Saturday, 30 April 2011

Homeward Bound to Essex

Our tickets for Wigan versus West Ham have been purchased and Fraser and myself are booked on the club's free coaches. Although Matt and Lisa are looking for a boutique hotel in Widnes, which prompted me to point out that Widnes was where Paul Simon wrote Homeward Bound about returning to his girlfriend in Brentwood, Essex.

This prompted Fraser to observe: “There's no need to worry as our team would still be trying to Keep The Customer Satisfied, but then I thought I'd just content myself with mentioning the weird but irrelevant trivia that Paul Simon's first solo single Mother and Child Reunion was actually written about eating a chicken omelette.”

Matt replied: ”Our attempts to build a Bridge Over Troubled Water will be hampered by the very strong hint on the club website that Parker is out for the season (along with Noble). If we were a Boxer we would be throwing the towel in. We are on our way to Scarborough fair enough (if they get promoted a few divisions). I think The Boy in the Bubble has just faded and died.”

To which I replied that the coaches are leaving at 8.30 am from the main gates at Upton Park, which is My Little Town. Guess we’re Still Crazy After All These Years… It could be The Sound Of Silence from the home fans at Wigan and perhaps we'll beat Blackburn if it's down to you, misses Robinson.

Indeed, as Paul Simon lived in Brentwood in the 1960s and dated an Essex Girl (Kathy of Kathy's Song fame) it's not inconceivable that he visited WHU. Hence the lyrics of Mother and Child Reunion:

I can't for the life of me
Remember a sadder day
I know they say let it be
But it just don't work out that way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again
I just can't believe its so,
And though it seems strange to say
I never been laid so low
In such a mysterious way

At which point I'll get my coat and trust that Robert Green is repeating, I am a Rock to himself.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Essex Kate

Latest fashion tips for Kate Middleton from TOWIE's Lauren Goodger, out shopping in Notting Hill (did she have to show her passport at the Essex border?). She told the Daily Mail: "Kate's going to look lovely isn't she? I'd like to Essex her up a bit, though, give her a blow-dry, a bit of fake tan from my range. Get her nails done, some fake eyelashes, little mini-skirt, she'd love it!"

And maybe Wills might go for the Joey Essex trainers two sizes too small look for the big day…

Friday, 22 April 2011

Essex Jungle

Channel 5 appears to be cashing in on the bad name of Essex. Wednesday night's Essex Jungle featured a retired prison officer who owned a Caiman "just across the Essex border" in Strood, which is, erm, Kent. So it should have been Kent Jungle.

Yes, there was a bloke from Great Wakering who dressed like Crocodile Dundee and rescued pythons and bearded dragons from owners no longer able to cope, and a pet shop in Leigh-on-sea that had a rattle snake and a woman in Southend trying to get her bearded dragons to mate.

But are there really more exotic pets in Essex than any other county? And how come that pet rescuer hasn't caught the trouser snake stuffed down Joey Essex's jeans yet?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

There ain’t 'alf been some clever bastards…

Spent an interesting afternoon in Havering Museum at Romford recently, which has tales of beer, fighting and even a suspender belt from the 1960s on display.

Could Romford be rather proud of it’s wheeler-dealing? The first display you see features Sir Nikolaus Pevsner eulogizing about the marshland villages of Essex in his Architectural Guides before contrasting them with “the brash commercialism of Romford”.

It’s nice to see a framed photo of Ian Dury performing on the wall. The self-proclaimed Lord Upminster used to watch Teddy Boy films at Romford’s Ritz cinema in the 1950s. There ain’t ‘alf been some clever bastards and now Dury is one of ‘em. A man who peppered his records with rude words would surely be amused to view himself beneath a portrait of William Derham FRS, Rector of Upminster.

There’s also a display on Peter the Painter, the subject of a Dury song. Peter the Painter was Peter Blundell, a man who came from wealth, but spent his life living beneath the Upminster Bridge on the A127 and painting pictures of ships on corrugated iron. His inclusion adds to the quirky charm of Havering Museum.

Another wall display features an illustration of “Prize fighting at the Dell”, a local meeting point. No Christmas at the Dell was complete without wrestling between the men of Romford and Hornchurch. So nothing much has changed there then.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Well-intelligent in Essex

Loved this comment about Maria on TOWIE before the Pub Quiz:

"She's well-intelligent — she's got GCSEs and everything!"

Friday, 8 April 2011

Last Days of the Essex Empire

Harry's 17th birthday party at some plush Essex country club had an air of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire about it. All very The Only Way is Essex meets Caligula.

Maybe it was Harry dressed as Lady Ga Ga carried in by four semi-naked male hunks. Or perhaps it was the steaming swimming pool at the end with Sam and Joey Essex playing tonsil hockey that added to the air of dissolution.

So that's how the Roman Empire fell. They wore fancy dress and wondered if people were mugging them off, while having meaningful discussions about relationships with Lyd when dressed as Fred Flintstone. While the Barbarians waited outside ready to nick their Range Rovers…

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Essex Philosophy

From The Only Way Is Essex as Kirk draws up on the mean streets of Brentwood in the new Range Rover that his dad Mick has bought him:

Amy: "Kirk, you can't sleep with a car."

Kirk: "Dunno, I can give it a right good go!"

Monday, 4 April 2011

Essex girl comes first

The Guardian ran my interview with Chigwell-born Sally Gunnell on Saturday, She came across as a genuine person with a nice sense of humour and the Olympic gold medal winner, who is now an ambassador for London 2012, had this to say about Essex:

"I grew up on a farm in Chigwell — the posh part of Essex — but it wasn’t a posh farm, it was a good working farm with plenty of mud, just six miles from the Olympic Village. My dad Les would be up in the field on the tractor and I’d run and take him a flask. I’d jump over the baler behind the combine to get to him so it was good training for hurdles…
"When a tabloid printed that “Essex girls do come first” headline my parents saw the joke. I’ve lived in Sussex for years, but you never lose that Essex Girl tag. I’m very proud of my roots."

All this, and she supports West Ham too…

Friday, 1 April 2011

The Only Way is PR…

When The Only Way Is Essex makes the Short Cuts column in the Guardian you know it must be bigger than Arg's steak baguette.

It's been quite a week, PR-wise. Most of the female cast appeared in their undies for Zoo magazine, Mark and Lauren were pictured in OK! in muddy 18th century military uniforms, while the Sun reported rumours that Lauren and Mark's relationship was only for the sake of the media and that they had already filmed their break-up scenes.

Though Lauren tweeted that it was genuine and told the Sun she will cut off Mark's "ding-dong" if he strays. While the Daily Star claimed that Lauren and Sam had been involved in an off-screen fracas over Mark. Then there's been the photo shoots at Lakeside and a nightclub in Loughton...

Possibly the clue comes in the titles where the producers say that some events are made up for your entertainment.

Seems to me that Arg and Lydia are actually the most genuine people on the show. Indeed Lydia was the only member of the cast not to strip for Zoo — which in Essex is definitely a sign of class.