeed. Just a thought, hasn’t it all got better now that Crossrail finally opened last year? Wait a minute, it didn’t open last year, but it will in 2020. NOT LIKELY! (Possibly in 2022?) Speaking of the ‘golden age’ (in comics, naturally), I’m a big fan of DC and Marvel, plus all their various offshoots, yet have been repeatedly disappointed by the various film and TV spin-offs (personally, I think the ‘Daredevil’ film of 2003 with Ben Affleck was the best of the bunch). But it now looks as though ‘Joker’ with Joaquin Phoenix is going to be truly grittily dark and undoubtedly a huge success. So if you're a true fan as well, I’d recommend the three newish shows available on Netflix and Amazon, which are ‘The Umbrella Academy’, ‘Titans’ and ‘The Boys’. They’re all truly amazing and proper comic book adaptations. There’s also the promise of (the now US screened) ‘Doom Patrol’ arriving soon too. Enjoy. The Edge 01245 348256
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your own wars, we’re gonna burn a flag or two here and listen to some Hendrix, just to really wind you up.
Well, not exactly, but near enough. Greetings once again from the sun kissed shores of California. To those of a certain age - the baby boomers (or old gits, if you prefer) - the 1960s were a bit of a thing. It was the decade in which we were teenagers and grew from kids to supposed adults. But there’s more to it than that. With the passing of time, a number of myths have grown around the 60s. The decade was named the Swinging Sixties. Yet unless you lived in London and had some money, there wasn’t a whole lot of swinging going on. Yes, for the first time ever, the young had fashion and music that weren’t hand-me-downs from their parents. But the idea that in, say, Chelmsford, attitudes were revolutionary, is simply not true. Both homosexuality and abortion were still illegal in the UK until 1967 and nobody was rioting in the streets about it. People continued to get married way too young because, well, that’s what your parents expected you to do. Been married a couple of years? Time to have children. Why? Again, because polite society deemed it so. You want to live with someone and you aren’t married? How odare you. The point being made here is that for the average Joe and Jane in the UK, the sixties were still really a bit oppressive and the idea that it was a free for all love-in is a myth. However, towards the end of the decade, in 1969 to be precise, a few things happened that really raised hopes that the future could be a different place. First, the US landed men on the moon. This had been a target set by JFK in 1962. He declared the US was committed to the project, not because it was easy, but
because it was hard. That can-do, positive and ambitious declaration was what post-war America represented. Whilst the UK and Europe were crawling along burdened by the weight of rebuilding their ruined cities, the US was forging a brighter future for everyone. Or so it seemed. But by the time the moon landing had actually been achieved, the world was already changing for the worse. That optimism personified by JFK had been all but wiped out by the assassinations of himself, his brother and Martin Luther King. And the Vietnam War was raging, which led to another significant 1969 event. By then the youth of the world had decided they didn’t want to die in someone else’s war and there were massive demonstrations not only in the US, but in the UK and many other countries too. In hindsight, this can be seen as the start point of something. It was the start of a culture war that we’re still embroiled in today. The clashes were between mainly older people who still believed in duty to your country, good or bad, and those that decided dying in Vietnam for no particular purpose was not for them, thanks. You go and fight
Despite a hiatus for a decade or four, during which time western society seemed to have settled down a bit and progressed, that clash between cultures has resurfaced. Trumpism and Brexit are nothing if not culture wars. But there’s a huge irony here. It is that those students and young people protesting back in 1969 are now on the other side. Many of the idealistic and progressive people manning the barricades at a Vietnam War demo in 1969 are now dyed in the wool, small ‘c’ conservatives. All the fight has been sucked out of them by mortgages, raising kids, and making sure the retirement pot is doing okay. A third major 1969 event that was supposed to herald a better future for mankind was the Woodstock Festival. There were estimated to have been half a million people in attendance and although it was a depressing mud bath with little food and very few toilets, those attending had a peaceful, happy hippy time with not a security guard in sight. It was the birth of a better world, where people made love, not war. Or so the story went. That myth lasted less than six months before the real world reasserted itself and violence and death rained down on a Rolling Stones concert in Altamont. Goodbye Woodstock. So what’s the moral here? There isn’t one, really. Just an observation that whenever a little hope for a better future raises its head, and 1969 provided at least the three mentioned above, the ugly side of human nature regains the upper hand sooner or later. And that ugly side is certainly winning right now.
SHIT What? Three spaces instead of just the one? Asda car-park at Chelmer Village, The Edge would guess.
Sent in by Brett Bowen, spotted at Tesco by Miami roundabout. Thing is though, you never know whether an emergency pee was required by the driver, do you? In which case, The Edge would excuse him/her. firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s definitely no excuses for this. Parked outside Costa on Essex Regiment Way. (Well, it’d hardly have been parked inside, would it?) Page 25
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f the events of the last few years have taught me anything, it’s that a worryingly large amount of people simply don’t care if what they believe is actually true. I have also learned that far too many people in the 21st century, an era where we literally have the combined knowledge of the human race available to us at the push of a button, are idiots, and apparently proud to be so.
KiNGPiN The Kingmeister reports
THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THE FACTS DON’T MATTER
Back in the days when you had to scurry off to the local library to do your research you could be forgiven for not having the facts to hand when you’re arguing a point. But nowadays we can literally take our phone out of our pocket and confirm the veracity of any given statement in a matter of seconds, so why do so many people refuse to do it? In the last 5 minutes I’ve just seen some rabble-rousing lackwit posting that the Lib-Dems want to lower the age of consent to 12 years old, a patently untrue comment that immediately caused a flood of outraged responses, all of which were wrong and all of which made their authors look like the morons they so clearly are. It took me roughly 60 seconds to open another tab in my browser to verify that this allegation was utter nonsense, which I’m sure you’ll agree isn’t an unreasonable amount of time and effort to spend, and during this 60 second period at least a dozen other buffoons had spewed their completely unfounded fury across my screen. We all know the internet, as wonderful a tool as it is, is a veritable orgy of ignorance, exaggeration and outright lies, so why do so many of us refuse to check our facts? Even worse, why do so many of us wilfully ignore the facts when they’re presented to us? While human beings are obviously capable of reason, logic and critical thinking, we’re still largely driven by emotion. Despite how evolved and ‘civilised’ we’ve become, 9 times out of 10 our emotions will ignore the millions of years of development of our neocortex and happily trample the facts in their rush to get to all the good stuff, like being properly outraged and selfrighteous. Add some general ignorance and wishful thinking into the mix and we get the poisonous brew of wilfully ignorant stupidity we see so much of on the internet. Once those emotions take hold, which doesn’t take long, they’re hard to shift and by the time someone comes along and explains what’s really happening, nobody really cares. Fullfact.org is an excellent independent online fact-checking resource and explains it thusly: “Imagine you turn up late to a party where everyone is discussing politics. You have a PHD in political science and you walk in and explain to everyone why they’re wrong. Nobody is going to thank you for that.” This triumph of emotion over reason is what makes people like the odious human/toad hybrid Nigel Farage so very dangerous. It’s why we get Donald Trump in The White House. Call Trump an imbecile all you like, the guy knows how to play people like a fiddle. Such people know to concentrate on emotion, rather than fact, and they also know that even when the facts directly contradict what they are saying, a lot of people simply won’t care, due to the fact that they’re being told precisely what they want to hear, and if
it’s going to require a full operation. Not an issue. I don’t have a problem with hospitals or operations, so I asked the doc what the next steps would be and he told me he would refer me to another surgeon, but then dropped the bombshell that: “They’ll probably reject it though.” When I asked him why, the poor bloke actually looked embarrassed as he explained that they don’t really do things like that on the NHS anymore, as they are trying to save money, and while he’d recommend they removed it as soon as possible, “they probably won’t do anything unless it gets infected.” I could see from his face that he knew the obvious question was coming, but I asked it anyway. “So while it’s a quick and cheap procedure, they won’t do anything, but if it gets infected and it’s a much more difficult and expensive procedure, as well as being more painful and distressing to me, they’ll do it then?”
I could see he agreed and I certainly wasn’t having a pop at him, or at doctors and nurses in generMy milkshake brings all the boys to the yard al, but whoever comes up with this you do that, then they’ll not only put you on a sort of money saving scheme has obviously pedestal, but also let you stamp on their necks to never heard the phrases ‘false economy’ or climb up there. indeed ‘prevention is better than cure’. I can only imagine how medical professionals must feel I don’t think this next part is going to win me any being constantly hamstrung by having to run new fans, and part of me is a little saddened as I everything on a shoestring, and if you are a docknow it’s a terribly cynical attitude to have, but I tor or a nurse reading this, then thank you, and I want to be totally honest. I used to get angry at mean that sincerely. You’re looking after people’s how people were duped and used and discarded health, sometimes their lives are literally in your by other people, such as politicians and corporahands, and half of the time you’re doing it without tions to further their own ends, but I’m not anythe people or equipment you need and getting more. When people are so easily and so eagerly paid an insulting pittance to do it all. Without exploited, then it’s inevitable, so I might as well wanting to sound too much like my Nan or my get angry at the weather instead. Grandad, you’re a bloody national treasure. In an age where knowledge is far more easily and freely available than ever before, remaining ignorant is a choice and anyone in the developed world that makes a choice to be ignorant, and thus a ‘useful idiot’ who takes the word of any tinpot demagogue over the facts, certainly deserves everything they get. The only thing I get angry about these days is that their idiocy drags other people down with them. So don’t be an idiot. Don’t be lazy. Be critical, be wary of what you read and what you hear, and take a little time to check it for yourself. Ignore how something is said and who is saying it and focus on the content. Then pull that content to pieces and see if it’s true, even if you instinctively agree with it; in fact, especially if you agree with it. The only way these people will stop duping us and using us is to prove to them that we can actually use those big brains we’ve spent millions of years developing.
Under The Knife
’ve developed an unfortunate ailment which is luckily nothing sinister, but has required a few trips to the doctors, finally culminating in what was to be a minor surgery under local anaesthetic to remove a lump from under my arm - actually right inside my armpit - which is about as pleasant as it sounds. So I got myself psyched up for a quick jab, a quick slice, a few stitches and back home for a cuppa, but after spending a little while poking and prodding about, the decision was made that it was a bigger job than they originally thought, so
So the upshot of my medical misadventure (aside from a sore arm and a shaved armpit), and upon the advice of my doctor, is that I’m better off going private, because even if they do accept my doctor’s recommendation, I’ll certainly be waiting a while. Just getting my last abortive appointment took over three months and my condition is only going to get worse. Yes, it’s a bit of a pain, as I need to try and find a few hundred extra pounds just before Christmas, so the timing could be better. But I’m okay with it. Indeed, I’m lucky enough to be in a position where going private is even an option, because it isn’t for a lot of people, and that’s not on. The NHS shouldn’t be so cash-strapped that it has to force people to go private, or live with their condition until it gets bad enough to warrant the expenditure, and I bet there isn’t a doctor or nurse in the UK who thinks that’s acceptable. Let’s hope whatever happens with the economy post-Brexit the NHS is given the resources it needs (no, I’m not going to mention the big red bus) and that it doesn’t end up getting sold off to that ignorant orange racist squatting in The White House. While the UK might be turning into the 51st state in a lot of ways, let’s hope that we never end up forcing a choice between paying thousands for a simple procedure, or having some quack do it out by the wheelie bins when he’s on his cigarette break.
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S N V
LOVE ON LINE Once upon a time, many moons ago, a lovely lady from Essex Business Link came to see me to talk about the Internet. I was working out of my garage in Moulsham Lodge at the time, toiling away, while she was promoting websites. She tried to tell me that, “One day, we will all shop from home and do everything online.” I smiled at her and shook my head. “Do you really think people will buy clothes and food online, and book travel tickets?” “Yes,” she said. “Everything will be controlled by our phones. As a result, we will all be so much better off and have far more time to spend on ourselves. Our whole world will open up!” Back in the day, we were all walking around with massive phones with a maximum of 32 character texts and an aerial that screwed on the top and stuck out of your pocket, long before Blackberry or Apple had ever been thought of. And none of this touchscreen lark either. Anyway, she offered me a £2,000 grant to set up a website and the rest is history. I was actually one of the first people in the UK to have a website online, but I honestly never dreamed that the internet would boom into what it has become. So do I think the internet genuinely brought us all of that promised happiness and far more time to socialise? In a word, no. We spend our whole lives looking online at stuff we want and then waiting for some courier to knock on our door with a parcel of disappointment. People simply no longer talk to each other. Oh sure, they text each other and they WhatsApp each other, but that’s instead of nipping out to meet up for a drink and a natter in a pub. Today we all live in a world obsessed with what other people are doing on Facebook and Instagram. We are constantly looking and watching the world and its dog go by only everything seems to take twice as long, due to the fact we’re constantly texting people and looking online. Which brings me on to another big online subject: Internet Dating. Long, long ago, men were forced to ‘go in cold’ i.e. walk over to a woman in a pub or a club and talk to them in the flesh. Can you imagine such a thing? Eyes would sometimes meet across a room (yes, really), whereas today you can simply log on and look through tons of people’s made-up profiles, select one you like, and with the patter of a few well rehearsed lines, perhaps meet up. However, dating in the 21st Century has brought a whole host of problems, such as ‘the etiquette of dating’. How long should
you wait before you get a reply to a text? Should you take your profile down, or carry on talking to lots of people, even if you liked the person you went on a date with, so that you don't look needy or desperate? And, more importantly, who should pay on dates? I was chatting with a friend recently who met a man online. Their first date they went for drinks and he bought her a Diet Coke and she bought the second round. The next date they met for coffee and she ended up buying both the coffees and the cake. On their third date, they arranged to go out for dinner, and when the bill came he did not even make any attempt to pay, or get his card out, or even offer to go halves. He just sat back and let her pay (what a cheapskate). Needless to say, she decided to cut her losses and broke off all contact with this guy and blanked any offers of further meets. Now we girls in the office were all a little shocked at this, while the men all thought it was still the done thing that a guy should definitely pay for the first dinner and the majority of the dates, because that’s what men do, right? Whereas we women said we were all for going halves and the men were a little taken aback by that. However, we all agreed (men and women alike) that it was far better and more romantic to go to McDonalds and be paid for than to a restaurant where the man left the woman to pick up the tab. Saying that, I really don't think women should expect men to always pay. After all, when all’s said and done, us girls fought for equality. But there’s a huge difference between equality and being walked all over, that’s for sure. So has the Internet brought out the worst in people in this respect? By chance, the very same week, I happened to catch (for the first time ever I might add) Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby interviewing some women who had lost everything to men over the internet. Some had given them their entire life savings, even though they had never met, whilst others had gone out to other countries to get married, only to find they were then dumped shortly afterwards with a costly divorce. I honestly could not help but shout at the telly, “Are you bloody stupid”? But hey, I expect it happens to men too. But I guess the internet makes us all the more trusting. We no longer socialise or meet people in the flesh to get a feel for them. We all simply log on behind a screen, where we can be anything we want to be. So whilst we can all order anything we desire from Amazon and have it delivered the same day, our basic human needs will still never be met from any online service, because to find true love, you have to go out there and meet people in the flesh and talk to them. What’s more, I happen to think that deep down, men still want to be romantic and do the chasing and pay for the coffees and maybe a bag of chips. Because romance is not about grand gestures; it's about the small things in life and caring about each other. I think we need to learn to trust our gut instincts a lot more and walk away from things that no longer serve us, and if that means turning off our phones and listening to our loved ones, then I’m all for that.
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BIZARRE NEWS A TENT FULL OF NIGELS
THE EDGE IS LOVING ALL OF YOUR KIDS READING THE EDGE PHOTO’S! Keep on sending them in, please.
Never in all that is Nigel have so many Nigels been gathered in one place at the same time. Some 433 peeps, all with the same nurdy name, gathered at a local pub (local to a couple of them, possibly) in order to ‘Celebrate Nigelness’. The party, at the Fleece Inn in Worcestershire, was believed to have set the record for the number of Nigels gathered in one place at one time, and was organised by the pub’s landlord, Nigel Smith. Nige hopes he has done his bit to help put the name of Nigel back on the map. He said:”‘I’ve always felt that Nigel is a very much maligned name. People would often say to me when I was young, ‘Nigel? That’s got to be a joke name, isn’t it?’ So my grand idea was really just to get a few Nigels together, share Nigel stories and celebrate our Nigelness.” Nigel first started making plans for his Nigel-themed-get-together a couple of years back when he was “a bit shocked” to find Office for National Statistics data suggested there had been no babies named Nigel in 2016. He finally got around to arranging the event this year and, after a Facecock page advertising went viral, he was delighted with the turnout (and no doubt the coffers he took). Nigel continued: “We managed to attract some 433 Nigels, plus about another thousand non-Nigels who’d just come along for a laugh. All Nigels present were required to prove their credentials with a passport or driver’s license, and anyone who did was rewarded with a free pint of Nigel ale and a Nigel badge. Everyone else was given a non-Nigel badge. “We had a singer, a busker and a comedian at the event - all of whom were naturally called Nigel - and we also had special Nigel awards for the furthest Nigel travelled, together with the youngest and oldest Nigels. We also picked a collective noun for Nigels, which is ‘a niggle of Nigels’, which we’re rather proud of. “We basically registered all of the Nigels upon their arrival so that we knew how many were there, so we could at least claim an unofficial record of sorts.” Gratifyingly, for those worried about the future of the name, the youngest Nigel there was just seven months old, while the furthest travelled Nigel had crossed the Atlantic especially to attend the event. Nigel rambles on, “The oldest Nigel was a Texan guy who lives in Denver, Colorado, who had seen it on social media and was very keen to attend, so his girlfriend put it out to all of their friends to see if they’d each chip in with a few dollars to help fund his trip over here, which I’m glad to say they duly did. In fact, it raised enough for them to both to come over, so he was not only our Texan Nigel, but also a Crowdfunded Nigel. “But unfortunately there were no Nigellas, which was a bit sad really, because the whole thing was a ruse to try and get Nigella Lawson along!”
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Man on the Clapham Omnibus INTERNET MEMES
This month’s article came to me whilst sitting by the poolside in Portugal recently. It is, sort of, my annual poolside observations piece once again, but with a twist. It concerns internet memes. We all get them, whether it be via tweedbook, or a friend sends to us by tweedapp or email, having copied it from the internet somewhere. The meme, just in case some of you readers are not aware, is this: they are the sometimes funny, sometimes irritating, sometimes interesting items that appear on our phone and computer screens. A meme is an internet message that spreads virally i.e. person to person distribution, as opposed to mass mailing from a central point. The official description is: ‘an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media that spreads, often as mimicry, or for humorous purposes, from person to person via the internet’. It generally involves a picture or a cartoon, often a cat, in fact, almost certainly a cat, particularly if any of my daughters are involved. There is generally a slogan, a piece of wisdom, nugget of sagely advice, but most often humour as a way of explaining something, or making a profound statement along the lines of: ‘I wished I’d listened when my Dad told me never to chop wood in a rowing boat.’ Think of it as the modern equivalent of the Reader’s Digest envelope, telling you that you have been selected to be entered into the prize draw. Who the hell was Tom Champagne anyway? (That, younger readers, is your Google search for this month!) One arrived whilst I was on holiday. It was something about a child lecturing a parent on using a computer, but ended with the line: ‘That’s all well and good, but I taught you how to use a knife and fork.’ Then I recalled the previous evening watching, in total fascination, as a young couple tried to fulfill the task of getting food from their plate to their mouths using cutlery. This is something that has caught the attention of Lady Mott and myself quite a lot of late, particularly when we dine out. It appears there are some real challenges being faced by an awful lot of young people in this particular field. In fact, there are some very major challenges in simply being able to hold the stuff correctly. In 2016, a serious study from our friends at the Institute for the Bleedin’ Obvious informed us that the majority of children eat chips, nuggets and fish fingers with their fingers. However, more alarmingly, 25% admit that their children eat vegetables with their hands. And a further 20% ditched cutlery when eating salad and almost one in
ten tackled a roast dinner using just their mitts (handy tip, not if they are wearing boxing gloves, they won’t). However, this can become a bit of a time issue once you get to the peas. The survey also found that one in ten adults admit to being 'diggers' or 'scoopers' - shoveling food using an upturned fork. This is, of course, an American TV influence at work i.e. cut, put down knife, swop fork into other hand, then scoop and dig. The study neglected to tell us that 100% of drunken adults eat doner kebabs with salad and two types of runny sauce with their fingers. This, of course, is exempt from any kind of criticism, having done so myself on more than one occasion. The ‘scoop’ action usually means gripping the fork like a Yukon bear trapper eating beans from a pot with its face up i.e. prongs to the sky. The arm then swoops out wide and into the awaiting mouth. Maybe the wide sweep is a hangover from the days of being trained in the high chair with Daddy going: “Here’s the aeroplane - brrr brrr - and, oh look, it’s covered in stewed prunes. Yum yum.” When asked why parents had not properly taught their children the art of using table ironmongery, excuses included parents thinking it would just happen naturally (14%), which I find amazing. Picking your nose happens naturally, along with not eating sprouts. But this? Eight percent said they preferred their children to learn such skills themselves. Teenage boys learn some things themselves (WARNING: smut alert!) but generally speaking, on most other things, a little help certainly wouldn’t go amiss. Meanwhile, a further 8% said they didn't mind their child using their fingers when eating their food no matter what their age. Which is fine, but surely not when their child is married with three kids of their own? And back to my internet meme. Even Star Wars recognised this issue. When ObiWan saw his young student eating with his hands, he said most wisely “Luke….use the fork.” Yours aye,
Beaulieu Park Housewives
A Beaulieu Park Wife’s Diary in which names have been tweaked to spare blushes and exposed breaches to Pre-Nup Agreements.
October was the mother of all Shit Shows - and no, I don’t mean the return of The Circle, or the advent of X-Factor Celebrity. I refer, of course, to ‘The Life and Times of the Beaulieu Bunch’. My husband Nat has been away on business for the best part of the month and, in his absence, I’ve been forced to spend more time with my ‘beloved pals’ than is frankly desirable, or is strictly advisable from a mental point of view, if truth be known. So buckle up and pop the popcorn, folks, and let me fill you in on all the latest exploits (oh, and the popcorn is whole grain and cholesterol-free, by the way). It all started out with a fairly innocuous chat with ‘the girls’ over a smashed avo/chilli/spinach breakfast protein pot - so nothing out of the ordinary there. Leanne quite randomly happened to drop into the conversation that she has been enjoying a bit of ‘al-fresco’ with her new landscape gardener. Now, as you might recall, Leanne is already staring down the barrel of divorce proceedings, after hubby Paul found out she’s been shagging a guy she ‘re-connected’ with at a work’s reunion - “25 years in the City” I think it was billed, which is a bit of a farce given that Leanne actually worked up in town for all of about a nano-second before Paul (her boss at the time) got her up the duff, married her, and subsequently put her out to graze in the concrete jungle that is B.P. So now, not only is she banging a ‘banker boy’ on the side, but she’s getting all ‘whore-ticultural’ with the estate’s answer to Jesse bloody Metcalfe! In itself, I’m not surprised, if I’m being totally honest, because Leanne is very much all ‘fur coat and no knickers’ and most definitely has previous for this type of thing. But what has really got the girls up in arms and divided the group is the fact that said seedsman has been seen ‘grafting’ at Jo’s for the past couple of months as well. Now, at this point, there is absolutely no insinuation that Jo has been cheating on Richard, but let’s just say she looked pretty pissed off about matters when she found out that Leanne had seemingly beaten her to it. firstname.lastname@example.org
Truth is, I don’t even think Jo wants to check out whether the grass is actually greener - it’s far more she likes to think of herself as ‘a cut above’ pretty much everyone else, partly due to her gazelle-like size 0-blonde-glossy-loques; the ever so slightly detectable Yorkshire accent veneered over with her private school education, and so equally veneered perfectly white teeth.
And so it turns that this constant gardener has been buttering Jo up with his twenty-something- year-old flanter and she has been trotting around for the past few months in her best Louboutins feeling as perky as her annoying little lap-dog that she carries around in one of her over-sized Louis V (the theory amongst us all is that the bigger the bag, the skinnier it makes the wearer look), totally loving the fact that she has still ‘got it’. Only now she’s feeling just a teensy weeny bit mortified that Leanne has become, in fact, the ‘chosen one’. For feck’s sake, Leanne, with her big tits, big lips, and even bigger mouth (Jo’s words, not mine). So some of us are thinking, “Yes Jo, and that’s why young Percy Thrower has inevitably gone there.” Because ‘no-knickers brashy’ wins over ‘prissy-pants’ every day of the week, no? Only this is where the group is divided in the name of something remotely resembling ‘loyalty’ - with half of us being loyal to ‘disloyal Leanne’, who wouldn’t know fidelity, let alone loyalty, if it jumped up and bit her on the arse (enter Jo’s annoying little rat-dog again). That said, out of the two, Leanne is more fun; we laugh at her, as well as with her, and in my opinion, she certainly brightens up an otherwise tedious yummy-mummy-coffee-catch-up with her sordid little escapades. While Jo has got the sympathy of the other half of the group, given how she’s far more classy, so just how could this green-fingered Essex wide-boy have passed her up for old ‘Lusty Leanne’? Weird loyalty, as I say. Hardly ‘classy’, is it, the fact that our very own happily married goldilocks is pining after someone young enough she could have feasibly given birth to? But hey, rivalry and one-upwomanship reigns supreme in Beaulieu Park, whatever the prize. After all, it’s the winning at all costs that counts. So Shit-Show it is, and in the spirit of competitiveness, a feud to rival that of Vardy vs Rooney! Page 29
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Have you ever thought about what you would like for your funeral? You probably already know whether you want to be buried or cremated, but what about the finer details? Where should it be held? Do you want particular readings, or poems, and if so, which ones and read by whom? Is there certain music you would like to be played? Perhaps thereâ€™s even a specific route you would like the hearse to take? You may even have written your own eulogy or â€˜farewell letterâ€™ that you wish for someone to read out to all of those congregated. By planning ahead using Secure Havenâ€™s Guaranteed Funeral Wish, not only will you save your next-of-kin the stress of trying to second-guess what you have wished for, but you will also be putting your own stamp on your final celebration, ensuring that it reflects what is most important to you. Secure Havenâ€™s Funeral Wish Price Guarantee is simple: simply arrange an appointment so that they can record the details that are most important to you. Whatâ€™s more, you can always revisit your Funeral Wishes if changes or additions need to be made. However, do bear in mind that a funeral is, above all, an occasion for your family and friends to express their grief, yet also to celebrate your life and times and the many happy moments that were shared together, so you certainly donâ€™t need to dictate every single aspect of it. Once your Funeral Wishes have been recorded, Secure Haven Funeral Directors will provide you with a funeral costing which will
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Chelmsford, Essex based fanzine with local news humour and current affairs.