Why is the national press so determined to shame our girls?

Why is the national press so determined to shame our girls?

I’m not a fan of the Grand National. When the yellow signs appear, warning drivers of road closures, a little part of me groans inside. While I’m sure it’s a great thing for our city, in terms of attracting visitors from out of town, and boosting the economy, for those of us that live alongside the racecourse it is little more than an inconvenience.

That said, Aintree weekend has become an annual holiday for us. We leave town for a few days to avoid the irritation of being stopped by community officers demanding to see ID and proof of address, before allowing us to slowly drive through swarms of tired and inebriated racegoers – in scenes reminiscent of an early episode of the The Walking Dead. And we get to spend time with our friends in the tranquil surroundings of West Sussex.

And I do have objections to the horse racing itself – I believe 4 horses died at Aintree this year – but it would be hypocritical of me to make a big deal about the horses while chewing on a bacon butty. All that aside, I do have a small amount of pride that one of the biggest races in the calendar, The Grand National, takes place in my home town. But I hate that this so-called sport of kings also provokes ridicule like they’re allowing the common folk to take part in this otherwise elitist activity and then mocking them for their enjoyment. It’s hard to tell whether the sport, during this three day event, is the horse racing or the people watching.

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?” – Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice.

It’s upsetting to see the national media reports about Aintree. This year, the Daily Mail had a particularly long and tedious article for each day of the event. The primary focus being on classless ladies wearing short skirts, drinking beer, smoking fags and flashing their knickers (albeit unintentionally, due to strong winds).

They took every opportunity to mention the dress code: “Dress Aspirationally” inspired by Coco Chanel. But looking at the photos, I see no difference in the outfits from any other year – Ladies have always made an effort to wear their best dresses, find the best hats and make sure they’re looking chic and glamorous for the day.

The Daily Mail would have you believe that the dress code was implemented because Liverpool ladies don’t know how to dress well. And that the dress code was largely ignored.

What they overlooked was the thousands of elegant dresses, serious racegoers and sensible, well mannered people that descended on the racecourse to have a fun day out.

My niece and her boyfriend. Smart, elegant, and without a flash of underwear. STOP PRESS Liverpool ladies can be classy!

My niece and her boyfriend. Smart, elegant, and without a flash of underwear. STOP PRESS Liverpool ladies can be classy!

Any photos they included of smartly dressed ladies from Liverpool, were hidden so far down the over indulgent and lengthy article that few people would have persevered as long as I did, in order to see them. Once again The Daily Mail has gone to great lengths to portray Liverpool women as rude and crass.

I read this article and felt my blood boil. What purpose had the Daily Mail to send this guy to Aintree other than to insult the racegoers. To look down on the event, the attendees, and the city. The Daily Mail went on to post another article dedicated to photos of girls falling over. A blatant desire to ridicule and cause embarrassment to the individuals concerned who have had their pictures published without their permission and made to look stupid on a worldwide platform.

Racing has become a popular day out, I’ve attended a few racing events across the country, usually as part of a hen do, but they don’t receive the kind of coverage that Aintree gets. Maybe because The Grand National is a big race or maybe because it’s an opportunity to mock us. To hear it ridiculed when compared to Ascot or Cheltenham is little more than snobbery, and a direct insult of Liverpool. Of course it’s different, because every city is different. This is how we do it in Liverpool. Scousers are celebrated for their humour, charm and big heart. So you can expect a bright, vibrant, fun event.

Stop trying to shame us for it.






The Corbyn Effect – Or how I finally started caring about politics.

The Corbyn Effect – Or how I finally started caring about politics.

Watching the march to Downing Street to shame David Cameron over his embarrassing lies about his off-shore shares has been quite eye-opening.

I usually shy away from talking about anything vaguely political because – let’s be honest – politics is boring and I don’t really know much about it. Also, as I’ve previously discussed, my avoidance of the news means I don’t really know what’s happening so I have no faith in my own opinions as they don’t come from a well rounded knowledge base.

But I suspect I’m not the only one. And it’s people like me, that need to start paying more attention to what is happening. Because we should have an opinion and, assuming we’re all decent, empathetic people, we should be outraged by what is happening to our country.

It’s heartwarming to see so many people joining the protest. Footage throughout the day has shown a peaceful demonstration, amusing in parts, with protesters displaying that wonderful sense of humour that makes Britain great. What is disappointing is the lack of coverage from our very own British Broadcasting Corporation. You know, the broadcaster which we, the public, pay for through our TV license and probably taxes. The corporation that has a duty to tell the public when something of significance is happening. The BBC shouldn’t be afraid of offending the government, it should be afraid of offending its viewing public, without whom, it wouldn’t exist.

The people pay for the BBC, and the people expect it to be our voice of reason, our unbiased, impartial, broadcaster. Turning a blind eye to the corruption of the current government – a government that would see the BBC closed down in favour of a commercial broadcaster.

Poor. There’s been very little coverage of the junior doctors strike too. This is terrible. Our NHS will be broken down and sold off, forcing people to pay for private medical care. That’s fine, for those that can afford it, but what about those that can’t? Is the government effectively trying to kill off the weak and vulnerable by making care prohibitively expensive? That’s certainly how it seems.

Why don’t people care about this? People like me hear that the NHS is under threat and we say, “Nah, they won’t get rid of the NHS, the NHS is boss!” But it’s ignorance on our part – blind faith in the status quo. An assumption that the public won’t allow it to happen – but then the public voted this awful party in to run the country and as far as the government is concerned they are acting on behalf of the British public.

After only 12 months it’s suddenly become clear the impact from within that Nick Clegg had on the government. The coalition wasn’t great, but we’re now seeing how much worse it would’ve been if it had been solely Conservative.

Jeremy Corbyn has made me interested in politics. There I said it. What a breath of fresh air he is. So he doesn’t wear a slick suit and he doesn’t talk like an Eton Toff. Good. Let’s be realistic, the so called 1% – the rich posh kids that are groomed to run the country, the career politicians that don’t give a crap about their local community but just want to win a seat anywhere there’s one up for grabs – they form a small minority of the UK. Isn’t it about time we were represented by someone who has a real sense of the average person? Someone who understands how the 99% live. Someone who looks around at his local community and says “we’re all in this together and we need to support each other.” Someone who rides the bus, because it’s the best way to get to work, and not because it’s a good PR move to appear more down to earth.

Jeremy using the Force…

Politics has been so far removed from my day to day life because I can’t relate to the people who run the country. Finally there’s a party leader who is real. Hopefully he’s given a whole generation hope that we can make a change.




So the new Ghostbusters trailer landed… And Twitter is fuming!

So the new Ghostbusters trailer landed… And Twitter is fuming!

In case you missed the furore on Twitter last week, the new Ghostbusters movie trailer was finally unveiled… And it seems that fans of the original movie are not impressed.

Or at least, if they are impressed they don’t want to admit it.

I love Ghostbusters. Last year on our trip to New York, much of our sight seeing revolved around Ghostbusters movie locations – we stood outside that fire station for so long that the fire fighters were about to offer us coffee.

So I am really excited about the new movie – in much the same way that I was really excited all those years ago about The Phantom Menace… Okay so I learned to lower my expectations but even that movie is okay by me because, no matter what, it’s still part of the Star Wars story and as such, holds a special place in my heart (behind all the other Star Wars movies, including the ones that haven’t been release yet)!

Had to laugh at some of the tweets though:

Unless Bill Murray gets involved I’m not interested”

So you’re interested then? It’s been well documented that he will have a cameo in the movie, as will Dan Ackroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver.

So @melissamccarthy is one of the #Ghostbusters? And I’m not making that up..@BillMurray must be rolling over in his Grave!”

Erm… his grave? Shows how much attention this guys been paying!

The way I see it is, people love to hate. I watched that trailer and thought: looks like a good, fun comedy. It felt familiar because it has Ghostbusters all over it but I didn’t think of it as being some kind of sequel or a remake of the original – which seems to be the biggest gripe so far.

I’m sick of films being remade. I understand that there’s a need to refresh a franchise or modernise it to appeal to a younger generation, but some films don’t need to be remade. Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones – those films are perfect… Or am I just biased because they were from my youth?

I think we need to just look at this Ghostbusters film as a tribute to the genius of the original. Nobody is ever going to replace Bill Murray because he’s a one-off. But that doesn’t mean that a group of female comedians 30 years later can’t be just as entertaining.

Saturday Night Live has been churning out comedy talent for decades, throw in the much loved hilarity of ghosts terrorising New York and I can’t see what there will be to hate about this movie.

I’m looking forward to seeing it, anyway. I don’t expect it to replace the original film in my heart, but I can’t see me hating it on principle either.

Why I stopped watching Big Brother as soon as #CBBChristopher left

Why I stopped watching Big Brother as soon as #CBBChristopher left

It’s been a few days since Christopher Maloney was evicted from Big Brother and I decided to go cold turkey and quit watching the show.

Because let’s be honest, there is something addictive about it. I decided that watching til the end was like a smoker waiting for New Years Day to give up, but then still having half a pack left and carrying on. So I ripped off the band aid and stopped as soon as I no longer had a work reason to pay attention…


I was gutted Chris got evicted. He showed people that he’s a nice guy. Not the person they thought he was. The sort of person you’d be content to share a house with. And it seems the housemates were… But not Big Brother. Because they’re making an entertainment show. So what if they have a week with no nominations? There’s a good chance the quiet ones will be up for eviction. And who goes? The one whose leaving won’t disrupt the chaos that has been carefully created. But to be certain, we’ll give immunity to the most dramatic housemates.

The Big Brother house is like a microcosm of society, that the public can legitimately spy on and gossip about behind closed doors.
And realistically, we don’t twitch the curtains for the nice thoughtful neighbour who cleans up after himself. But hear a blazing row or the sound of glass smashing and we’re muting the TV and leaping towards the window to see what’s going on.

Reality TV is a quick route to celebrity – but fame has to be earned. So tasks are designed to push housemates to breaking point. And isn’t it more fun when you make celebrities do embarrassing, uncomfortable things? To bring them back down to the same level as the rest of us?

Housemates vomited after eating a century egg as part of a shopping task.

Housemates vomited after eating a century egg as part of a shopping task.

Why did Big Brother make housemates choose who to evict first? Was it because they had received complaints about Winston and wanted to get him out? Why on earth would they choose to share his statement about gay couples adopting, if it wasn’t to make the housemates turn on him. And given the potential for arguments over this sensitive issue, wouldn’t the public want to keep him in to see the tension develop? It’s easy to believe then, that Nancy – who I suspect would have a fairly limited UK fan base – got the least votes so making the housemates choose would mean they didn’t have to boot out the person the public decided to evict

I just don’t believe it’s not orchestrated.

Hollyoaks actress, Stephanie Davies – regularly in the press with numerous reports of her drunken antics and interest in the boys – wants to show people she’s not the girl they think she is after cutting down on the booze and enjoying a year long romance with her tattoo laden, male model boyfriend… So she’s put into the house with a tattoo covered model and a heap of alcohol. They immediately gravitate towards each other forgetting that this world is temporary and everyone can see what they’re doing.

It’s like the house is an alternative reality. The world in a teacup. Relationships develop, small factions grow, rivalries emerge and chaos ensues. And we all tune in to see what happens next.

I hate it. And I think it’s a massive shame that this is what passes for entertainment on a mass scale.
The tasks could be entertaining enough without instigating the kind of dramatic turmoil that is created by the producers.

Sure, it wouldn’t get the viewers if there was no promises of watching someone have a complete mental breakdown on TV. And it’s got to be a hell of a lot cheaper to make a show like Big Brother, than something like Doctor Who. But isn’t it sad that we’re content to be fed cheap shows rather than art?

What is wrong with us?

For three weeks I got it. It was like a soap, I tuned in every night, I got annoyed by Gemma’s snide remarks, I rolled my eyes at Steph calling everyone a bully and I laughed at Chris trying to work the coffee machine. But then I hated myself for caring what happened. For having an opinion and for tweeting mean things about some housemates while leaping to the defence of others.


So as soon as Chris was evicted I stopped. I’m still thinking about it though. I contemplated watching to the final because I’d already invested time in it. But I don’t want to be someone who watches reality TV because someone needs to demand more from our TV providers and continue to fly the flag for well written, beautifully filmed television programmes.

And because I don’t want to be someone that delights in watching people mentally unravel because that’s not entertainment, that’s torture.

But for the record, I hope Darren wins now that Chris has gone. What’s so wrong with being nice? Why do we reward people for being rude, nasty and argumentative? We elevate the worst types of people to stardom giving them an actual reason to be arrogant and self absorbed… Is it so we can then enjoy tearing them down?

Shame on us.

TV editing and Why People Deserve A Second Chance

TV editing and Why People Deserve A Second Chance

Well Celebrity Big Brother is certainly inspiring a lot of blog posts from me!

I don’t usually watch shows like this, I rarely read newspapers or watch the news. I have become so cynical (or realistic) about programmers’ needing a high turnover of content to fill 24 hour news channels and websites that we’re force fed pointless stories that amount to little more than gossip and hearsay, followed by an apology and an explanation. I became so overwhelmed by the drivel that I just don’t pay attention anymore.

And yet here I am. Obsessed with Celebrity Big Brother. I have an opinion on whether Gemma Collins is genuinely nice or playing a game. I didn’t even know who Gemma Collins was 2 weeks ago. I have never watched an episode of TOWIE in my life and I sort of hate that I even know what it stands for.

If Christopher Maloney wasn’t in there I wouldn’t even know it was on, much less be watching it. And it’s frustrating because he’s doing really well and that means I have to keep watching it. And the more I watch it, the more I’m starting to enjoy it.


But I’m cynical about these shows. The editors are making an entertainment show. And so are the players. Gemma Collins said herself: she’s making a TV show… So is anything that she does real or is she intent on causing drama in order to entertain the viewers?
That got me wondering, have any of the events been pre planned? With rumours that Steph’s boyfriend, Sam, might enter the house, is her illicit romance with Jeremy just an orchestrated act, planned by Big Brother with the consent of all involved “to make good telly”??

I wonder. Are Chris and Darren really as nice as they seem or have they just been cast in the roles of “peacemaker” and “kind and unassuming”?

It’s been nice, over on Twitter, seeing so many people change their minds about Chris Maloney. But over on Facebook we created an advert for our Team Maloney Tshirts, and I was shocked to see all the angry comments from people spouting their hatred for him.

I figure that in life, we don’t always like everyone. And if Chris has personally done something to upset people or had a personality clash then such is life.

Although, it does sort of make me wonder how he was portrayed on X Factor to have so many negative opinions in the first place.

When I was building his website I found myself gathering lots of video footage and finding out that he got the highest public votes 7 weeks running. I mean – if he was so bad why did people vote for him? As I was adding his biog page I decided to watch his audition video. And there I was, in my office blubbing away as Gary Barlow looked up in surprise when this nervous, teary eyed contestant suddenly revealed this amazing voice.

Wow. I mean, however he’s been portrayed and whatever he’s done to upset or offend people, he has got a great set of pipes on him.

And maybe people do change or maybe people are easily offended. Maybe X factor fame went to his head or maybe he was guarded because of internet trolls and wouldn’t sign an autograph. Who knows why people seem to hate him. I’m not giving in to the temptation to find out why he’s been so vilified. I don’t really care.

I can only judge him on how he has behaved with me.

I find him to be courteous and reliable. If he’s running late for a meeting he phones well in advance to tell me. And you’d be forgiven for thinking “well so he should, that’s just good manners” but you know what? So many people don’t. So many clients just don’t turn up but then phone the next day to reschedule. No apology for wasting my time.

Not long after meeting him I asked him if he’d take part in our project to support LGBT youth. We’d asked young people what questions they would like to ask adults, in order to get the benefit of their experience. Chris agreed without hesitation.

For personal reasons he had to cancel the first interview. We had a tight deadline and Chris was getting ready to go on holiday and was really pushed for time, but we managed to reschedule the interview before he left. When I thanked him, he simply said “I said I’d do it, and I always keep my promises.” Meanwhile, several other interviewees simply didn’t turn up without telling us. We had 10 people booked in for the interviews over 2 days and only 4 showed up.

And I’ll always be impressed by the work he does with his performing arts academy. I’ve even taken some tips from him in setting up our tech club.

So, I’m not saying he’s definitely not the asshole other people think he is, but this is the Chris I know. And whatever reason people have for thinking bad of him, perhaps he deserves a second chance.

Are we seeing the real Chris, or is he playing a part, designed to change public perception of him? Whatever it is, it’s working and I can’t wait to ask him all about it when he leaves.

David Bowie & Alan Rickman: Will we ever see their like again?

David Bowie & Alan Rickman: Will we ever see their like again?

Well 2016 has gotten off to a horrible start with the sad news that David Bowie and Alan Rickman both passed away.

I’ve never considered myself a fan of David Bowie. To me he will always be the Goblin King, but since his death I find myself saying “oh I didn’t know this was David Bowie,” to lots of songs that have filtered into my subconscious over the last 38 years.

He was just so famous, though. Without really knowing much of his music, he was so ingrained in the fabric of pop culture that I couldn’t not know of him.


Profits from this T-shirt are being donated to Cancer Research UK

I’m always saddened when a celebrity passes. But then I get over it really quickly because, while it’s sad that they won’t make more music or appear in more films their passing has no direct impact on my daily life.


Profits from this T-shirt are being donated to Cancer Research UK

Having said that, I was truly upset when I heard about Alan Rickman.
I first remember him playing Colonol Brandon in Sense and Sensibility but then he seemed to pop up in loads of things. He played scary bad guys really well with that deep sinister voice.
Reading all the tributes from his peers this week has revealed an actor who was funny, kind, caring and absolutely committed to his roles.

Aside from them both being 69 and being taken by cancer within a few days of each other, both David Bowie and Alan Rickman were working class kids from council estates. They attended government funded art school, honed their skills and went on to achieve fame and world wide recognition for their achievements in their artistic fields.

We live in different times now. The likelihood of working class kids being able to attend art school is pretty slim, as their fees are prohibitively high. How much talent will we miss out on because only those that can afford it will have the opportunity to achieve their dream? Who will become role models when fame is bought with money instead of raw talent? Perhaps this is why there is such a rise in reality TV stars, because those with the money don’t have the skills and those with the natural talent don’t have the means. So those with neither rise to infamy by any means necessary.

I’ve talked about Celebrity Big Brother already this week and praised Christopher Maloney for starting his theatre and arts academy in Anfield. It’s more than just a nice thing to do, it’s essential. Clubs like this are necessary to ensure that no child is prevented from pursuing their dreams just because they don’t have the finances to pay for training. We should be affording kids every opportunity to find their passion and nurture their skills.

In Bootle, I started a tech club aimed at kids who are traditionally excluded and bullied because they’re interested in science and technology. Our club is bringing those kids into an environment where they can geek out to their hearts content and know that they’re not alone in their interests.

There’s also the community journalists project that takes young unemployed adults and teaches them to make films that highlight the good things about their neighbourhood. They’re learning subjects that were not on offer at school and they can’t afford to study at college.

Whether it’s the arts or technology or sport, charities and social enterprises are doing what they can to fill the gaps that have been created by government cuts. Without funding bodies like Children in Need, The Big Lottery or the European Social Fund, available provision in deprived areas would be non existent. And without affordable access to the arts, we’ll never see the likes of David Bowie or Alan Rickman again.