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Category: Personal

I have an issue with money

…but not in the way you might think.

I am too tight, too sensible, too rational. Call it what you like but they are all the same. I am too cautious and I always worry about the supposed rainy day. I am not a risk taker in any form. I think about things to their nth degree and often by the time I have formulated a plan of action the time has passed and I don’t have a choice in how to proceed – it has been made for me. In the autumn of 2008 I was offered a job with a pretty huge pay rise and I was pretty miserable in my job but I still took the best part of four months to make the move.

Why am I blogging about this now?

Well I had agreed to go to Leeds and meet up with a few people from twitter that I had not met. Was looking forward to it as I converse with these people a lot via twitter. However when I sat down and looked into the cost fully I worked out that it would be the best part of £200 for a night out and the tight/sensible/rational part of my brain took over and said that I couldn’t justify it. Relatively quickly it won over and the part of my brain that wants to do things and have fun was shot down in flames.

Now I’m not rich but I can afford it. The money is there but can I justify it and that is what my brain is screaming at me. I have to justify practically every major expenditure that I make. Some may say that this is prudent but some may think that it is very sad and makes me sound like a bit of a loser (it does I know) but still. For example I’ve wanted the complete Stargate SG-1 boxset for around 3-4 years but have I got around to buying it yet? No I haven’t.

Money is only money. That I know but I also know that without it I wouldn’t have my freedom. Another good example is I have wanted a second Penn State hoodie for over a year but wasn’t willing to spend £40 on it because I didn’t think it was worth that. I have managed to source one today for just £25 and that I think it fair value so I have bought it. You might think that £15 is nothing but for me it’s not about the money it is about value.

One of the people I had intended to meet asked me if I would regret not doing things to save a few pounds. It is a great question and she may well be right and a huge part of my brain wants to say sod it but that rational part of my brain just wins out every single time.

Sometimes whilst I won’t say I hate how I am, I do dislike it. I wish I was more care free with regards to everything not just money but I’m not. Look I live alone and work from home and can go days without seeing people. Sometimes I think I’m just becoming socially stagnant and am becoming more and more reclusive. It seems strange to say that considering I do radio and football commentary but being sociable is just something I struggle with and more so as the years go on.

Having said all that I’m very comfortable with who I am and how I live my life. I just sometimes wonder what I’d be like if I was different. I suppose we all do from time to time.

I have no idea as to the point of this but hey – it’s something different compared to my usual fare for this blog.

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Grant Coleman – an inspiration to someone he’s never met or probably even heard of

Me.

I suspect only a handful of people who ever stumbles across my blog will even know who Grant Coleman is. Well for those that don’t he was Sports Editor at BBC Radio Solent for what seemed like my whole childhood. He often got accused of being a Southampton fan but Pompey fans and vice versa by Southampton fans. Bournemouth fans just thought he hated them. Oh the joys of being in charge of sport for a station with three league clubs.

When I first used to listen to BBC Radio Solent’s sports show they didn’t have any live commentary of either Saints, Pompey or the Cherries but in time they slowly started doing games. First it was the odd second half here and there and then they would broadcast the biggest game of the day from the three clubs. Then slowly they split the frequencies so they could broadcast more than one live match at a time and as we stand today all three clubs will have every game live on some part of the BBC Radio Solent frequency.

I haven’t lived in the BBC Radio Solent region since 2002 and in all honesty once I became a Season Ticket holder at Fratton Park the amount of games I listened to on either Solent (or 107.4 The Quay) went down dramatically. I’d go watch Newport IoW if they were at home or often even follow them away as well. When Jeff and the boys started to really get Soccer Saturday going I’d watch that although I’d still listen to the Pompey games online. These days I don’t bother and if I’m in I’m usually just watching Jeff and the boys.

However this is now and I’m talking about then. Portsmouth Football Club was a significant part of my world for many years. These days less so but they’ll still always be my club. In the late 90s the club were on the verge of going to the wall and I truly believe that three men were huge parts in why they didn’t go under and that the club survived. Everyone knows about Alan Ball. Just a great man and words cannot describe what Portsmouth fans feel for the man. The next is Tom Burton who was the administrator appointed to oversee the club. It was him who managed the purse strings enough to both keep the club up and secondly get the club sold on. Then there is Grant Coleman.

Grant Coleman as Sports Editor at BBC Radio Solent kept the club very much in the news and his passion for the club shone through. The year of the Great Escape in 1998 is something no PFC fan will ever forget. That game away to Crewe Alexandra where it all started down 3-0 and ABBAWA rang out loud and proud. Three days the later the now infamous Stockport County game where there were nearly four million fans inside Fratton Park (if you believe everyone who said they were there) but in all honesty I think it was just under 9,000 if my memory serves me right. I was listening at home that night and the atmosphere was insane and Grant Coleman couldn’t believe it.

We would fight on and somehow took it to the final day of the season. We had to win at Bradford and if we did we were safe whatever happened in the Stoke City v Manchester City game. Behind this link is the three goals from Grant Coleman that day (with Alan Knight in the background). A truly great day but it was Grant Coleman to whom I aspired to be. A good man running sports at local radio. Kind of a humble aspiration no?

Well those dreams have faded and life as they say has moved on but when I made my live football radio commentary debut last weekend I couldn’t help to think back to the man I aspired to be. Doing some internet research it seems as though he lives in Spain now working for the Olympics Host Broadcaster out of Madrid. Doesn’t seem like a bad gig. However I just want it out there that he was the man who made me want to be on radio covering football. I doubt he’ll ever read this but I just want it out there. There are plenty of people who have inspired me in my life but very few of those are people I’ve never even spoken to but he is certainly one of them.

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Google wants us all to have lots of sex and make babies – Fact

Not the most standard of blog post headlines I’ll concede but the evidence is out there.

Yesterday whilst laying in bed busy a lazy so n so watching the cricket an advert for google chrome came on. The advert is below:

Now the advert didn’t make me want to go and download google chrome. Not one jot. So there must be another meaning behind the advert and the only thing that I can think of is tat it will make people want to have kids. Even the most hardened of souls who don’t ever wants kids will be thinking about it after watching that. My favourite teacher of little ones tweeted last night that she cried at the advert and whilst I didn’t cry per se I will say a tear formed.

The US version is below (slightly more of a tearjerker)

I quite simply cannot imagine how a parent could ever feel being in a position where their offspring is lying in a hospital bed and there is nothing you can do. The feeling where you would do anything in the world to make the pain and suffering go away for your loved one but there is nothing whatsoever that you can do. That must be the most terrible feeling a person on this planet can ever feel and that emotion certainly comes through in a brief instant in the American version.

I’m not sure what the adverts intentions were but all it did was make me think about being a parent – and I’m not sure that was exactly the message they were going for but if it was – then they have done a very powerful job.

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Apologies for a quiet week – I fought a virus and it is putting up an excellent fight

I suspect most people haven’t noticed the lack of blogging this week, in fact I suspect no-one has. Still I thought I’d write a blog about being ill now that I’m on the verge of victory with a late-round knock-out.

Last Friday I had a bit of a scratch throat but nothing to be overly concerned about but then came Saturday and oh my word. I was meant to be going to The Valley to watch Charlton Athletic v Exeter City with a couple of mates, then meet a friend in London to catch-up and had plans for Sunday as well. I woke up and wasn’t feeling great and then suddenly my throat decided that retching was the best plan and some of the stuff that was continually coming up was just plain wrong. I tried to drink water and that wasn’t a goer either, that was coming up like everything else. Really not a good situation at all. I thought it was just a cold or early stage man-flu. Turns out it was neither.

I got a sinus infection and it was in the sinus between my nose and eye thus causing blurred vision in my right eye, shall we say concerning? The infection was causing lots of bad things but all manageable enough as I work from home so don’t have to worry about going out and infecting others. Headaches due to blocked sinuses, earache, eye ache as the sinus running underneath my eye was extremely tender. I couldn’t even really lie on my right hand side as it was hurting my face. Add this to the usual overdose of thick disgusting yellow phlegm coming out of everywhere.

It got so worrying that I even went to the docs for the first time in eight years. I’m one of those people who just refuses to go unless there is something seriously wrong. However the doc said I had nothing to worry about, the blurred vision isn’t abnormal in a sinus infection depending on where the infection is buried. She had a look at my eyes and saw nothing wrong with them so just told me not to worry and that as the infection goes the vision will return to normal within a few days. Phew.

So here we are a week later. The virus is still knocking about but is on its last legs I do believe. I blew out the most disgusting stuff late last night which I think came direct from the home of the virus. A couple of times my ears have popped in the past day or so but still not fully clear and the sinus underneath my eye is still tender but not as bad as it was yesterday. The end is in sight and hopefully over the weekend I’ll get back to 100%. That means a return to more pointless blogging. Oh Yes.

So there you have it. I’ve been ill. It sucks. I have seen so many things I’ve wanted to blog about but never fancied sitting at the computer and banging out a blog post. Sitting around sulking and moaning seemed like a much beter use of my energies.

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All Hail Professor Martin Conboy

Stepping away from Politics for two blog posts in a row but this is a special one for all that know him…

All Hail Dr Professor Conboy of the University of Sheffield!

Yes that is right folks. The man who was far too intelligent for the likes of me at the little old Surrey Institute of Art & Design University College has moved up in the world and now is officially even cleverer than he was previously – which was to be honest pretty darn clever. I like to think I’m not stupid but in the presence of genuinely dialled in people I feel pretty darn dumb. It is a bit like when doing a Pub Quiz machine with Sean – I’m not even in his league.

Professor Conboy is the author of the following publications:

* The Press and Popular Culture (2002)
* Journalism: A Critical History (2004)
* Tabloid Britain: Constructing a Community through Language (2006)
* The Language of the News: Communication and Power (2007)
* The Special Issue of Journalism Studies on Global Popular Journalism (2007)

So this is a) a short note of congratulations for the man and b) a note to all students who may pass under his – or any other lectureres/doctors/professors – wing. Actually listen to them, work hard and you can get a lot out of it. I didn’t and that was doing myself a disservice. I sailed through university with my only eyes on the practical side of Journalism and had little to no interest in the theory. It was this that turned by comfortable 2:1 into a 2:2. However whilst that might have been all fine and dandy in a practical sense, part of the journey of life and certainly university should involve expanding the mind.

For example Michel Foucault. I know of the name. I know he was pretty darn smart. Beyond that…

I am sure I spent the best part of fifty hours either in a lecture or in a seminar discussing the aforementioned scholar. Alas without doing any research I couldn’t tell you too much more about him. I zoned out. It wasn’t my interest and I’d have preferred to be spending this time either up in the print or radio newsroom. If I had my time again I’d take a legitimate interest to try and understand. So for all those at university or going to university in the future, heed my warning, make a real effort with every class you have. Whilst in the long run it might not directly help you career wise, what it will do is help your ability to learn along the greatest journey of all – life – and those who sail through life and stop learning are people I do feel sorry for.

So well done Professor Conboy on being awarded a personal chair and keep giving the students who pass through your door the opportunity to grow to become the men and women that they can be. If they choose to keep their mind closed then it is their loss but if you get through to a handful and help them achieve greater life goals then it is a job – and life – well spent.

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An open letter to a 17 year-old me.

This is an open letter to myself at 17 years of age.

Hello Neil,

It’s you from the future – ten years into the future as a matter of fact. I’m writing to tell you about how our lives panned out and will give you the option of deciding whether you want the same for yourself as I did for me. I hope you appreciate the advice.

First of all you’ll be doing A-Levels now. In Year 13. You have an idea of what you want to do with life but no real idea of how to get there. Well you’ll apply for university but only get one offer – and it is a conditional one from the University of Central Lancashire. You’ll smirk to yourself knowing that it is in Preston. However that offer wants you to get 24 points. You get nowhere near 24 points as you are a lazy sod and don’t really care too much about History or Politics (at the time). You get 18 points (including General Studies) but you pass them all and walk away with four A-Levels. In retrospect that isn’t so bad.

You’ll move in with your dad at the end of VI Form as mum moves on to pastures new and her next parish. Before this happens you’ll go on a lads holiday with Nick, Hillman, Martin, Stu and House. You’ll get a cold – yes a cold in bloody hot Spain and spend most of the holiday with snot pouring out of your nose. It sucks. Kinda sums up your life though kid. I’m not going to lie to you – your life doesn’t exactly go swimmingly on most things so be warned – life might not be fantastic.

You move in with your dad as I said above and you’ll get closer to Baz and Pickle and for your gap-year you three are like the Three Amigos. You experience some shall we say ‘interesting’ scenarios whilst out on your haunts with these two guys but I won’t spoil it for you. In December that year you’ll bump into a guy called Dominic from your History & Politics class. You know the one. He says uni is great and that I’d enjoy it. It is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and you apply. This time you get four offers. Sunderland, Shropshire, Staffordshire and the Surrey Institute of Art & Design. Cardiff and Bournemouth – your two first choices both turn you down. You accept the offer from the Surrey Institute of Art & Design and start in October 2002. You regret this decision.

The course itself is ok but the university is very small and you don’t live on campus due to living too close to the university – apparently the Solent means nothing to these cretins. However you do like where you live and that part is all good. You regret it because you wish you’d gone to a bigger metropolitan university. You also make one of your tutors cry and have a blazing row with another in front of your classmates. You are in the right but if looks could kill several of your classmates would have burned right through you. As for the people you meet – you do make friends but you are certainly not the popular person on the course – in fact a long way from it. One person with whom you do your final radio piece comments that she was gutted when she found out I was in her group for the final piece but actually getting to know me that I’m a decent guy and not like se thought at all. This sums up how it goes for you as most people just don’t give you a chance and believe that my bad first impressions are accurate. You don’t help yourself in this regard. Not going to spoil it for you kiddo but before university you’ll need to take a long hard look at yourself and make some changes.

These changes are with regards to your confidence levels and attitude around women. You come off as creepy and stalkerish. Both have some credence to be fair. This comes from in part your lack of exposure to women during your school years (as you know – most of them dislike you immensely) and general lack of self-confidence and in a way self-awareness. Here comes an important note and advice that you need to know.

Do not keep putting yourself down. There are a tonne of other people in this world that will do that for you. You don’t need to join in yourself. People don’t want to hear how ugly you are all the time because quite frankly people who say that kind of thing all the way wear on you. Grow some cojones and self-worth. You are not as ugly as you think. You may not be the prettiest apple on the tree but you aren’t exactly rotten fruit on the floor with bugs eating you from the inside out either.

One thing that’ll help you overcome this is by going to the dentist. You know those two baby teeth you still have at 17? Well they don’t fall out until 2008 – so what age 24? They are a big part of your low self-esteem. Get them out and get it sorted. Even if it means braces. Just deal with it. Women aren’t going to fancy you anyway (for a while at least) so you won’t be missing out on anything. I haven’t been since I was 13 and whilst those two teeth are now out, my teeth are in general white and pretty straight – they could be better. You subconsciously learn not to smile as to not show off your bad teeth. This is bad Neil. Bad. So go ahead and sort it – trust me you’ll thank me in the long run.

As for your lovelife. Don’t be buying any condoms kid. Your virginity is still very much in place (although you do turn down a handful of offers over the years). You’ve also not even been in a relationship yet. I know this probably alarms you and should you sort out your teeth and self-confidence issues then things may well be different for you than it was for me. There are women in your life though over the next decade but nothing works out. Nine times out of ten they’ll be someone else who is either more assertive, nicer, a better fit or to be quite frank – just isn’t you that the woman will plump for. You’ll only meet three people you seriously connect with, things don’t work out with any of them. For two it came down to a choice of you or another person (in one case two other people) and in the other the timing was just all wrong and you wasn’t residing on the Isle of Wight any more. The first one you accept that she made the right choice however the other one you still don’t know and every few months you whimsically go down the ‘what if…?’ path with her in your head.

After university you go and live with your Mum and Pete up in Harwich in Essex. You’ve had a real shit end to your course although you graduate with a 2:2 (but all your practical work was 2:1 or higher) but you are unsure of the next step. You can’t move home because Bryn is living in your room. In the long run this turns out to be a good thing that you never return to the IoW (well maybe – well I think so anyway). So you are living with your mum, in a place where you know no-one and got no idea where life is going. This may just be your latest ebb kiddo but you get through it. You decide to volunteer in a charity shop to pass the days and you come to quite enjoy it. Your confidence levels shoot up dealing with customers every day. However full-time paid work still doesn’t come about. You move with Mum to her next parish just outside of Southend-on-Sea and here you join Hospital Radio in a move at the time to freshen up your radio skills. It becomes a key cornerstone in your life.

It is not until June 2007 – a full two years after university – that you get a full-time job. After just missing out on a job with The Sun is London – you were the second choice – you get a job launching a new Sports Network of websites ironically in Aldershot in Hampshire. When you get off the train for the interview you can’t believe you are back in that shithole of a town but you are – and promptly live there for the next two and a half years.

You move in with three women (score) into a very small and cosy room only seven mins walk from the office. Whilst one room changes hands a fair bit – the other two girls and you live together for the next couple of years and there is very little friction in the house and everyone pretty much gets on with everyone. You actually quite like living there. At uni you also live with a couple of mates in Year 3 in the ‘House of Trouser’ named after Toadie’s house in Neighbours. That’s quite cool as well.

As for the job. You will learn so much but get so frustrated at the same time. It was the right job but maybe at the wrong time or with the wrong company. It could’ve been very good but you keep banging heads with others and slowly lose the will for the fight. Then in late 2008 a company offers to basically underwrite most of my salary is a sponsorship deal across the blogs. This is agreed to but at the last-minute your bosses will pull out of the deal. You get really pissed off knowing that these websites are losing money but in one swoop they could’ve started to pay for themselves. That day you get a call from that said company asking for you to go and work for them. You sit on it for four months before deciding to take the plunge. You don’t regret it. This is one of the biggest risks you’ve ever taken – to move from a staff job to becoming a self-employed contractor but two years later things is going fine and financially you are so much better off. You will wonder just how things may have worked out had you stuck at it but then you remind yourself just how frustrated you were every single day with people not listening to you or giving you the backup you needed.

You move a couple more times and then you end up here – where I’m typing to you from. A wet ugly day outside and I’m just back from doing the food shopping. You live alone in an apartment in a place called Thorpe Bay just outside of Southend. You don’t really ‘belong’ anywhere but can live anywhere as you work from home. Working from home and living alone is quite a lonely existence kiddo but you learn to adapt and most of the time you don’t care too much. You aren’t the most sociable kid around and you don’t become more social as the years go on – in fact quite the opposite – you retreat further into your quiet cosy little world. However this isn’t due to lack of self-confidence – you are in general over those issues – it is just you don’t enjoy the pub/bar/club scene – you never have and you never will. You do Hospital Radio still but not too much else. You always want to write a book but never get around to it. However I have typed nigh on 2,000 words already and it hasn’t been too much of a chore. Shows that it is possible if I set my mind to something to write and write and write…

Your interest in politics will rise and your liberal leanings will always be strong. You still haven’t joined the Lib Dems but you are very much a supporter of the political party. In 2010 they’ll even gain some power entering into a coalition government with the Tories. I know you just choked at that as any notice of such a thing ten years ago was preposterous. Your hate of the Tories has been ground into you from a young age but you learn to form your own opinions. You are very much a Liberal at heart but believe that this coalition was the right thing to do at the time.

You will live through 9/11 – a terror attack on America that involved planes being flown into the Twin Towers in New York – a day that changed the mindset of the western world. This led directly to a second war in Iraq where we installed democracy but led to the beginning of the end for Tony Blair and Labour. You will see Portsmouth win the Championship and get promoted to the Premier League. You will even see them win the FA Cup. However the club will be minutes away from collapse yet again and the club aren’t out of the woods yet. What you won’t see is any hard evidence of extra terrestrial existence as yet.

Some more advice kiddo. Give up the coca-cola. It is not only bad for your teeth but it is also terrible for your overall health. In 2010 you give it up cold turkey and lose a stone within three months solely because of this. Exercise more and try to keep playing cricket. You love cricket and you’ll not play for years. Try and find a team to play for on a Saturday or Sunday. Look after yourself more – don’t grow your hair – it doesn’t look good although it is kept in fantastic condition. Shower every single day and learn that you actually feel better about yourself when you put in an effort with your appearance. Get over yourself on jeans too. You can wear joggers and slacks at home and even just around town but when you are out and about doing things it makes you look like a bum. Someone tells that in 2007 that you’ll never get a girlfriend wearing jogging bottoms and they are right (you could retort that you can’t in jeans either but don’t). Jeans can be comfortable if you get the right ones. Just bite the bullet and do it.

You will meet both some interesting and some ‘interesting’ people over the next ten years. I will say this. Don’t rush to conclusions on people and give them time to open up and the more you speak to, listen to and be with a person the more you’ll know. You’ll learn that in time. It is something everyone learns. No-one is ever as bad as their first impressions give but neither are they ever as good as their first impressions. The truth will lie somewhere in the middle and that is part of the journey of life – to find exactly how far they are from good or bad in your mind.

Lastly you still battle with knowing who you are and you know what I’m talking about. You try to give it up when you go to university but it doesn’t happen. It is a part of your psyche and you battle internally with it. (for those who may read this and aren’t a 17 year-old me – this is nothing illegal we are talking about) – sorry just had to put this as I’m going to put this on my blog as well as sending this to you in the past. A blog is kinda like a personal online diary where people talk about their lives and thoughts. It’s quite a big thing as the 21st Century really gets going. Anyway back to the point in hand – I have no advice for you but choose your own path on that front but keep it closer to your chest than I did. Many people are not as liberal as we are.

So there we have it. 2,500 words of advice and commentary of what your future may look ike if you make all the decisions that I did when I was you. It is up to you what you do with this information but I’d at least follow some of it. Teeth, Coca-Cola, Jeans will all lead you towards having more self-worth and self-confidence. You do grow up to be a very independent person and comfortable with how things worked out for you. They could have easily been different but that is how the cookie crumbles.

One thing though Neil. You grow up to be a genuinely good egg and a very nice, polite young man. That is one thing you need to ensure you do – keep your morals and levels of common courtesy. You never screw a friend over for yourself and you never belittle anyone. People may take advantage of that side of you but you learn how to cope with it and adapt the way you are.

One last thing. Invent Facebook.

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The Guardian hates the Lib Dems but the party clearly aren’t dead yet – and they won’t be anytime soon.

We all know newspapers have bias whether it’s to the right or to the left. The Daily Mirror loves Labour, always have and always will. The Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph – well you know what you get with them. However the paper with the most political bias at the moment seems to be The Guardian.

On Friday 30th April 2010 – The Guardian spectacularly came in support of the Lib Dems. It seemed like an important moment for the party. In retrospect it was a mere footnote of the 2010 General Election. However when the Lib Dems did not do as well as hoped and in turn joined a coalition with the Conservative Party, The Guardian have acted like a woman scorned.

Yesterday I read an article asking Are the Liberal Democrats staring into the abyss?. The answer is no but the journalistic put together a good 2,000 words to try to suggest that they are. Citing the fall of David Laws, the fact that a few councillors have switched sides and their dwindling support at the polls as his main evidence.

He then speaks to Adrian Sanders, Lib Dem MP for Torbay, who sums up what I think in this one quote, “Unlike the bulk of the Liberal Democrat membership, the current leadership and their advisers are dominated by people who give the impression they didn’t, among other things, enter politics to deny the Conservatives political power. That is the fundamental difference between them, and those who . . . view the Tories as the opposition to just about everything we stand for.”.

The party I support do not exist solely to stop the Conservatives. Surely that has to be the case. However the hierarchy at The Guardian do not agree. They clearly think that doing a deal and not doing everything at all costs to stop the Conservatives is the most treacherous thing that a political party that they endorsed could do.

The Oldham East & Saddleworth result was a wash pretty much. Labour’s support went up as did the Lib Dems. The Conservative vote collapsed. Basically it went down how most people expected but The Guardian in several articles today have made it clear that by not winning the seat – a seat the Liberal Democrats have never won in an election – that it was a disastrous night for the party and once again proves they are spent as a political force.

Just a tad OTT don’t you think?

Had the Lib Dems not gone into a coalition or rebelled over the Tuition Fees or the cuts then the Lib Dems probably do win this seat. The 3rd party often do well in by-elections and at this moment the third-party is Labour as the other two major parties are in government. However national polls say the Lib Dems basically have seven possible voters whilst Labour have 30million and the Tories 25million or so. This means that the odds of any of those seven living in this constituency was surely low but shockingly enough over 11,000 votes were polled for the Lib Dems.

What does this say? It says that once people on the ground listen to why the Lib Dems are doing what they are doing they are being swayed. Oldham East & Saddleworth shows that the Lib Dems aren’t dead in the water quite clearly and the vote share held up. Yes some of that vote probably came from Tories either a) not voting or b) voting for the Lib Dems and some of the Lib Dem vote from May will have drifted away but it also shows that the Lib Dems have not been and will not be wiped out.

So whatever The Guardian wants to print it doesn’t cover up the facts. The Lib Dems are clearly alive and kicking. They might not be getting a parade anytime soon but they aren’t hated as much as the national polls (and the media at large) are trying to make out. If people listen then they’ll understand. The problem for the Lib Dems is that most people will not give them the time of day to listen. If they do – things aren’t nearly as bad as many feared…

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2010 – A Neil Year in Review.

Well 2010 is in the books so it is time for me to write my review of the year. Usually I do this in the standard Meme form but not this year. This year it’ll be more of a blog post. So let’s play darts get on with the blog.

2010 will not go down as a vintage year but one important thing and one interesting thing happened. First of all the important. On July 3 2010 I made a decision that I was quitting caffeine and with particular reference to Coca-Cola. For the past 14 odd years I have drunk Coca-Cola as my standard drink – whether it be straight or of the Cherry variety. I woke up that morning and had heart palpitations and it wasn’t the first time. Enough was enough I thought.

Knowing that I had a serious addiction I knew it was going to be hard so I had a plan. I was to cleanse my system as quickly as possible. I did this by drinking litres of squash for a couple of weeks. I was peeing every 20 minutes and then drinking another glass of squash. It worked. I had no significant headaches in this period and the caffeine had been flushed out of my system.

When you compare that to previous years where I’d have a headache after 24 hours of not having a Coke that says something.

Taking Coca-Cola out of my diet has led to other benefits. I now have a lot less sugar in my diet and this had directly led to both significant weight loss and the stop of night sweats. For years I had woken up drenched in the middle of the night and it was getting worse. In the past three months I haven’t had this once. Weight wise I have lost well over a stone despite doing no more exercise. I feel healthier and I don’t sweat just when eating hot food or just walking to the shop. My health has taken a giant step forward in 2010.

The other interesting thing that happened was at the start of the year I decided to see if I could go the whole of the calendar year without drinking any alcohol. I’m not a huge drinker any way but it was a worthwhile personal challenge. I succeeded and went through the year without alcohol. People have said on more than one occasion just how weird it is. I just feel that it is a sad indictment on society if not drinking alcohol is deemed as strange.

Workwise the year has trundled along with me doing the same work for the same company. I run a very successful World Cup campaign and all in all the department has certainly got stronger as the year has gone on. I could have possibly moved to either Malta or Leeds at various points early in the year but chose not to and to stay working from home.

Speaking of home I moved yet again in 2010. This time I moved into my own apartment in a small place called Thorpe Bay on the outskirts of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. I live within a stone’s throw of a railway station with trains every 15 mins into London if I want. I have local shops a stone’s throw in the other direction and the beach ten minutes walk down The Broadway. It is a quiet place and that in general suits me fine. At times I miss living with people and working from home and living alone leads to plenty of quiet times but overall I deal with that fine.

In my private life there isn’t a lot to tell. In 2010 I did have dates – for the first time since 2006 – however I had zero second dates. What that says about me I do not know but only one of those disappointed me. That story has been written elsewhere and I don’t feel the need to write it again. One cancelled a second date as they had – and I quote – ‘washing up to do’ and never spoke to me again. One didn’t speak to me again anyway and one cancelled a date after reading my blog and reading that I had never had a relationship before and basically said she wanted a man not a boy. Score!

Elsewhere the return to this area brought about my permanent return to Hospital Radio. In 2006-2007 before I moved to Aldershot I anchored the Wednesday Night Request Show at Southend Hospital Radio. When I returned there were several new presenters for the show but slowly they have left and I have slowly slid back into the role. I record the show these days as well for the wider non Hospital audience. It is purely voluntary and the feedback we get makes it well worth it.

Two of my closest friends from my school days got married. I was invited to one but not the other. When I was down there for the wedding it was scary just how much everyone had moved on. I felt completely out-of-place there for the first time. I haven’t lived there since 2004 but every time I had returned previously I didn’t feel like a total outsider. I did this time and the time I went back in April. It showed me quite clearly that I don’t belong there anymore and in a sad way I don’t belong anywhere. It made me sad but life moves on.

Sports wise I am still luke warm on Portsmouth as the crooks still hold the keys to the club. Until an owner steps forward who has the best interests of the club at heart and not about lining their own pockets then I’ll continue to not live and die by football results. Cricket has once again risen to the top of my tree but the NFL and NCAA FB are not far behind. I need to start playing sports again. This might be something I can address in 2011.

Overall I wouldn’t say I’m happier but I am certainly much more content with life. 2009 had been an up and down year and saw me call three addresses home and a change of job. 2010 was a lot more straightforward. financially I am doing better than I was and as I’ve already mentioned – my health is in a much much better position than it has been for years. When I used to work at Fubra I would have crashes in the afternoon after lunch and would at times struggle to stay awake. These days I have no problems with this whatsoever.

Lastly of course there is politics. I have become more interested and involved with this as the year has gone on. I’m still not a member of any political party despite my heavy Liberal leanings and Liberal Democrat sympathies. I keep umming and erring about joining and at some point I probably will. I find it interesting but also want to get more involved in other loves including space and the search for ET and UFOs this year. I love being a geek deep down.

So there we are. That was my 2010. I wouldn’t say any one day stands out as it really has been a quiet year. We’ll see what 2011 brings but things are ok. If my boiler gets fixed soon then I’ll be happy. I may write a blog about my hopes and dreams for 2011 but I might not. We shall see.

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Local Girls/Dating

Folks.

I often peruse dating websites to see if my dream girl is out there. Never had any success obviously but I gotta just show you this profile. This is a direct copy&paste. It won’t surprise anyone that I have decided she isn’t the one for me…

to be next to me when i v need him n when need help, to mack me smile when i m up set, to be the one how is lift me up when i m gonna foul

wow!i never sey nothing about me … becouse thear not good things n i don t want to scare nowbady.
i love the life n i like to have a gootd time . i don t like to be bord but ther are not to many things i like to do eader.
i m a complicate person …many persons did not manege to mack me happy …they just roon away
i don t listen to much n i like to know i m right n i v got a really difficul temper… any more u like to know 🙂 how is gonna risck?

What can you say…?

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Would I date Kerry Katona?

Now that is a title of a blog post I never thought I’d write.

I think it is fair to say that it is a question that I’ll never have to answer except for this hypothetical blog post. A few weeks back I saw her in the Daily Mail (yes I read the DM online – as I do The Sun, Guardian and the Indy – I used to read the Times as well but the pay wall annoys me). I think reading all the papers (the online Star, Mirror and Express are rubbish) gives me a greater grasp of everything going on in the World and it also makes me chuckle reading the same story written by four different writers with four different sets of bias.

Anyway as per usual. I digress.

Being the whizz I am with the interwebs I have managed to find the article Linky and thought her new image wasn’t half bad. not half bad at all. Anyway today whilst perusing The Sun online I saw another Kerry article – Linky and thought to be blunt that she was dang hot.

I was also caught unawares that she is only 30 years of age. I thought she was much older. So on just looks I’d date Kerry Katona in a heartbeat but as we all know – even those will very little interest in the media – that she’s not had an easy time of late and mentally her stable-ness has I think it is fair to say been in question.

Now when your future husband has a sexual act performed on him on his stag do and doesn’t see a problem with it then I can see why you are a bit screwed up. Really that was not cool. I’d say that is seriously uncool and it was no surprise that the relationship with Bryan McFadden (aka the fat one out of Westlife who thought he could leave and be the next Robbie Williams) didn’t exactly thrive. There is no way that trust could ever be regained no matter how hard she tried to move on. (I’m defending Kerry Katona – is that the twilight zone?).

Now then she got with a real scumbag by the sounds of it. Obviously I can only go from what we read in the media and maybe the media have not reported in accurately (but all those papers mentioned have called him a scumbag and they never agree on anything – except that Heather Mills is the devils play mate) so maybe he is a real scumbag after all. Her self-worth seemed to be through the floor and when you saw her performance on This Morning a year or so back you just shook your head in despair.

That was rock bottom. She’s finally away from the evil ex so what does she do next? She goes on a dating website but doesn’t put a picture of her on there and she gets a date. So this guy is waiting to meet this person (whom he doesn’t know is Kerry Katona) and suddenly in she walks with a TV crew. Seriously? Seriously? Now I know you have a reality TV show to record and want to make it as interesting as possible but does anyone in their right mind think that someone would be happy to have a first date recorded under the glare of the TV cameras and then a watching audience? Unsurprisingly there was no second date with this gentleman.

I think the key terminology in the previous paragraph was ‘anyone in their right mind’ she clearly was not and I have no idea if she is now. However I do think she’s be interesting conversation although I suspect she’s not the brightest light in the room when it comes to intellectual stimulation.

So to summarise and answer the question at the top of the blog. Yes. Yes I think I would. First of all it would be an experience. Secondly it would be very interesting to spend an evening with someone with such a back story and thirdly well – she is fit. All of this though would be on strict condition of TV cameras.

So Kerry – what do you say…?

Kerry…?

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