Friday, 20 February 2015

Essex loses out to Bad Urinal Etiquette

This week's Room 101 featured Countdown's Rachel Riley — who's from Southend and went to Oxford University — attempting to consign the Essex Stereotype to the dustbin of history. This gave Frank Skinner the chance to repeat an anecdote about Essex Man Brian Belo, winner of Big Brother 8, reading "the Haywain" as Hawaii on a quiz show. Rachel Riley then reminisced about meeting Joey Essex, who thought that Richard and Judy created the world, having confused them with Adam and Eve, as you do. In the end Frank Skinner couldn't condemn the Essex stereotype as so many people had money out of it; instead Essex was beaten into Room 101 by Bad Urinal Etiquette. That's taking the…

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The only way out is Thurrock

Interesting piece in the Evening Standard yesterday saying that Thurrock is the number one destination for property-buying Londoners priced out of the capital. The average price of a flat is £120,556 and the average price for a house is £219,852. Despite some dodgy newbuild homes, Thurrock does have a lot going for it for those priced-out London. Fenchurch Street is only 35 minutes away by train. Other attractions include fine views of the Thames and Tilbury Fort, the best-preserved low-profiled artillery fort in the country. A bit further down the Thames is Coalhouse Fort. To the north is Great Warley and Miss Wilmott's garden at Warley Place, Essex's answer to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. Further down the train line lies the lovely old harbour of Leigh-on-Sea, Hadleigh Castle and Southend Pier. And parts of Indiana Jones and the Lost Crusade were filmed in Tilbury Docks. Plus Grays is the birthplace of Russell Brand and it also boasts the best Essex shop name with an emporium called Curtains Babe. Click on the link to read the full feature. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

All Greek for Essex revolutionaries

The success of Syriza in Greece was forged in Essex, it seems. Syriza’s new Economics minister Yanis Varoufakis has a PhD from Essex University. Rena Doura, governor of Greater Athens, has an MA from Essex, and Corfu’s Syriza MP Fotini Vaki is also a graduate. Another of the influential Essex alumni is Sir Christopher Pissarides, a Cypriot economist critical of Greece’s debt repayments.
Greek students love the University of Essex, with some 4000 graduating in the last 50 years. Perhaps we shouldn’t be that surprised that Greek lefties travel to Essex rather than Ithaca, because the county has a surprising history of revolutionary activity. Colchester Castle stands on the site of the Roman Temple that was burnt down by Boudicca in AD60-61. She went on to give the Romans a kicking in London and St Albans before committing non-electoral suicide.

The Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 started in Brentwood, better known for Towie and Sugar Hut today.  The men of Fobbing were summoned to Brentwood for non-payment of the Poll Tax, but then attacked the Commissioner John Bampton, giving him a right slap and chasing him out of town.

Today we have Russell Brand from Grays peddling a book called Revolution and telling us not to vote. Chelmsford’s most famous transvestite revolutionary is Grayson Perry, who has taken to guest-editing the New Statesman and writing about the Great White Male and his love of the business suit. Could it be he’s planning to wear one soon and stand for Parliament? While Douglas Carswell has inspired a Ukip revolution in Clacton with his plans to introduce ever more balding ex-Tories to the joys of real ale served by English Pub Landlords.

Perhaps Joey Essex wasn’t joking when he suggested on Towie that there was a Prime Minister of Essex. He’s already stared travelling the world on a fact-finding mission in Educating Joey Essex. A telegenic man unencumbered by complex economic theories who is definitely anti-austerity. We might just have found Britain’s revolutionary answer to Syriza.