The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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On writing a Pop Culture Quiz Book…

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Yes I’m back and once more flogging something. I remember when I used to write all about my life and views on politics here. That seems like an age ago doesn’t it? At some point soon I really should get back to that…

So after the relatively successful debut quiz book The All New Pub Quiz Question Book for 2017 (which is still very much live and still for sale) that I put live a couple of months back, I decided that I’d do another. Doing this breaks up some of my other works as writing creatively sometimes you just don’t have it. My latest fiction piece really bummed out my partner as the main character does not shall we say, get a happy ending. Anyway that is a story for another day and another pen name. Moving on…

Late last night my second quiz book focusing on Pop Culture went live on Amazon. Once more it is (I think) rather competitively priced at £2.99 and would be good for anyone who just likes to challenge themselves against a variety of quiz questions, for anyone setting up a quiz night or just for a bit of fun with the family over the holiday period.

Like last time I have used the pen name of our cat and have promised her tins of tuna for every 50 books that it sells. She’s licking her lips at the prospect already. She really goes crazy with tuna, nearly as much as she does with prawns, man she really loves prawns.

Anyway I’m digressing like I often do when writing on here. If you want to purchase Pop Culture Trivia: 500 Quiz Questions over 50 Rounds on Movies, Music, TV & Sport and support my endeavours (along with getting Misha closer to her reward tuna) then follow the link to the Amazon store. Any positive reviews would also very much be welcome!

Pop Culture Trivia Quiz Book 2018

Pop Culture Trivia Quiz Book

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December 21st, 2017 at 4:37 pm

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On Cherry Bakewell scented shower gel…

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Here at The Rambles of Neil Monnery sometimes we tackle frivolous subjects like progressive alliances, where the Lib Dems went wrong this time, how funny it was that Senator John McCain proper screwed President Trump and how Sol Campbell is not a sympathetic human being. Yet sometimes we go all important and this is one of those types of blog posts people, yes it is the review you were all waiting for and the world needs, an entry all about the Cherry Bakewell shower gel I purchased last week.

Yeah you are probably regretting clicking on this post already. I can feel it.

Well lets go back to the start, on Friday night we were doing the weekly food shop (yay – adulting) and my usual preferred shower gel wasn’t on offer. My heart sunk. Crestfallen would be a good word to use (a nod back to my Fubra days there) but as I stood there perusing the other available bottles, the other half chirped up and pointed out the Cherry Bakewell scented shower gel that was a few along from where I was looking. For one English pound I had to try it for you see, I loves me some Cherry Bakewells. Loves it.

Cherry Bakewell Shower Gel

Cherry Bakewell Shower Gel

So Saturday was the big day. I had a shower and poured some of the gel on to my exfoliating sponge (yes I have one of those – they are amazing) and lathered up before starting to wash myself with it and bloody hell, it really smells of cherry bakewells. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought a nice six-pack of Mr. Kipling’s finest were waiting for me just outside of the shower awaiting me to take them down in a five-minute frenzy. Yet no pastries were waiting for me, just the scent of them smothering and cleansing my skin.

Once washed off though the smell doesn’t really stay on you at all. The cherry bakewell-ness of the shower gel is very much short-term. Still, it provides a swift reminder of how delicious cherry bakewells are and gives you the urge to go and buy yourself a pack. I managed to resist (for now) but as a novelty purchase it wasn’t the worst one I’ve ever made (I once had cola bottles scented hand soap and now have a bubblegum scented one) but if you are hoping to use it and spend the day wandering around the office making everyone crave some of Mr. Kipling’s finest, you’ll need to come up with another idea I’m afraid.

I’ll get back to pointless politics type stuff soon I’m sure…

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July 31st, 2017 at 11:45 am

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On a song that just makes me smile…

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I think we all know that I’m no music critic or music writer. I have many, well some, well one or two journalistic qualities and writing about music isn’t one of them. So I tend not to write about it and music certainly isn’t my thing as it were. Yet every so often a song comes about that I keep clicking on whether it be YouTube or Spotify when I’m on the move and a song but an artist who is somersaulting up my music thoughts and that artist is former Canadian Idol third place finisher Carly Rae Jepsen.

From her third album E•MO•TION, we’ve already had the awesome video and above average catchy pop tune of I Really Like You but her second release is even better. The video is again superb as it shows Carly during her promotional tour for the album in New York, Paris & Tokyo and is filmed without a plan or script, it is just a camera following Carly around during down time between events (it has since come out that Carly didn’t even know it was for a music video until well into filming) and shows a young woman just enjoying life. I also loved the karaoke bar scenes as it reminded me so much of Lost in Translation, a film that just makes me happy. So the video is great but what about the song?

It is knock out of the park good if you are a fan of pop with an 80s synth vibe then it’ll be right up your street. There is plenty of music that is great that is deep and meaningful but often people (well I know I do) just want music to cheer them up and that is where cheesy easy-listening pop music comes in and that is what this song comes good. It is packed full of energy and bounciness that I think we’ve come to expect of Carly and to be frank just full of full good vibes and that is what I want in my pop. Throw in a surprising amount of saxophone and you’ve got yourself a sure-fire hit and a summer song that’ll go far.

It still surprises me just how much I am liking her music. It is what I call ‘happy music’ and the type of music that you can often find me bouncing about to in the kitchen when making dinner. On a slightly deeper level it reminds me that their is a big wide world out there and whilst there is oh so much bad that we see populate our news outlets, there are also opportunities to people to just be happy and isn’t that deep down what we all want, to smile and be happy?

Watch and enjoy. If you don’t find yourself bopping along then I’ll be surprised.

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August 2nd, 2015 at 5:09 pm

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On my experience with the Tesco Neighbourhood Food Collection…

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So from Thursday through to Saturday the Tesco Neighbourhood Food Collection is taking place, in association with the Trussell Trust and Fareshare UK. These events are taking place in Tesco stores up and down the country and I put myself forward to volunteer for two stints, in two different stores, one for the Trussell Trust and one for Fairshare UK and I had two very different experiences.

We’ll start with the bad. On Thursday I was down to volunteer for Fareshare and I went to that store. First things first, when I turned up they had pretty much got nothing sorted and this was deep into the afternoon. All they had was a table, a trolley, the shopping lists to hand out and the tabards to wear so people knew what you were there for. I went to the customer service desk to sign in as instructed and the lady there told me that a guy was also volunteering, went up and spoke to him and he said he was leaving and that all I had to do was hand out the shopping lists, simple enough really.

The problem was that there was no-one else there to help so people walking in would generally see you and go the other way. You can’t cover the whole of the entrance alone and quite quickly I became dispirited. With no staff to help or any other volunteers it was also quite lonely and to be honest pretty boring. I know that some good was happening as some food was being donated and that would go to needy people but it certainly what I would call an enjoyable afternoon. I have done plenty of charity/voluntary work in the past and this was certainly the least enjoyable situation that I’d been in.

After an hour or so I was really thinking about how long I could stick it out. The public weren’t taking the shopping lists and it just wasn’t a good experience. About an hour or so later I’m presuming a manager of some sort came up to me and said they would put over some announcements on the tannoy to announce what was going on to help and then said words that would resonate in my brain, ‘it is always nice to have an extra pair of hands to help’ and all I could think was that no-one at that store was helping that food collection in any way at all. It felt like that had no desire to be involved at all. That really annoyed me that they welcomed an extra pair of hands but did nothing to help at all. About 45 minutes later and still no tannoy announcements and I decided enough was enough. I knew there were no other volunteers for the rest of that day to hand over to and I had planned to stick it out until the end of the day but I just couldn’t do it.

So I felt pretty down that despite having done some good and a trolley brimmed full of donated produce, I had not felt either a) wanted or b) respected by my experience. I know volunteer work isn’t really about what you get out of it but when you feel that badly about your experience, it doesn’t really make you feel good.

On to today and a much better experience, the local Food Bank here is overseen with the help of six local churches and they had divided the shifts into two hour slots. One of the guys picked me up and there were three of us so we could cover the the whole entrance area and indeed there were people to talk to and bounce off of each other. This time there was a whole display that had been set up and a whole area devoted to the event. The people I was with said that it wasn’t as good as last time as that Tesco store had put on an excellent display in previous collections.

Again no Tesco staff were actually on hand to help although this time with the food bank having organised the volunteers etc. – there wasn’t as much of a need but looking on twitter and you can see in many of these collections, Tesco staff seemed to mingle and help out with the volunteers, that didn’t happen at either store where I volunteered. This was disappointing. More so yesterday than today.

Today was more enjoyable and more productive. It certainly felt good to see people you’d spoken to as they had walked in donate and we took away probably 10-14 crates of food to the food bank warehouse after our two hour shift.

Two things of note. The 12:00 minute silence for the Tunisia victims was observed but I certainly had no idea of it until it actually happened. The store stopped and went silent and people were walking in and were completely confused by what was going on. That was surreal.

Secondly we had one person take umbrage with what we were doing and claimed that food banks were ruining this country because food banks stopped people from getting jobs. He walked up to me going on about how people would line up if people were handing out ten pound notes and whilst some would, many people wouldn’t but he kept going on and on about it and one of the food bank regulars took over and spoke to him but he was going on for a good 15 minutes, it was madness. I know there is a lot of misinformation about food banks out there but the fact of the matter is the vast majority, the vast majority, are in real need of a meal. I don’t know the ins and outs but poverty is a real issue and poverty is not a choice, no matter what anyone thinks.

So my two stints volunteering were wildly different. I felt down after one and the other I felt some real good was done (a lot more food was donated today). As I said earlier, doing voluntary work isn’t about what you can get out of it but more what you can do to help others but when you feel as though no-one wants you there then it is really tough.

One thing I did notice though was who donated more, who took the shopping lists more and who went out of their way to ignore you and not make eye contact. Step forward the women of the world for being the far more polite sex on this front. Also age ranges, the best sections were clearly women who were mothers, women who were grandmothers were amongst the worst, the retired generation as a whole didn’t could away well from my unscientific survey of my memory. Most men who declined though would at least make eye contact and say no thank you whereas the majority of women who didn’t take one would avoid you or look at you like you were beneath them. It was quite eye-opening.

I’m not sure I’m recommend it to anyone else, if I could guarantee they had a similar reception to what I got today then I would but yesterday was so bad. I think I’d tell anyone planning on doing it to ensure they weren’t doing it alone and to rope in a friend or colleague to go with them. I think I was just really unlucky yesterday but it did really make me feel like shit. The food banks do such great work and those of us who are lucky not to have ever dealt with them are indeed just that, lucky and there but for the grace of God as they say.

Food banks need all the support they can get and I think Tesco do a great job getting involved centrally but at a store by store level the experiences seem to be so different. I’m not sure if that is a management issue at stores locally but looking at photos on twitter you can see the differences between the stores that really go out and promote the event and those who bury it in the background.

If you are in Tesco at any time between now and Saturday then please don’t be rude to any volunteers and donate what you can. The Tesco Neighbourhood Food Collection will no doubt happen again in November/December and there are always plenty of ways to donate to your local Food Bank, whatever you donate goes straight to people in need and knowing that is part of the reason why I think volunteering for such an event was a good one to do. This isn’t money going to pay whatever overheads but this food goes straight to those who need it, what could be better?

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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July 3rd, 2015 at 3:36 pm

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On why mushrooms are in fact, evil…

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There are very few things that I know for sure in life. Things like Homes under the Hammer is better when it is just Martin & Lucy with no Dion in sight. That Edgar Hansen is about as cool as they come. That Bangers n Mash is a tremendous meal. That Jack McCoy is one of the best characters in TV and then of course we get to the simple fact that mushrooms are evil little bastards.

The first evidence I’d like to produce is the look of them. I mean look at them, why would anyone look at a mushroom growing up from the ground and think, ‘well they look like something I’d like to put into my mouth’ but yet someone did and for whatever reason they decided they were good and the myth of its edibility continued to grow.

The next piece of evidence I’d like to produce is the smell. Has anyone ever smelt mushrooms in a frying pan and thought, ‘they smell great, I want them in my gob right now?’ – No, no they haven’t (well they might’ve done but still…) but they give off this odour that is in fact a warning to everyone around that they are bad and shouldn’t be touched. Of this I am sure.

Next up we get to the crux of the issue, the taste. If you put one in your mouth and actually taste the thing and are able not to wretch then you have a stronger stomach than I. I have eaten mushrooms before when they were hidden in food and I have either gagged or suppressed the disgusting taste with stronger tastes that masked the vileness of the fungus.

A true story, many, many, many moons ago someone made me dinner and put mushrooms in it and I was too polite to put forward my thoughts on the spawn of the devil so I mashed them up so small and covered them in the other flavours that I could just about hold them down. When you are going through a whole meal just trying not to wretch then it isn’t the best. Still I did it and ate the whole plate. Sometimes I can be a good guy…

Last up I’d like to say any food that has plenty of poisonous varieties should be viewed with some sense of trepidation. Here is a list of Mycotoxins this poisonous mushrooms can have in them:

Ibotenic acid

Psilocybin and psilocin

The ones in bold are deadly and the ones in italics are potentially deadly.

Honestly who wants to eat a product that has so much danger attached to it? I know commercial mushrooms farms aren’t the same as mushrooms in the wild but still.

The long and short of it is mushrooms look hideous, they smell rancid and have a pungent taste. They are doing everything in their power to warn us of how bad they are and yet people still keep putting them inside of them and declaring them tasty. I just don’t get it. Mushrooms are clearly evil and we aren’t taking note of all the warning signs. It makes me despair and as for all these Chinese places adding mushrooms into meals where they have no place in being, I mean come on, I keep trying to avoid the things and they just get in everywhere!

PS: I don’t like mushrooms.

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June 24th, 2015 at 3:42 pm

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On I really really really really really really like you…

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Pop music. I haven’t heard a genuinely classic pop music song so far this year. I have heard many good songs but they’ve been in other genres. Yet what do you get when you get one of the greatest actors of his generation to star in a music video for a third placed Canadian Idol? You get one of the most catchy and quality pop tunes for a long, long time.

Carly Rae Jepsen burst on to the scene with Call Me Maybe and also had another hit in a collaboration with Owl City but has been off the radar for a while and then boom, she comes out with this.

Pop music should make you smile. I listen to lots of different genres of music dependent on my mood and some make you think, some make you zone out, some pumps you up but pop music should make you smile, make you bop about. This song does that and does that in spades. Who though had the idea of plonking in Tom Hanks as the lead character and why on Earth did Tom say yes?

Well surprisingly it was reportedly Tom’s idea! Yes the coolest man in Hollywood (bar Bill Murray) heard about the project as he knows Carly’s manager and when told about the music idea wanted to be asked. I mean just how cool is that? Then at the end there’s even a cameo from Justin Bieber (that I missed the first few times I watched the video). So the video ticks a lot of ‘celebrity’ boxes.

I have long thought good music videos will help change my mind on a song. For example I’m not a huge fan of ‘Sky Full of Stars’ by Coldplay but I absolutely adore the video (embedded below) so therefore when it pops on one of the music channels I don’t turn over immediately and subconsciously I like the song more than I would without a cool video.

Carly’s song is extremely boppy and catchy but the video takes it to the next level. I mean who doesn’t want to see Tom Hanks dancing? I know I do. The song is available for digital download in the UK from Sunday 26th April and this has smash hit written all over it. This will surely be her second UK #1 and has the chance to be the song of the early summer. This is pop music at its absolute best.

Catchy, cheery, a happy message. Love it and this is why I don’t write reviews. How terrible was this blog post…? Please don’t send answers on a postcard.

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April 19th, 2015 at 6:21 pm

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On meeting the 2015 edition of the Fratton Yankees…

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Many many moons ago I had a blog that a few people would read. It was very similar to this blog actually (although this is read by thousands of people a week and is far less personal). One day one of my frequent readers told me that some of my blogs were boring and that no-one cared about my fantasy baseball team. She said from that moment on she didn’t want to speak to me ever again. From that day I vowed to write about my fantasy baseball team once a year in homage to her. So Louise Fletcher of Manchester (this was many many moons ago, good odds that her surname has since changed) don’t read this, it’ll only bore you (actually it will bore you all but still…)

So I’ve been involved in this one fantasy baseball league for ten years. It is a keeper league, 7×7 stats where you have 24 man rosters with eight man minor league rosters for players who’ve never played in MLB before. You get to keep 12 players from your major league roster every year and four minor league players. Then you draft the rest of your roster each off season.

Things though were a little bit different this year, my long time friend and GM of the two-time champion Edinburgh Red Sox, Neil H, quit the league because of the elongated draft that takes me months and is annoying as hell. He’d been threatening to quit for a couple of years and this year was the year. So my main rival as it were was gone. Yet I stuck it out as I look to secure my first title (I’ve been a losing finalist twice and been the overall #1 seed once).

To start with my keepers were as follows:

Buster Posey – C/1B
Josh Donaldson – 3B
Manny Machado – 3B
Rusney Castillo – OF
Brett Gardner – OF
Billy Hamilton – OF
Yasiel Puig – OF
George Springer – OF
Yu Darvish – SP
Collin McHugh – SP
Jordan Zimmermann – SP
Aroldis Chapman – RP

My four youngsters in the minor leagues that I kept were:

Lucas Giolito – SP
Joey Gallo – 3B
Amed Rosario – SS
Miguel Sano – 3B

Two things are clear. I have too many outfielders and I have serious depth/logjam at 3B. Still I decided to just keep the best players I had and planned to work out how to fit them into my team as/when.

I was drafting 11th out of 16 and in the first round you always try to find a player who can be of keeper quality and in a position of need. I am desperate for that impact bat at 1B, I haven’t had one since Justin Morneau’s AL MVP season. Three excellent 1B options were available in Chris Davis, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez. None of them dropped to me but the fourth person on my draft list did – Kolten Wong – 2B. He’s a young player who many are predicting to become an elite bat at second base. He was an Edinburgh Red Sox player but their replacement manager didn’t keep him. I was glad to take him.

Next up I took a surprise. I have learned over the years not to draft value but to go after players that I like even if it means reaching. Still I came to my second pick and I just thought Trevor Rosenthal – RP was too much value so I nabbed him. This gave me two elite closers in Chapman and Rosenthal and that position was sorted. In rounds three and four I took two players in positions of need that I wasn’t crazy about. JJ Hardy – SS and Justin Morneau – 1B. SS is so shallow that he was the last half decent option there so felt I had to take him (and he’s already injured) and Justin Morneau whilst not finding his power stroke last year did lead the NL in batting average so I thought he’d be a solid if unspectacular option.

That filled up my day-to-day batting roster and allowed me to concentrate on my starting rotation. By now Yu Darvish had got injured and was out for the year. Darvish and Zimmermann was a pretty powerful 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation so losing a player of Darvish’s calibre was a huge blow. McHugh was a surprise last season and was I suspect the biggest shock out of my retained list but to expect him to be the #2 starter was an issue. I tried to find a trade partner to bring in a #2 quality starter but managers were asking for the Earth so I had to draft well.

John Lackey, AJ Burnett, Alfredo Simon and Bartolo Colon were my next four picks. Not stellar but not awful in terms of adding depth to the rotation. Colon has already pitched great on opening night. I’m not expecting miracles from these guys but if they can keep me competitive most weeks in terms of Wins, Quality Starts and K’s as well as ERA and WHIP then I’ll be happy. My pitching is not strong but I don’t think its weak either. My offence on paper is better than it has been in recent years so I should be competitive. I have made the playoffs in both of the past two years including a dramatic playoff run in 2013, where when the last pitch of the season was thrown, I wasn’t in the playoffs but when that play ended, I was in. Drama!

Still four more picks and the next two were set up guys. Our league has Holds as a stat so you need to add a couple of set up guys. I chose Joakim Soria and Jordan Walden. I thought both were good options and was happy with them. Then in the final two picks you look to take fliers on guys who might surprise. My first was a guy I nearly took in round four in Steve Pearce. The Orioles’ 1B/DH/RF was a shock last year with a .925 OPS and 21 HR in 338AB but no-one liked him to repeat. I took a chance and he’s already gone deep twice. I loved this pick then and love it more now. Lastly Ricky Nolasco – SP and his first start was shall we say, not great…

So that is my major league roster but wait, I need to take four youngsters to fill out on minor league squad.

Again I picked 11th and I had a guy in mind but at the last minute I changed my mind and took Kyle Schwarber, a catcher out of the Chicago Cubs organisation. I don’t need a catcher as I have the #1 catcher in Buster Posey entrenched in my major league side but when it comes to the minors I just pick the best players available in my opinion. Second round I brought in a Japanese pitcher who is still playing in Japan in Kenta Meada. Lots of talk about him being posted and I wanted to retain his rights for the season to see if he does get posted next off season.

In rounds three and four I took Kyle Zimmer – SP out of the Royals organisation and Yoan Lopez – SP out of the Diamondbacks organisation. I really liked these picks and whilst I felt my major league draft was only ok, I thought my minors went very well and I have excellent depth and hope that some of my minor leaguers become elite major league players.

So there we go. You’ve met the 2015 Fratton Yankees and some people wonder why I’m single… Don’t you want more politics guff instead of this?

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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April 9th, 2015 at 11:13 am

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On missing out on £40 because of talking too much politics…

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Every so often here at The Rambles of Neil Monnery we (well what I mean by that is me, myself & I) we get e-mails from companies wanting to advertise on the blog. I take these approaches on a case-by-case basis depending on the type of article that they want written and the type of site/business they want advertised. I was recently approached about a piece for an online bed retailer. No harm, no foul I thought and that £40 they were offering for an article could be put towards something that I didn’t need on eBay so I agreed. They would provide an article and I’d upload it to the blog on their behalf. Simple.

So a week or so had passed and I was informed that despite them approaching me, they decided that my blog was too political and they thought a piece about bedding wouldn’t look natural. I did point out that my blog can be about whatever I decide to write about. I cover a variety of topics (as they surely knew when they approached me) and indeed have actually written a blog post about my own bed before so there is precedence. I said just tell me the links and key terms you need in the article and I’ll write it myself. Apparently though I couldn’t make something look natural even if on my own blog. Yeah…

Now in a bizarre twist the company that approached me for this link also approached me around 18 months ago but in a very different guise. They approached me to see if I was interested in heading up the outreach department on this very project (not just the online bedding stuff but their whole outreach project).

I get e-mails from their outreach people all time because a) my blog is pretty powerful SEO wise so getting a link on my blog is actually worth a fair few pennies and b) my blog is so varied in terms of content, it ranks well for a variety of key terms and therefore appeals to a wide range of advertisers. Every time I get an e-mail I am tempted to reply telling them that had I been interested then I could have easily been their boss but I wasn’t keen on returning to the office nor moving to York and I was more than (and still am) comfortable and content with my current work situation.

This amused me so I thought I’d write about it because hello, it is my blog and I can write about anything I like but I’d also write a few words about my bed in addition to what I’ve written before. My bed is actually my most expensive purchase that I have ever made. My thought process was that if I’m going to spend a third of my life in bed then I might as well buy a very good one that was extremely comfortable. So I did. It was more expensive than my 42″ HDTV, it was more expensive than any of my computers or laptops. It was more expensive than my iPad. You start to get my drift. So I actually know all about spending money on a bed and the value of doing so.

I could have been quite the spokesman for an online bedding company because I like to spend a lot of time in bed. Unlike most who may use the bedroom as a hot and spicy place full of fun and frolics, I don’t have that option because I’m a lamentable human being or at the very least, my love life is. So I use mine to listen to the weather. Hearing the rain fall and the cars splashing in puddles is the most relaxing experience. I do my thinking in bed and when you take take in the marathon fantasy baseball draft that I do then I can lay there and think about that for hours. In the winter I often go to bed early just because it is so comfortable and warm.

Spending money on a good bed (well mattress, the frame really is secondary) is one of the best things that you can do if you can afford to. I sleep extremely well these days and I never *touches wood* have any back issues. So people of the world I proclaim this, if your finances dictate that you can spend money on one ‘luxury’ item in terms of for the home then I’d go with a really good mattress. Go down to your local bedding store and lay on a few and find one that feels right to you and go get it. You won’t regret it.

When I bought a bed, I just went into Dreams and the woman came up to me and asked about budget and I essentially told her that there was no budget but I wasn’t going to be stupid. I laid on a few mattresses and found one that wasn’t full memory foam but the top 5cm was memory foam with the usual springs under the rest of the mattress. It just felt good and was within my (in my head) budget. It also helped that it was over 50% off compared to its usual price. So I agreed to buy it and it got made to my specifications and a couple of weeks later I had a bed. That was over six years ago and I’m very happy with my bed and I have no plans to upgrade at any point in the near future.

So things to take away from this pointless exercise, spending money on a very good mattress is not a false economy, I can write whatever I like on my own blog and make it not stick out like a sore thumb and for those outreach people who approach me about advertising, don’t approach me, agree to everything and then say you can’t make it a natural fit. You should do your research beforehand and if the blog isn’t the right fit then don’t approach me in the first place. By doing so and changing your mind you just waste my time and yours. So do your research and if the blog is the right fit then drop me an e-mail with your proposals.

We (I) are open for business, just like the country, am I right people? Am I right…?

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

March 23rd, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Posted in Random Stuff

Take Me Out Girls 2015 – Season Seven

with 34 comments

To watch Becky’s first cooking video of Boom Bangers & Wholegrain Mustard then click here.

So here I am once more. I have just collated all the profiles and photos for the flirty thirty as the seventh season of Take Me Out gets under way on Saturday night.

Like last year, I’ve got together the photos Fremantle Media have sent out along with the details and some random facts about the girls as sent out as part of the press pack. It is intended to be a light-hearted and whimsy look at the people that will be lighting up our screens for the next few weeks.

This year Laura Jackson will be joining Mark Wright as host of The Gossip and of course Paddy McGuinness is the master of ceremonies for the main event as per usual. The show has been responsible for three engagements, two weddings and one baby already and another is due in March, so it isn’t just entertainment, it has changed lives too. If I recall correctly Blind Date had two weddings in its entire run so TMO isn’t doing too bad for itself!

On communicating with the girls, in general most of them over the past few series have been fine with follows/tweets but prefer not to be contacted via Facebook. Most of them will have twitter accounts so feel free to search for them and tweet them, however I’d recommend not trying to get in touch via other social media platforms as in general they prefer them to be kept more private.

Adding people to Facebook when you don’t really know them can come across as a little bit weird and creepy, just trust me on that, I have been there and done it and yeah, not good. It can easily lead to awkwardness and regret and stuff so honestly folks, just don’t do it. I’m pretty laid back on this front but other people, less so and if I was a girl and on a show like Take Me Out, I suspect I’d be pretty weirded out lots of random guys I didn’t know adding me to Facebook so think folks, think.

Anyway, no-one cares about the preamble. You are here for photos and details. They are all provided below. You can click on the photos for a larger version. I hope you enjoy the light-hearted take on things and enjoy the show. I wrote it all up and WordPress decided to lose over two thirds of my text so I had to re-write most of it, I hope it is as interesting second time around because I was writing it whilst swearing at WordPress a lot.

So what time is it…?

Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Peanut Butter Jelly Time…

No wait, that’s not it.

What time is it?

It’s Chico time.

No, No, No. That isn’t it either.

Paddy, what time is it?

It’s time to bring on the girls…


Flirty Thirty



Age: 19
Job: Administration Support Assistant
Location: Cardiff
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Seven Months
Random Fact: Her nickname is ‘Abs Cabs’ as she keeps dating guys who don’t drive and she has to drive them around. As an aside here, I don’t drive but don’t ever feel the need to get driven around. Yes I get the odd lift here n there but in general I just use the choo choo and walk everywhere I need to go. People should use public transport and walk more, they shouldn’t rely on people driving them around. Anyway…back to our regularly scheduled programming…
Reason why I think she’s great: She goes to a spin class and annoys others by her constant talking and cheering herself on. I’m sorry but I love the mental image I have of people cheering themselves on whilst working out. It is quite lovely.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off by those who wear 1980s sneakers and don’t drive. What is the verdict on Nike Air Max 95s?



Age: 29
Job: Transport & Logistics Co-Ordinator
Location: Bolton
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eighteen Months
Random Fact: She flushes public loos with her feet to avoid getting germs on her hands. Look I know public loos can be pretty grim at times but that seems like a lot of effort, doesn’t it?
Reason why I think she’s great: She has a soft spot for geeks. More people should. Am I clever enough to be classed as a geek? Answers on a postcard…
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man is a racing driver, how does she feel about a guy who doesn’t even drive…? Oh.



Age: 27
Job: Vintage Dress Maker
Location: Staffordshire
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Four Months
Random Fact: She knows all the words to most of the big 90s rap songs. I’d sing-song against her with Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise.
Reason why I think she’s great: Have a look at the dress in her photo that has been sent out. I mean come on, who wouldn’t instantly fall in love with someone who was wearing a dress that was a comic? Seriously awesome.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man runs his own business, well technically I do so I’m in the game folks, I’m in the freaking game *starts to hyperventilate* but wait, there is more, and this ideal guy also drives a Lamborghini. Bugger.



Age: 34
Job: Nail Technician Student
Location: Blackpool
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: Her nickname is foghorn as she is loud and chatty
Reason why I think she’s great: She loves Am Dram. More people should enjoy the arts.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal first date would be something energetic and fun-packed like rock climbing. My idea of energetic is rolling over in bed to the cold side (ok that might be slightly facetious but still…)

Becky Take Me Out 2015


Age: 28
Job: Catering Student
Location: Sheffield
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She has a green belt in Karate.
Reason why I think she’s great: Three of the six notes sent out by the production company about Becky are about her love for food. I mean that is enough to like someone isn’t it, her obvious love of food? As an aside here, when I first scanned the press pack, I looked at her and I have seen her before somewhere, I have no idea where but the face rings a bell, weird.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She once ended up in A&E with a sprained ankle whilst doing a runner from a boring date. I can’t imagine what she’d do to herself in her desperation to get away from me on a date, I fear she’d do a lot more damage than that.



Age: 26
Job: Personal Trainer
Location: Stevenage
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She was once a club 18-30 rep.
Reason why I think she’s great: She has been known to sack her clients who aren’t putting in the effort with regards to their personal training. I like this hardball attitude. I know she could whip me into shape (and not in the good way I thought about when I typed that sentence…)
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Because of that previous sentence. Oh and her ideal man should be manly and dressed well amongst other characteristics and I’m afraid they are two things that I am not.



Age: 23
Job: Fairy/Murder Mystery Role Player
Location: Manchester
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eight Months
Random Fact: Her biggest fear is the tube and the idea of getting trapped in the doors.
Reason why I think she’s great: He nickname is ‘Two Teas Claire’ because she loves food so much that she used to have two teas, one at 4PM and one at 8PM. I could be fully on board with this Claire. I really could.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is looking for an older man, she’s 23, I’m 31…we are in play here folks, we are in play, *high fives the non existent crowd of people behind me* but wait, there is more, preferably a silver fox, ok I’ll just go to the mirror and check…bugger. What if I get silver hair glitter, will that do…?



Age: 23
Job: City Worker
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She once thought the Lake District was in Essex *shakes head in despair*
Reason why I think she’s great: Her biggest passion is chocolate. Someone who knows where it is at!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her celebrity crush is Joey Essex. All Joey Essex and I share is our mix of chromosomes. She also wants a guy who can street dance well…



Age: 23
Job: Account Manager for a Bank
Location: Cheshire
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Four Months
Random Fact: She is obsessed by Legally Blonde and tries to model for life on the lead Elle Woods.
Reason why I think she’s great: She has a first class degree. Brains are sexy folks. Brains are fecking sexy.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would be a traditional guy, nice teeth, good clean-cut face and a well-fitting suit. O for 4 folks. I don’t even own a suit, let alone a well-fitting one. Also, me? Traditional? Yeah right…



Age: 26
Job: Events Recruitment Agent
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Seven Months
Random Fact: She was crowned Miss Globe England in 2013
Reason why I think she’s great: Her dream man is the laid back surfer type. I can see that and think that shows good taste. Whenever I think of laid back surfer dudes I think of Brad Willis from Neighbours and Hayden Quinn from Masterchef Australia. If you don’t know the type Google them.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal date would be something outdoorsy, like rock-climbing or scuba diving, well scuba diving is fair but rock-climbing…*runs away screaming* – have you not seen that advert where the cheap guy buys the rubbish rope because he likes a bargain?



Age: 23
Job: Speech Therapy Assistant
Location: Guisborough
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Six Months
Random Fact: Her worst first date is scuba diving as the open and deep water would freak her out and she doesn’t want to cry on a first date. I’m taking bets on what her date will be on the Isle of Fernando’s should she get there…
Reason why I think she’s great: Degree in linguistics. I’ve said it before folks, brains are sexy.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would treat her like a Princess…I think many women want this and this might be a big fail in my love life endeavours. I need to learn how to treat people special.



Age: 26
Job: Sales & Marketing Executive
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eighteen Months
Random Fact: Her love of pink and lipstick has earned her the nickname ‘Barbie’
Reason why I think she’s great: Her ideal date would be quad biking (ok) or swimming with dolphins (Yes, Yes, Yes – I love dolphins!)
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off by bad teeth, bad skin and no sense of style. Well a few months back folks I had a date with someone who decided to write up a review of it for the world to see and here is what she wrote about my sense of style, ‘Mr M was in scruffy jeans, scruffy t-shirt and outrageous trainers. He did look like he had just rolled out of bed, chucked some clothes on and walked down the road.’ That is my style through the eyes of someone else. Would it shock you that a second date wasn’t pending…?



Age: 18
Job: Disney Princess
Location: Norfolk
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Months
Random Fact: She has four jobs, the aforementioned Disney Princess at Disneyland Paris, but also a gymnastics coach, a stilt walker and a dancer.
Reason why I think she’s great: She back-flipped a mile for charity. C’mon that is seriously amazing. Huge props.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal date would involve an element of danger, well how about me cooking a meal? With my culinary skills that is serious danger. No? Oh.



Age: 23
Job: Customer Service Advisor
Location: Grimsby
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She cannot tell her left from her right.
Reason why I think she’s great: She has a photographic memory and that is a very handy skill to have, although she uses it to remember any outfit that someone has worn before. With me you wouldn’t need a photographic memory for that, as explained a couple of profiles ago, my sense of style is shall we say, pretty basic to say the least.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would be good with their hands, have brown eyes and a Welsh accent. Well my tickling prowess has been commented on before but otherwise my hands are just hands, my eyes are blue and I speak with a broad southern accent.



Age: 30
Job: Site Secretary for a Constriction Company
Location: Kent
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: She has failed her driving test four times and has taken over 200 lessons.
Reason why I think she’s great: In her spare time she also works in Ann Summers. Need I say any more…?
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: I have no idea who her ideal date of Joe Manganiello is. Like no idea.



Age: 23
Job: Personal Assistant
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: She has a (very) irrational fear of oblong and square plates and would prefer to not eat dinner than eat off of one and people say I’m weird…
Reason why I think she’s great: She is an aspiring film maker and makes short films in her spare time. I mean just how cool is that? Always get big thumbs up from me for creative people.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She wants a guy who is tall, tattooed and bearded. Well I did grow a beard not that long ago and I can assure you people of the internet, it was not a good look. Oh and I’m neither tall nor bearded. Woe.



Age: 23
Job: Ballet Teacher
Location: Dundee
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She used to be a cheerleader at Upton Park for West Ham.
Reason why I think she’s great: In her final year of uni she lived in a convent and the nuns would catch her and her friends sneaking out on CCTV. Those pesky nuns. I just like the idea of having to sneak past nuns.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Nothing obvious in her notes that have been sent out but she is very spontaneous and that is something I most certainly am not and whenever I am, it backfires spectacularly.



Age: 35
Job: Oil Company Account Manager
Location: Cheshire
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: Once Kelly’s friends dared her to kiss an old man in the pub so she did and his false teeth fell out in her mouth, that sounds proper grim although I bet she made that old guys evening! Why aren’t women ever dared to kiss me…
Reason why I think she’s great: Her ideal date is mud wrestling. Yep totally down with that. I mean totally (although I’d prefer jelly but still..)
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: In the notes sent out just like Kayleigh above, nothing stands out for this section. I will note here that she eats a pea sandwich every day, quirky doesn’t cover it but I like it.



Age: 20
Job: Education Studies Student
Location: North Wales
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: Her nickname is (unsurprisingly) Lil Kim based on the fact that she is 4ft11″
Reason why I think she’s great: Her celebrity crush is Dougie from McFly. I think that is a pretty good and normal crush. Some would say my crush on former PSU star volleyball middle hitter Katie Slay is a bit left field but Dougie from McFly in the context of this is pretty out there but I do like it.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man has a life plan. I had a life plan but then life got in the way and everything changed. Doh.



Age: 26
Job: Admin Assistant
Location: Belfast
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Three Years
Random Fact: She is afraid of many things (and not just actually meeting me, I often wonder what would happen if one of the girls ever bumped into me in the real world just how they would react, I mean I sit here in my mother’s basement – well that bit isn’t true, I actually live on my own with more bathrooms than people – but writing this does make me sound like a bit of a sad loser, which I am, but still, gotta keep up the appearance) but yeah, would they go, ‘oh my word, your blog is just so freaky you big freaky weirdo’ or would they say ‘your light-hearted whimsy tale of thirty women you’ve never met for a TV show was rather amusing and I of course don’t think of you as some freaky weirdo’ – I wonder if we’ll ever know? (deep down I suspect not and I fear the answer…) Anyway I have digressed quite spectacularly. She is afraid of the dark, the sea and any creature that is flying towards her.
Reason why I think she’s great: I love her logic of wanting an electrician because of her dislike of the dark, she thinks an electrician would be handy in a power cut. Logic people. Logic.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her celebrity crush is Tom Hardy due to his muscles, tattoos, lips and swagger. Well I technically have muscles (like we all do) and have lips (again like we all do) but I think I know what she means and alas 0% for me.


Kirsty S

Age: 26
Job: Horse Trainer
Location: Cheshire
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She owns twelve horses and two Dalmatians. Yes I did have to double check that to ensure I got that the right way around.
Reason why I think she’s great: Her ideal date could involve a banana boat. I would certainly do that.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man is strong-willed (yes), honest (yes) and confident (feck). Why oh why oh why do women not like awkward shy weirdos? I mean look at all we offer, awkwardness, shyness, acting weird, I mean who wouldn’t look for those characteristics in a potential beau? Oh I see, everyone. Dagnamnit.



Age: 19
Job: Sports Science Student
Location: Cardiff
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Never had a serious relationship (Oh Lauren, preaching to the choir, preaching to the choir…)
Random Fact: She is a very keen roller-blader but admits that she isn’t very good as yet.
Reason why I think she’s great: Her ideal date is something competitive because she likes the idea of a bit of rivalry and most importantly, she wants to win. Yes. This. I’ll tell you a story folks. Many moons ago I fancied this girl in the year below at uni. I once played her at Pool in the SU and all my mates told me I had to lose to let her win, that isn’t my style folks, that is so not my style. Instead I potted an extremely tricky black and won. That date wasn’t forthcoming although weirdly I did end up in her kitchen in the early hours of one morning talking abstract Journalism theories. That was abnormal.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is a chubby chaser, which sounds great as I have a bit of a belly on me (although less so than a year ago, lost two stone boys and girls, yes, props) but I don’t have the big curly hair nor the strong body frame that she desires. Sad times.



Age: 26
Job: Fire Breather and Circus Entertainer
Location: Leeds
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eleven Months
Random Fact: She cannot break the three date barrier, she never hears from guys after the third date. I kinda know what she’s going through. I can’t break the one date barrier. That is more or less the same, No…?
Reason why I think she’s great: Circus performer, fire breather, body burning, hand candle dancing, poi spinning, fire hooping, static trapeze, hoop, silks, rope…I mean come people, who couldn’t fall head over heels for this person? As an aside, every year I mentally try and guess who’ll get the most Google searches from the show and Looci is the red hot favourite at this juncture, red hot favourite.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off by men who wear smart leather shoes still live at home and have facial hair, but wait, what is that? I wear trainers, I live alone and am clean shaven/stubble depending on how lazy I’m being. Her worst idea for a date would be being serenaded over a candlelit dinner. I once had a first date that was a dinner date and I’ll tell you this folks, never again. Nothing in her notes says that I would send her running for the hills so let me dream people, let me dream…



Age: 27
Job: Nurse
Location: Norfolk
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two and a half Years
Random Fact: She is afraid of the sea because she can’t swim. I love the sea and can’t swim. Heck I once went swimming in the sea even though I can’t swim. That was an erm…’interesting’ experience.
Reason why I think she’s great: She does animal impressions and her favourite is the dolphin. I freaking love dolphins!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would be fun and silly, family orientated and has to have ambition and drive. Well I’m dour, deadly serious, a loner, how am I selling myself here? Apparently not very well. I love the word dour, it doesn’t really fit me but in this context I’m going to stick with it for comedic effect.



Age: 28
Job: Department Store Worker
Location: Wokingham
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: Her celebrity crush is Gregg Wallace. If she wants a crush on a Masterchef judge she needs to Google George Calombaris. Now he is a man we could all have a crush on!
Reason why I think she’s great: She has a law degree people. As I’ve said before, brains = sexy.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off by a guy who doesn’t like to go out. I was once nicknamed ‘hermit crab’ by someone, yeah I’m guessing I’ve turned her off already.



Age: 25
Job: Tennis Coach
Location: Essex
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: Her brother is James Argent from TOWIE. I have no idea who that is, that says a lot about me I suspect.
Reason why I think she’s great: She loves the smell of new tennis balls and that is not a double entendre nor a euphemism. The smell of new tennis balls are genuinely pretty darn awesome.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would be down to earth, kind-hearted, good looking and sporty. Well I’m sporty… (and I’d like to think kind-hearted but that is for others to decide)



Age: 24
Job: Mobile Hairdresser
Location: Sheffield
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: Her mum is so desperate to marry her off that she keeps giving out Risha’s phone number to guys.
Reason why I think she’s great: She talks, shouts and swears a lot in her sleep. Just how entertaining would that be? (Well until you were really trying to sleep but still..)
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal date starts with dinner, No, No, No, No, No. I’ve had one dinner date and never ever again (well probably never, I won’t close the door to it but it was bad). However her ideal date does end in a jacuzzi, that I am fully on board with.



Age: 31
Job: Fashion Designer
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eighteen Months
Random Fact: She has partied with Pharrell Williams, Kelis, Timberland, Justin Timberlake and Evander Holyfield. Haven’t we all…? I once saw Sir Trevor Brooking on an escalator and saw Steve Claridge on the tube, how does that compare?
Reason why I think she’s great: She has her own fashion label called Mz Fits and that is pretty darn cool is it not? I know of the fashion label Mizfitz but that is a completely different type of clothing and probably not something I should know about. Ho hum…
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would be over 6ft and preferably be a plumber, electrician or personal trainer. I once fixed a boiler but apart from that I’ve got nothing.



The initial Press Pack had some inaccurate information for Sophie so the following has been amended.

Age: 24
Job: Marketing Assistant
Location: Surrey
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: Sophie lives in fear of being shat on by birds. It is a fine fear to have but I wouldn’t worry, it has happened to me twice, both bizarrely when on school grounds, maybe the birds were trying to tell me something (either that or seagulls hang around schools because lots of crumbs and discarded food to be had, either/or)
Reason why I think she’s great: Her pride and joy is her Border Collie Bella and any man who comes into her life would need to understand this. Well I’m a cat guy first and foremost but anyone who has real love for their pets gets the big thumbs up from me!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her biggest turn-off would be for a guy to turn up driving a bad car, notably a yellow Cinquinto. How would she feel about a guy driving an imaginary car…? Mentally I’m picturing a Fred Flintstone type vehicle at this point.



Age: 25
Job: Lampshade Designer
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Four Years
Random Fact: Vanessa hates the gym but to keep her model physique in shape she loves to skip.
Reason why I think she’s great: Her guilty pleasure is Top Gear. That is cool. Certainly the cheap car challenges and the specials.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Vanessa is turned off by men who have bad teeth or who are too into themselves to pay her any attention. To once again quote from that date that I had a few months ago that a young lady reviewed publicly, ‘So we walked along the beach to the pub, spent a couple of hours there and walked back. In this whole time, I think I talked about myself for all of 5 minutes, with not many questions or interest aimed at me. True, when you are nervous, you can talk too much. But if you are getting to know someone, surely you want to hear what they have to say?’ – So maybe, just maybe I am too into myself (which I think is bollocks but still, this lady thought so) oh and my teeth, not perfect, not bad but certainly not perfect.

All photos are copyright Fremantle Media and are courtesy of ITV.

Take Me Out starts on Saturday 3 January on ITV1 at 8:30 PM.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

December 30th, 2014 at 4:24 am

Posted in Media,Random Stuff

Tagged with ,

On the ending of The Newsroom…

without comments

Oh man. A show with so much promise, some first rate actors, some interesting characters and a star writer, how on Earth could it end so limply? I loved the first season, I enjoyed the second season in the main and even season three started off well but the final three episodes just sucked.

Let me start at the killing of Charlie Skinner at the end of episode five of this season, why Sorkin, why? I know you’ve explained why but once more I ask, why Sorkin, why? The Newsroom revolved around Skinner and the acting masterclass that Sam Waterston put on. I loved him in Law & Order and loved him just as much as the bourbon drinking head honcho at ACN. He didn’t need to die and the way he killed him was just so mundane and didn’t give him the gravitas that he deserved if he was to meet his demise.

So the final episode explored some of the back stories that put the cast together, we’ve seen this before from Sorkin. At the start of season two of The West Wing we saw a wonderful two-parter (In the Shadow of Two Gunmen) that showed how everyone came together. This time though it didn’t set up a season, it ended a shows run and it didn’t actually add too much to the storyline. We knew Sloane was into Don before (‘You never asked me’) and we knew Mac was dealing with issues from Afghanistan. We find out that Jim has had a bad long-distance (45 mins away by car) relationship before (thus setting up the Jim/Maggie ending) and we find out that Charlie is a true gent who wants to do the news right (er…we knew this already) and that Will cares about ratings and what people thought about him (again we knew that already) so is all seriousness for all the flashbacks we learnt that Jim has had a bad history in semi long-distance relationships. So worth it.

This brings me on to the most disgraceful part of the episode, the return of Neal (seriously dude, spell your name right, like all good Neil’s). Neal missed most of the season hiding out in Venezuela after refusing to give up a source ad what does he get after his near two months on the run? It gets announced at Charlie’s wake that his plane has landed and he gets a cool shot at the ACN Digital guys but he gets zero interaction with the rest of the crew. No pats on the back, no-one asking him how he was, nothing. Now I’m guessing this has to do with actor Dev Patel working on other projects so they just tried to shoehorn him into the episode but come on, film at least one scene where people welcome him back for fucks sake. As much as the fact he spells his name with an a instead of an i pisses me off, I loved Neal nearly as much as I loved Charlie. He reminded me of me, if only I was better looking, had better morals, was smarter…well he doesn’t remind me of me as such but his name is similar and I liked him, ok?

Mac is pregnant. Who cares? Mac gets promoted to be President of ACN without even being asked, like, for reals? Any scene with Leona is great as Jane Fonda is great. Seriously someone create a spin-off show that is just Leona and Charlie (assuming he can be resurrected from the dead) drink bourbon and bitch about the world and I’d be all over that. As would everyone who watched The Newsroom.

So we get to the finale of the most painful romance in TV history, Jim and Maggie. Jim (with whom I actually do identify in many ways despite not even being remotely close to my name) realised that he was in love with Maggie still, despite going out with Hallie (who was wonderful, if you were to possibly draw up my ‘ideal’ woman in terms of the type of person with whom I think I’d fall for then it would be Hallie, ambitious, smart, beautiful, quick-witted, sorry I’m just imagining the make-up sex with her after a fight, I’m sensing it would be amazing but I digress). So Jim and Hallie end after he is a dick (see, I told you I could relate to him) but in part it is because deep down he’s remembered his feelings for Maggie. She is seeing someone else too but he’s super smart and realises very quickly that she is hung up on Jim.

This tawdry love affair reaches a climax on a plane where they share an albeit beautiful kiss, the head stroke and smile on Maggie’s face seemed genuine and lovely. At times I can at least see romance even if I’m seemingly incapable of portraying it in real life. She finally had the one she wanted. Fast forward three days and after three nights of sex, Jim recommends her for a field producers position in DC, meaning they would have to be in a LDR (see the flashbacks did have a very small point after all) but having overcome the lazy blonde stereotype that she was in season one and after the abomination of what they did to her character in season two, she had blossomed into what we saw, a confident, smart, young woman. Hurrah. Yet here we are with her all nervous about Jim trying to ship her out of town. They end this mini-fight with her asking why he was so sure that this LDR would work when the others hadn’t and he walks away saying, ‘because I wasn’t in love with them’ – nice. A good line finally. Sadly we all know that in reality Jim would be too much of a prick for it to last and Maggie would find someone better suited in DC but we can all pretend, right? This wasn’t Josh and Donna from TWW, that love story needed no coercion, it was natural and the audience could see it and yearned for it, this was just meh.

To round this all off we of course get to Will and Mac. Mac is Will’s one. Will doesn’t care about ratings and doesn’t care about being liked deep down, that is all a mask, all he cares about is Mac and how she sees him. Mac and Will were together before but she cheated on him and he couldn’t forgive her at that point and went into years of depression that his one could do that to him. She is brought back by Charlie because he knows that the only way to turn both the show and Will around is to make him care once more and the only way to do that is to bring her in. Fair enough. It works as a storyline and we saw Will’s evolution into the character we all loved. Mac however never truly developed and her happiness came from being with Will and making him into the best person he could be. Sweet yes, but again shows how Sorkin struggles with writing female characters.

Look, don’t get me wrong, overall I enjoyed the show and Charlie and Leona were insanely good characters. Will was developed well and all three actors (Waterston, Fonda, Daniels) were first rate. Sadly though for an ensemble cast, the rest of the characters were never truly developed and this held back the show from becoming what it could have been, the acting was great but the writing concentrated too much on the holier-than-thou attitude of Sorkin towards the media (which may or may not be unfair depending on your take of the current media output that we are subjected to) but that air of arrogance held back the development of the other characters and forced relationships that didn’t sit well with the audience. It could’ve been special and when they were given six more episodes to end things then everything was set up for an epic climax, instead we got an average episode then summed up the missed chance once more that this show was.

The Newsroom 2012-2014. Loved, then liked, then watched. Sadly it won’t be terribly missed.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 15th, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Random Stuff

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