Review of 2011

I cant take much more. Chocolate, booze, more chocolate. Stuffing my fat face. I can honestly say I cant wait to go back to work and get back to some normality and be healthy and go the gym. Now as I am back in work on Tuesday I am sure this will last until at least Wednesday lunch time and I will be wishing I had a bottle of Stella Cidre and a Flake in my hands. So hope you all had a merry chrimbo and I wish you a happy new year. I did make it to the gym the other day but only to take my daughters swimming. So we got changed and I wobbled into the swimming pool area and it was all shut off. I asked the lifeguard could we swim and he said no swimming. Some ickle kid had only gone and laid a yuletide log in the big swimming pool. So we got dressed and headed to M&S food for some munchies and watched a DVD instead. So here we go a review of the year.


The year started with me putting a £20 insurance bet on Liverpool to get relegated at 20/1. Yes it was really that bad. Keys and Gray decided to go oldskool with some sexism and my first gig of the year was Henry Priestman supporting The Fishermans Friends. Oh and the first hints of a double dip thats recession not the sherbet sweet.


Earthshaking news that I cancelled my Sky Sports subs. After notice I lasted one day when I realised it was Liverpool V Man U and none of my mates gave me an invite to watch it. in my defence I did jib ESPN and still don’t have it. My dad reached 66 and doesn’t look a day over 75 ! I embarked on another cultural review of Wroclaw in Poland (2012 will be Tallinn in Estonia) I revealed my album of 2010 to be “Bittersweet Batch” by Jesse Dee.


Next gig was the wonderful Dead Belgium. I was amazed at the Japanese Tsunami and even more amazed that people came to my blog looking for “porn tsunami” which I then found out was a web site. Its not that good ahemmm so my mates say. Good old Bob Greaves died and will never be sniffed in the bollocks by an elephant at Chester Zoo again. Mrs Fay was given her notice from the job centre (only to find out in December the job centre are recruiting again !! ) Another sad loss was the announcement that the I.M Marsh will be closed down.


Quick on the end of the I.M.Marsh next to go was the Sunday Sport newspaper (a loose description) although I do believe its back. April the 15th came around again and 22 years since Hillsborough and five years since my mum died. I need say no more. I managed to get myself a Glastonbury ticket. At this point I was going on my own.


My slide into alcoholism continued as I used the royal wedding for an excuse for a piss up and BBQ. The first of the lads Ian Webster was 40 and we celebrated in Fuengirola and our world record of 20 bottles of lager was set. Inside the human body started on BBC and I must have been watching with what was to come.


Glasto baby and with my mate winning a ticket it wasnt billy no mates time. I had great fun in the mud and genuinely have an affection for the place which is very unlike me. More away days and a trip to Newcastle and York on a mates stag weekend. But it was all about Glasto. Did I mention Glasto ?


This der heap of shite blog turned two and I was being stalked by Jimmy Somerville on Facebook. The space shuttle launched for the last time and I done a really bad dad thing and made my kids watch it (and the return) I celebrated my bronze wedding anniversary and watched Liverpool on the waterfront which was cool. Oh and a bit of Deacon Blue was as good as ever.


So the month started out with a wedding and a funeral. Mrs Fay and the kids left me (Ok to look after her mums house for a bit) Then the riots kicked off but the month ended with the huge loss of my nan. Eileen Roper was 95 when she died and after getting the call to say she had fell in the house through to the call from the hospital a few days later to inform me she had died it was all a bit of a whirlwind. I lived with my nan for 10 years and despite being 95 her death hit me hard. When my mum died it was a relief after a 10 year battle against cancer. My nan dying was unexpected (as it can be for 95) but having seen it all through from start to end I am just glad that somebody that truly cared and loved her and somebody she loved seen her over her last few days. I never got to tell he the news we told the world in October.


So the month started with a christening, a wedding and a funeral. I got full value from my new Matalan suit. I turned 38 which equalled the size of my waist. A day I have been waiting for a long time. My two years at Wakefield council ended and it was time to hit the road for work.


So the big news we had been sitting on was announced. Me and Mrs Fay were going to have bambino numero tres. Watching inside the human body on BBC (the pregnancy) one had obviously given me some tips. We are gonna call the baby Matchworks as in the back of Garston Matchworks were he/she was made. Gig for this month was Pink Martini.


Twas a quiet month apart from the chrimbo tree up at the bottom of out road mid month. A return to work for Liverpool council was on the cards before a late bid from Wakefield secured my services into the new year.


Well I queued outside a build a bear shop ! I went to see a cracking Hillsborough justice gig and Mick Jones doing Clash songs. The next night was a bit of Duran Duran. More drunken nights involved a treasure chest an another gate crashing a 21st birthday party and doing oops up side your head.

So there we have it. You can check previous blogs on the left for more detail. A massive 2012 on the cards with a house move and new child. But I leave you with a picture of my dear old nan.


Fay x x x


Chrimbo bleaching !!

So here we are chrimbo is upon us. The kids are on overdrive and a strict 7am present curfew has been set for the big day and any child found up before that in our house with be put in an orange boiler suit and sent to Guantanamo Bay until January the third and dropped straight off at school. On the old chrimbo rota this year its the turn of the in-laws to feed me burger and chips before they all swan off to the Canary Islands on boxing day. Me and Mrs Fay would have went but with the missus being 24 weeks preggers she decided it wasn’t worth her whilst her sitting out of the sun minding all the kids as we got pissed for seven days on the run. Normally at chrimbo I get hit with chrimbo man flu but this has appeared early this week making the last few days in work tough and I look forward to a well earned week off after a hard working 2011. This week a Sky News investigation has discovered shops in London selling unlicensed or prescription-only skin-bleaching products.   But there is an illegal market in products which contain stronger ingredients that can cause uneven colour loss, intense skin irritations, rashes or permanent bleaching. Hansa Dabee, who is Indian, started using skin-bleaching products when she was fifteen, after experiencing what she describes as ‘cultural pressure’ to have fairer skin. ‘I wanted to make my skin appear lighter because I wanted my complexion to be clearer and I thought it would make me more attractive,’ she said. ‘I used to watch Bollywood films and the actors appeared to be a lot lighter than your average Asian. They went on to endorse lightening creams in advertisements. ‘At school the boys would drool over pictures of Bollywood actresses on their phones. They were fascinated with how fair and light they were. ‘Every time I used it I thought, ‘Wow, my skin looks so much clearer’. But I stopped using lightening cream about a year ago after considering the massive dangers it could have.’ The world has truly gone mad. Here we have black and Indian people trying to turn white. I have to be careful what I say in the current climate and not fall into Alan Hansen’s “coloured” trap. Here in Liverpool the trend is trying to look orange and the only bleaching going on will be of the anal variety. Once again another type of bleaching I can’t get my head around. Indeed the only mention of bleach should be when I see an advert for Domestos which as we know “Kills all known germs dead” A quick trip in my Tardis takes us back to 1987 and the “Big bad Dom” advert shown below.

So with a mild chrimbo on the cards its worth noting temps in my garden on chrimbo day were as low as -12c. This years min could be 11c. That is a 22c difference. Dont you just love me being a weather nerd. Stumbled across this picture (below) on a forum. No such white christmas for us this year. I noticed that in Smyths the toy shop they had all boss sledges which my daughter pointed out. Just a shame we aint got no snow. So I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and will sneak one more blog in before the new year. Most probably a review of the year unless something great happens in the news. Well Thatcher could die I suppose. What a chrimbo prezzie that would be.


Fay x x x

A last thought about my Nan who only got to see 94 chrimbo’s and will be missing this chrimbo. No longer will she ask for a some water in her scotch and then moan dont put too much in. I am also £15 (always thought 15 was a strange number) and a couple of Lynx box sets down. Thankfully she stopped buying me a bottle of “Denim” aftershave a few years back. Mind you I was repackaging it as bleach and selling it on the black market, can I say black market ? Ahhh the worlds gone fucking mad.

A fur coat and Oops up side your head.

So suffering a slight hangover after the volcano and treasure chest (see previous blog) it was time to dump the kids at the ballet christmas party and grab some breakfast on the way back. I ventured into the new Asda in Garston and came out feeling like a proper old man. The reason being that I could not find the sausages (most probably still pissed from Friday night) and I asked a lad in “the Asda” where are the sausages and got some great customer service. I was taken to the exact place they were instead on the normal “Aisle one lad” that some many other places offer. Then a the checkout again some grade A customer service from the girl on the till. It made me feel really old appreciating this excellent customer service and even worse it made me happy !! I was thinking this should be recognised by telling the store manager of my experience and then I decided I needed to get a grip and get over this customer satisfaction orgy I was revelling in. In reality normal customer service should not be so shite that when you get what should be expected you come out of the shop chuffed ! For the record I was living life on the edge by having a sausage roll for breakfast !!

So lazing on the couch and flicking through the Tv channels I came across “The biggest loser USA” before I knew what the programme was called it was the sight of a very fat woman in a belly top and cycling shorts being weighed that caught my attention. Not in a sexual manner may I add but pure curiosity as to why you would let yourself be filmed doing this. Next up was a man who had lost 58 pounds and still looked a fat bastard together with his full pair of breasts. Anyways this had been split into teams and it came down to one chick (American term) standing on the scales crying as she was feeling the pressure as she had to have lost 8 pounds that week for her team to win. What was the prize ? I’m thinking double whopper meals all around would have done the trick. Anyway for the record she lost 16 pounds that week (shows you how fat she was to be dropping that kind of weight) and her team won. I have just finished my application form for the new series which is on ITV next year. £25,000 for the winner which I will enjoy spending in Mark and Spencers food.

So Sunday and with our twice yearly footy match against the police being cancelled this meant a 1:30 start for our lads day out on the ale. So after watching the first half of the Liverpool game in “The Abbey” and the second half in “O’Neill’s” We hit the road with further bevvies in ‘The Central” “JR’s” “The White Star” and onto “The Grapes” on Mathew Street. Here we found an imitation fur coat hung up that nobody was laying claim to. By now already pissed we duly took our turns to each have a go of this lovely white coat which we had grown attached to. We never did find out who’s coat it was but we reckon we had sussed who’s it was but this woman was denying it I think through the mockery she thought we were bestowing on the coat but we just liked it because it was nice to stroke ! Things could only get better after this event, well errrr no. After more drinks at “The Cavern Pub” “Yates Bold Street” and “Pogue Mahone’s” it was time to gatecrash a friends niece’s 21st birthday. So we fell into the place and I was not suitably dressed for the occasion yet again in my Adidas trainers and trackie top with jeans to which I drunkenly apologised for when meeting the birthday girl when introduced on our entrance to the party. It was time to neck more Desperado’s and our main aim of the party was to get an “oooops up side your head” going on the dance floor. Eventually our aim was complete although our “oops up side your head” train only got to about a max of 7 people which was very disappointing. 11.30 and after 10 hours on the ale my homing beacon was kicking in. No sign of any cabs and then my mate ventured off and despite my calls to him I assumed his homing beacon had kicked in. I was to find out the next day that it had indeed kicked in but about 5 years too early as he turned up at his mum and dads house. No wonder we don’t get out much after last nights antics. So with work Monday morning I took advantage of working from home with a one and a half hour lunch spent back in bed recovering. Deffo not having a bevvy now until at least errrr Christmas ho ho ho and here’s the coat I want from Santa.


Fay x x x

A treasure chest and Duran Duran.

So another week and more nights out on the ale. This is like being in my twenties again !! Last Saturday was the second concert of the weekend with this being (whisper it quietly) Duran Duran. My mate had scored some free tickets for this gig which was meant to be earlier on in the year but Simon Le Bon had a dodgy throat. So it was down to the Echo arena (not my fave venue in the world) for a trip back to the 80’s. As I thought it was laden with middle aged women trying to recapture their youth. As me and my mate Colin took to our seats I was thinking we are in a small minority of men here. Most men had obviously been dragged down by their birds/wives. Were me and Colin the only two men who had come together, well ones that weren’t gay ? Had we a little secret ? A lot of our past was spent in Garlands in the 90’s. What about the weekend away in a hotel in Kings Cross when we went to see Paul Oakenfold in London. For now nothing to tell but rest assured if there is I will be sure to spill the beans on here. But back to the gig and amazing how many hits Duran Duran had back in the day and being a bit of a music nerd I had been listening to their latest album “All you need is now” which is quite good with a definite Duran Duran 80’s sound going on. Highlight of the night was “Wild Boys” with a bit of “Relax” thrown into the mix. The excitement was clearly too much for two ladies, well I use the term ladies loosely as they decided to have a scrap and both “ladies” were ejected by the special security team. Before the gig you could tweet and it would come up on the screen at the front of the stage. Colin tweeted but as it contained a swear word I said that it wouldn’t come up and I was right. I then explained that in some work places the word “sCUNThorpe” was stopped. So he just tweeted the word “Scunthorpe” to which soon came up on the screen at the front. Twitter being what Twitter is Colin soon received a reply saying that they were from Scunthorpe and were at the gig. With the amount of singing Colin was doing along with standing up I think he is a closet Duran fan. I wish he would come out and admit it like I did with my secret Pet Shop Boys admiration. So a second night out in town on the run and we made the last train armed with a chip barm each although in the rush to the platform a sausage of Colin’s was a casualty which was karma as he forgot to order me one ;0)

So fast forward a week and a second Friday night on the ale in town on the run. This time with some lads I used to work with. As I work on my own for the greatest company in the world “Faymondo Benefits Limited” with the kindest director (me) I was treating this as my office party. So after heading in a bit earlier to meet some friends who I go on a cultural review with every Feb (check old blogs for reviews) and indeed next Feb I will be presenting a cultural review of Tallinn in Estonia I met Dave and Ben and after a few scoops in The Railway, The Grapes and The Cavern Pub we headed on up to Aloha on Colquitt Street. Last time I was in here was Dave’s stag night and he was dressed as Harry Potter and very drunk being sick and vanishing home at only about 10pm !! I remember going up to the bouncers and asking “Not being funny mate but you havent thrown Harry Potter out of here have you ?” to which they laughed and said “no but they did see him getting into a cab” !! So silly drinks again in there and first up was a “volcano” once the fire on it had been put out it tasted like shite but we still necked it through our straws. Next up was a treasure chest !! This came with reserved seating and a beer. This to was set alight and then we were left to drink the chest, which I don’t think was meant to be shared by just three people. We tried our best but it was still half full so we gave up and gave it away including seats and headed off to The Blue Angel. I didn’t last long in there as the earlier cans of Red Stripe had caught up with the volcano and treasure chest (what was I thinking?) My drunken homing beacon of scran and home kicked in and I headed to the Botana where this week I managed to get a plain burger and after a drunken rant on Mrs Thatcher with the cab driver I was home and virtually ice skated the last 50 meters walk to the house. A great Christmas office party and I leave you with a picture of the treasure chest with Ben and me (right) trying our best to kill it.


Fay x x x

Hillsborough justice gig

So Friday night and it was a quick train into town and a brisk walk up to Liverpool university for the Hillsborough justice gig. First up the important bit and the cause the concert was for.

In 1989, Liverpool and Nottingham Forest Football Clubs had progressed to the semi-final stage of the English Football Association (FA) Cup competition. The English FA decided that the match would take place at the Hillsborough football stadium, home to Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, on Saturday April 15th.

More than 50,000 supporters travelled to Sheffield to watch the match but only six minutes were played before the game was stopped by the referee, as it became apparent that a deadly crush was unfolding in the enclosed pens of the Leppings Lane End terrace.

96 people died as a result of the Disaster, hundreds more were injured and thousands were traumatised in what was claimed to be one of the safest grounds in the country.

A public inquiry was launched to answer the question of why Hillsborough happened, with Lord Justice Taylor appointed to oversee proceedings.

Even though he found that mismanagement of the crowds by South Yorkshire Police caused the Disaster, and that a number of failings by the stadium’s owners and safety advisors contributed to the high death toll, no individual, group or organisation has ever been held legally accountable for what is still the worst disaster in British sporting history.

The lack of official accountability has allowed for entirely false accounts of the Disaster to continue to be presented as fact. Consequently an entire new generation has grown up not knowing what really occurred or why and most importantly not knowing where real blame really lies. The fight for justice continues……………

So first up were surprise artists Cast and we were transported back to the mid 90’s. Cast scored numerous top ten hits during this time and lead singer John Power belted out some of them hits in great style. The next surprise was John Bishop who was mainly there to introduce the next band and crack a few gags. He was getting a fair bit of stick from the crows who were now singing “Bishop, Bishop give us a song” In the end John Bishop was fair game and picked up a spare electric guitar on the stage and gave us a rendition (well first verse) of Daydream Believer with what can only be described as some “improvised” guitar playing. Lets just say his guitar skills are on about the same level as Manchester teams in the champions league. So he introduced some more nostalgia and it was time for The Farm. So with tracks as “Stepping Stone” and “Groovy Train”  I was almost young again but with a beer gut and balding bonce. The Farm finished off with “All Together Now” more of which later on.

Sticking with the scouse theme and it was Pete Wylie next up and here we got a first glimpse of Clash legend Mick Jones on guitar. Wylie belted out his choon “Heart as big as Liverpool” His set was finished to a rousing rendition of “The day that Margaret Thatcher dies” with the crowd singing along “Die die die” Now even though I had consumed a few pints it still sat a bit uncomfortable chanting “die” about someone who is still alive. But you know what it can be excused for what that bitch done to this city and over Hillsborough. I for one will be having a bevvy when she does finally go to the big dole queue in the sky. Billy Bragg was up next as he sang his song “never buy the sun” So with Steve Rotheram MP doing a stint with a good speech it was then onto the main event.

Mick Jones joined by various vocalists and guitarists from the night played some songs from The Clash. A true joy to see. I watched him and Big Audio Dynamite at Glastonbury this year and thought he might do a few there. I was unaware he didnt play Clash songs. I even joined the “mosh pit” for “Should I Stay Or Should I go” and Alan who was with us was on a high when “Bankrobber” was played. Not much more needs to be said over this apart from it was a pleasure to see Mick Jones perform Clash songs and I was only about 30 foot away. So the night was rounded off with everybody back on stage for a final group version of “All Together Now” Spotted singing on stage was former Liverpool player Jimmy Case. So I suppose it could be classed as “All Together Now” by Jimmy Case’s all star band featuring Mick Jones. A combination of song and artists I never thought I would see on stage.

Post gig beers in The Philharmonic speaking to a couple from Dublin and then onto Pouge Mahones speaking to another Irishman who has been to the same gig as us. Only one way to round the night off with some munchies from the Botana (which I found out is named after a place in Turkey) So with the cab home I settled down to eat my munchies and to my horror my plain burger had been mixed up with the father in laws and my supper now had cheese, lettuce and all other shite on it. Heartbroken wasnt an under statement.

Peace and in memory of Philip Hammond and the others who never came home that day. Justice will be done.

Fay x x x

John Bishop clip from the gig and Pete Wylie and Billy Bragg songs below

Build a bastard bear and the public sector.

So Saturday afternoon and after dropping Elizabeth (7) off at a birthday party at The Odeon in Liverpool one (When I were a lad I had jelly and ice cream in the room that wasnt the living room and reserved for special occasions only that always smelled a bit musty) it was on for a bit of shopping and as I bought Elizabeth a build a bear a few weeks ago I owed my youngest Charlotte (4) one. So it was down to build a bear also in Liverpool One. As I approached it I could see lots of people. Surely just a chrimbo gaggle of people. As we got nearer I could see some kind of queuing barriers in place. Jesus christ I thought it was going to be a bit busy but bloody queuing out of the shop !!! So it was and we joined the back of the queue which outside the shop was about seven deep (and another 10 plus deep in the shop) Now I have queued for some things in the past. First up is the good old airport queue which comes in numerous formats such as checking in, security, waiting for baggage and then passport control. All things we just accept and expect. Now I have queued for numerous other things wether it be the nerdy in me waiting for a new xbox 360 on launch day. There I was outside Dixons on Lord Street at 6:30am. After some time the man came out counted five people and said thats all we have. Yes you guessed it, muggins was number six. I have also queued for i-phone launches in the past (glad to say I am now over that one) I have also queued for many an hour to get into a match and for cup final tickets. Never in my life though have I queued for a build a bastard bear. So after about a 45 min wait and credit to the staff they were as polite and helpful as they could be we were now at the fluff machine to stuff the bear Charlotte had chosen. So “Rosie” sprang to life and with its little heart put inside Charlotte was happy. Another 10 mins wait to pick an outfit for the bleeding thing and then another 10 mins creating the bears birth certificate which I noted the mothers name Charlotte was on but no father. So it truly was a build a bastard bear. I had a lovely father from St Helens swearing at his kids in the queue (to be fair he was getting stung for three bears and outfits) but no need for the language. He must not of wanted a St Helens replica teddy as it didn’t have a twat of a hoop earring in and two heads. So just another 10 mins to pay and the ordeal was over. Charlotte was chuffed with her addition to an ever-growing build a bear family. So it was home via the Disney and Lego shops and a bite to eat at Burger King and home for the promised build a bear party game with Charlotte as seen below. (Rosie far right)

Gideon Osborne, sorry I mean George Osborne continues to rack up debt but looks to make more cuts must be thanking the build a bear empire for bringing much-needed tax revenue. I had come to the conclusion long ago it was gonna get worse for us before it got better but the light at the end of the tunnel was that this coalition would just be a one term government (assuming Miliband can bring labour home ?) But the way old Gideon is going I think he is setting labour up for an almighty fall economically. The only good thing about the current economic crisis was that the Tories had to deal with it even though it wasnt their fault and would take flack for cuts etc and Labour would get voted back in. But it looks like its gonna take some time to get sorted and Labour might have some shit to deal with if (should be when) they get back in. So with the mass walk out on Wednesday I was a scab. I would never cross a picket line but I was sub contracting for a company who had won the contract to deal with housing and council tax benefit for Dacorum council and as such was a scab. Many of my old colleagues from Liverpool council were out on strike, as I would have been if I was still there and I felt a bit bad and was going against some of my principles but being two steps removed from the council eased my conscience  a touch. But at the end of the day not being in a union and also never having a gold-plated public service pension (joke) as I opted out in the 8 years I was at the council. I also have a new-found type of M&S’s finest crisps (Cumberland sausage flavour) habit to fund it was off to work I go. Now a lot has been made of Jeremy Clarkson’s comments and for the record I think he is a tit but it was a joke (a bad one) its well worth watching the clip below from Stuart Lee who does a small routine about Clarkson and his Top Gear chums. So is it just a joke ?


Fay x x x

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