Beeston Olympics….a year on

The Beestonian Olympics was a manifesto promise I outlined a few months ago, thus:

Its seems that London, always a bit rubbish at stuff and now with that bumbling fool in charge, is spending tons of money on the Olympics in an already spoiled, overcrowded, smoggy, frankly rubbish city full of people with quite awful accents and a penchant for eating eels. Not right.

My solution, in light of the East Midlands domination of the Beijing Olympiad, is to divert the funds up North to Beeston, the brilliant suburb of Nottingham which could do with the bit of lovely cash.

We already have superb facilities, an International Tennis Centre, a river for water sports (indeed a National WaterSports Centre across the river in West Bridgford) . The centre of the town is dominated by a huge patch of wasteland that Tesco seems to have forgot to build on…this looks perfect to fit a stadium on. A stadium shaped liked a giant Bee’s Nest, in-keeping with the general theme.

The Olympic Village can be catered for with ease on the nearby Notts Uni campus. Shooting events could be held in The Meadows and St Anns without anyone really noticing the difference. The Marathon could incorporate the infamous Beeston Pub Crawl, Paula Radcliffe’s wee-in-the-street technique being repeated en masse. With three bike shops cycling events could be catered for and the combined effects of the Retail Park’s TKMaxx, SportsWorld and Next Clearance would provide adequate sporting apparel to the hordes of sportspeople. Gold for the medals could be sourced from the mountain of tat and sovereign rings in Cash Converter’s Windows, and if we can’t find any bronze they can have a Gameboy Advance instead. Boots Pharmaceuticals is based here, so any athletes wishing to enhance their performance will be well provided for. Even dodgier substances can be found in any of the pubs.

So people of Facebook, rise up as one, and lets make Britain proud by moving the Olympics from the heartland of Chas and Dave, idiots worshiping gangsters and Pearly Fucking Queens and put it in the home of sport, Beeston.

But above all, it’ll really annoy Seb Coe, and thats worth BILLIONS.

I put it up on Facebook as a group, and at one point this worthy yet controversial cause attracted around 700 supporters, who all agreed it was the best idea they ever thought of, and definately didnt just join cos they joined every group they were asked to join, even if it did include campaigns to canonise Myra Hindley and stop animal testing when there were the homeless and orphans to muck around with, oh no. They were serious, and they came out in their droves (which are little protest cars) to demand that we have it moved to the heart of this country, the soon to be Republic of Beestonia.

On the news tonight, was a report on how well the silly project in London is going, as it will be opening in three years with a ceremony involving 2012 pairs of Chas and Dave impersonaters banging out tunes on 2012 ‘joannas’, as fireworks explode over the crowds, showering them in jellied eels, over-priced beer and good-ole fashioned Cockney bigotry. It will be the shittest thing ever, and I went to the Millenium Dome.

So how is it doing? Its massively, to the tune of many, many billions, over budget, and an audit carried out earlier this month discovered a £100,000,000 hole in the accounts. Thats enough to fund 7 whole MPs expenses for a year. My estimate on Beeston? I’t would have paid for itself, just through taxes levied on extra sales in The Last Post. Its other promised ‘drip-down effect’ (an insidious phrase, bandied around by the still-not-dead Thatcher in defense of privatisation, which fails to take in account that the rich dont like drips, and are very adept at sealing any leaks) is that it would ‘encourage more people to take up sports. Excuse me, I need a moment.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

etc…

No it doesn’t, no it wont. You’d be mad, or desperate, to suggest it.It might inspire people to take up jobs in construction, so desperate will they be in the final months to get it finished a brickie will be earning more than his weight in mortar for a days work, but sport? Your average obese kid isn’t going to think ‘Well, if I can get training now, I might be in with a chance at the pole vault in three years’. The only ‘sport’ to have seen an increase in uptake is table-tennis, and thats only cos its the closest you can get to playing on a Wii and still count it as exercise. No, the Olympics will have the opposite effect. I’ll explain.

When I was a child, much like other children, I liked to play football. I was never really into football, I never idolised a team or any players, but I came to realise a perfectly agreeable way to spend a few hours in the outdoors was to kick a ball around a field and, hopefully, between two piles of coats. It was simple, fun and kept us all from exhibiting the excesses of our crisp and pies-heavy diet. But should a team arrive on the same pitch who were evidently better than us; if they were wearing a proper strip, had meaty thighs or a ball that wasnt bought from a newsagent and was made of plastic so thin and taut if you kicked it hard enough it would sail into the jet stream before dropping down in Japan, then intimidation would set in, and we’d decide a session on the  rec swings was a better option. Even today, whilst being competant at tennis, if a pair come onto the courts next to us who can truly play, with proper swings, forearms, backhands and lighning serves, then I lose all real desire, and tootle off to the pub.

Bring the Olympics to London, and put it in the hands of Boris  Johnson and Seb Coe, a pair who in any other sane universe would only exist in the sexual fantasies of the most twisted right-wingers wet dreams as perfect partners in a menage-a trois, and Britain will once again slip into the title of World’s  Most Laughed At Country. All the wonderful art, music and  literature we have knocked out over the years will be usurped by the image of  a upper-class blithering fool and his dead-eyed evil henchman, who was, and I apologise for putting this image in your minds, was once William Hague’s judo teacher.

I also see that recruited into the ranks of 2012 PR is that teenage diver who failed at the Olympics due to his head growing so fast in a week it queered his technique, Tom Daley. He is now being groomed to be the ‘young face’ of the push to promote the games, and expect more of him soon. Why on earth should we listen to him? His whole life is about falling in water on demand. We had people  like that at school who we would meet up Stapleford canal. They were called ‘idiots’.

The only hope lies in a last  minute intervention. Tesco has yet to be built, and there is still time to build the stadium.  My cousins a builder, and reckons its a piece of piss, with a few corners cut (sod field events, they can be just simulated on my mates iPhone). We have the spirit. But we dont have Chas and fucking Dave, ‘BoJo’ and that slime they call Seb Coe. RISE UP!

SCIENCE!

I firmly believe, and its possibly due to too much tv watching as a  child, that your dress should match your profession. Thus, Millers should wear straw hats and smocks, business non-distinct dark suit and bowler hats, and firemen shiny brass-buttoned coats to and sturdy boots. Would Windy Miller, Mr Ben or Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb be so locked into my happier childhood memories if they had turned up for work on a Friday in Chinos and a grey t-shirt? As such, I like my doctors to be necklaced in a stethoscope over their white coats, my teachers  in full corduroy, replete with shoulder patches, and my builders in plaid shirts and showing enough arse-crack to park a moped in. I, as a writer*, obey these rules by wearing stained clothing, a hat with a chewed pencil in its brim and a worrying penchant for alcohol-based lunches. Its standards. Unless you’re a cowboy, and you’re not, jeans are inexcusable in the workplace. Standards.

As such, scientists should look like scientists. “Pray tell, Lord of all Beestonia (and nice districts like Attenborough, bits of Chilwell and Wooly Park), what does a scientist look like?”. Well, its a bit of a recipe. Test tubes and Bunsen burners out please, and no drinking the iodine…

You need 3 parts Einstein, two parts Professor Yaffle off Bagpuss, and a splash of Back to the Future’s Doc Brown throw in a pair of studious, heavily framed specs….einsteineinsteinbagpuss_prof_sm

broonbagpuss_prof_sm

Boil at room temperature for seven minutes, then titrate into a Petri dish, and after three hours in a fridge at room temperature you produce:

180px-MartynPbg_tcm23-127473 THE PERFECT LOOKING SCIENTIST

Isn’t he? I hear the nodding from here, the seismic wave from your united heads bobbing across the town and making my drink go all Jurassic Park. Look at the hair. Not just white, not just bushy, but BIG. The glasses: big, rounded, and worn as if he was born in them. The jumper/shirt combo: you can almost see it gasping for air after years encased under white overalls. The mildly deranged smile: check. Its all there, everything. This man could never be a quantity surveyor, could never be a HR clerk, never, ever be a train driver…this man is, always will be, and possibly was always A SCIENTIST.

I love scientists. I myself once harboured ambitions to be one, but then just before buckling down for my GCSEs was convinced by cooler types that science was square and it was all about English lit and language, thus decided to dedicate my career path towards the written word.  So blame those people, cos if they hadn’t so distracted me from doing this: sitting typing bollocks for six people to read a few words of before realsing they’d mistyped ‘ESTONIA’ into Google, I’d be possibly investigating the beauty of quantum or breeding seven headed toads whilst explaining to audiences that Dark Matter is not an area of Stapleford…but alas Im not.

But what the Dickens has this got to do with Beeston???? Calm down, Im getting there. But first, a true tale. Im living in the Rylands,, in a shared house, its 2003, and we-my female housemate who I shall call  Linda cos it was her name, and myself, are watching the evening news, and theres footage of a search for a body after a suspected murder. Lines aof police are relentlessly, painstakingly trudging forward, heads down, over a rainswept  , barren moor, looking for clues to lead them to the corpse. Linda, who I had previously suspected of below average intelligence due to her steadfast belief that Do-dos had’nt died out, they were just good at hiding- turns to me and says ‘Dunno why they bother with all this’

‘All what?’ I reply, as the rain beats down on earnest-faced PCs.

‘Looking for the body. Dunno why they just don’t get a clairvoyant or psychic in to look for it’.

I give this the amount of time it deserves for consideration, and instantly reply ‘Well, its not very scientific, is it?’

“Science?” she replies, and half a moment before my jaw goes crashing from its usual position below my upper jaw right through the floor, the foundations, the crust  of the earth, rushing past fossils of mammals, dinosaurs, and primitive fish, scolded by the core, then emerging somewhere in an Australian bar, momentarily frightening a bar full of  Larrikans before rushing back up….before that, she says:

‘What has science ever done for us?”

Try answering that without violence. I couldn’t -I mean, I didn’t try, without or with violence- I just decided to always give science an inordinate amount of respect, as too many idiots out there would always underestmate this importance. This is also true regarding the music of Pulp, brussel sprouts and Swindon.

Those who havent left are still asking, yes, I hear you: “What has this got to do with Beestonia?”.  Ok, you should already know. Cos a good Beestonian would have been in the town centre and got familiar with the locals enough to realise the above scientist is not just a scientist, hes a Beestonian scientist. Lives right near my landlord, is often seen walking around our fair town with a serene expression on his face. But thats not all.

His name is Martyn Poliakoff. Does that name ring any bells? Yes, thats right, hes the brother of acclaimed director Stephen Poliakoff. What do you  mean ‘Who is Stephen Poliakoff?’. You brutish philistine! Hes ace, and in no way did I have to go on Wikipedia to tell you that he is, errr , widely judged amongst Britain’s foremost television dramatists. And theres MORE!

This is the best bit as well, as reward for reading this far. Professor Poliakoff has also got his own Youtube channel, and its brilliant. Its science, yes, but its science that you will love. He has a weird charisma and a great way of explaining stuff that I know you’ll love. And if you don’t? Well, back to the dirt and the ignorance and that   question that will forever elude an answer…’What has science ever done for us?’.

*unpaid, unread I maybe, but look, Im writing…

24 Hour Garage People

There you are, cycling into a 24 hour garage forecourt and theres this girl collapsed by the curb. To the curb, and everything seems so oddly  paralysed here that it takes a second to realise your spendid sweep and perfectly judged braking into the forecourt is not the reason why you are being looked at. Something the fuck is going on.

Excuse my language. Its warranted once you know what happened before this, and thats my job to tell you, so here goes.

Nothing happens on a Wednesday. Its this wierd island between the weekends that floats in this dull sea, nothing happens.

This Wednesday,  however, finds me bed-ridden. Flu of some particularly nasty strain is simultaneously turning my nostils into tubes to accomodate a persistant flow of fluid, as it grabs my bodies thermostat and randomally turns it from hot to cold whilst commisioning a ADHD-inflicted woodpecker to have a crack at penetrating my fastlyeroding skull. And through all this..i’m thirsty.

Really thirsty.

No, really thirsty. I know I mentioned that before, but I drifted off and now im really stupidly thirsty.

I NEED   A COLD CAN OF POP.

. I try to ignore  it. I had this blissfully stupid dream I was selected to be a moonwalker, but in a Ghostbusters uniform and having to do Ghostbuster stuff. But no, my beams are only directed to a glorious, glistening, can of tin-chilled glory. I must have it. M-U-S-T–H-A-V-E–IT

I straggle from the duvet, slip on jeans and an anonymous top, and after mumbling down the stairs, alight my bike and pedal into where Beestonia straggles, loses coherence, and blurs into everywhereelse. But there, on the dual carriageway. lies the GARAGE.

THE 24 HOUR GARAGE.

I ride in, and theres this girl hyperventilating. And I look at the first point of  authority: the guy behind that misanthropic glass barrier, and his eyebrows are aloft, his seventeen year old brow as creased as a pre-war toilet roof, lost. I see shes breathing into a tiny plastic bag, her cheeks pulsating from blue to red, via a quite disturbing purple, and all i remember from some base first aid training is brown paper bag, brown paper bag. I dont have a brown paper bag, but within my over-shoulder man-bag,utilised to transport beverages home, has a day-oldcopy of Private Eye in it. I snatch it out, roll it into  a wide cone, and tell her to breathe down it. Her eyes impulsively meet mine, and momentarily roll before she focuses to a point a foot from her face, and breathes deeply, deeper, till she hits the norm.

She looks terrified, then blinks and its calm, then a smile appears and shes back. She hurries to say thanks, but is paused by an insistent ringtone, its a holler of bass and clamour. She answers and its her boyfriend.

“Where tha fuk ar yer?’ he says, loud over the deep breaths and rush of traffic.

She explains that she got to the garage, made her purchase, and then had an asthma attack,; and Ventolin-free, had had to rely on a passing stranger to get her together again.

“Well fuck on back”

I instantly down my eyes, and then have to look up and ask ‘You ok?’

She looks at me then, and I see her for the first time, unstrained, un blue, and  she has a beautiful face, freckled and trim, eyes wide and shining, but with defeat. And her ringtone rang, and she tried to smile before  she hurried off,and I bought my drinks. Get back on my bike, and pedal off.

I get  home, a nagging, biting thing in my head, and lie on  my bed where I have been locked onto for far too long,groggily trying to fit life together inbetween blessed islands of dreams, and

that first sip is so heavenly, yet so sour.

Beeston on Fire

Oh good lord, its hot. Stinkingly, achingly, t-shirt-wringingly hot. And, being British, when its hot, I have to state that fact loads, despite it being so massively apparent to anyone else under the same weather system. I cracked an egg today and it was hard boiled before it hit the mixing bowl. The Trent has boiled and dissapated, and if it was not for a loyal bunch of vigilant Beestonians laying landmines and barbwire on the cracked river-bed we would now be flooded (oh floods, how we miss you) with marauding Cliftonian’s trying to raid us for our stockpiles of Lynx anti-perspirant. And this one is true; in the hottest week EVER in Beestonia, Sainsburys fridges today failed, and all the Ben and Jerry’s, Carte Dior and  Haagen Daaz reverted to a liquid state and had to be removed, leading to another type of meltdown, as those who sought sugary chilled dairy relief from this inferno collapsed weeping in the aisles.

And guess which idiot decides to resurrect his habit of cycling to and from work in Nottingham? Yeah, that red-faced, sodden t-shirted wheezing fellow you might see chugging along on University Boulevard as you effortlessly glide to town in your air-conditioned cars.  I hope this serves as an excuse to my lack of updating this place. Its hard to type when you cant see cos your contact lenses are continually washed out by the Niagra Falls that develops over your forehead,  and cannot keep still due to being encased in a cloud of midges and mosquitos intent on murdering me with  a million stinging puncture marks.

Tonight though, despite it being 28c in my bedroom (28c!!!28c!!! I lived in Portugal for years and even there the night would at least provide some respite, but oh no, not Beestonia, so far from a cooling coast, its sandstone crust radiating the heat upwards during the night….my first act as dictator will be to flood Lincolnshire to give us a closer beach and replace the sandstone with glaciers), despite that staggering night time temperature, I will soldier on.  Yes, since you ask, I would like a medal, ta.

Don’t expect a carefully written, constructively analytical examination of Beestonias idiosyncracies and underlying wonderfulness, thats coming, around 2020, when I get round to doing a three year intense course in writing carefully written, constructively analytical examinations of Beestonias idiosyncracies and underlying wonderfulness. Until then, heres a list.

GREAT THINGS ABOUT BEESTONIA: PART ONE

1. Coffee. Like coffee? No?  Are you mad??? Its still legal, christ knows how, so before the Home Office notices and bans it get as much down your neck as possible. And where in Beestonia can I procure this miracle drug that can turn you from a calm, sleepy reasonable human into a ranting, anxious, wired  human within an emptied mug? Just walk into any building on the high street and theres an evens chance you’ll be able to purchase coffee. From the corporate: Nero, The Orange Shop, Subway, Wetherspoons to the more independant places: Metro (popular with Mothers That Lunch), Belle and Jerome (served to you lovingly by doe-eyed waitresses) and most famously, Stoney Street’s ‘Bean’. I must declare an interest here: Bean is my regular haunt, being within crawling distance of my bed, and one of the Baristas presently employed is my creative partner on a  couple of on-going projects. An article on such a Beestonian Institution will follow one day, but tonight its- did I mention?- too bleeding hot.

2. This place: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=9024522466&ref=ts . i swear I didn’t set it up, I don’t even know the authors. There are a few groups on Facebook about Beeston, but this tops them all, even my Beeston Olympics group…why? Because before it existed, a  group celebrating Beeston, Leeds was set up called Beeston and Proud, or B.A.P. ‘Come on Beeston’ was therefore set up in response… C.O.B. Perhaps its just me, but I find that the most stupidly amusing thing EVER. Its also got a good list of the weirdness of Beestonia: —

-Beeston’s clock doesnt tell the time

– Beeston square’s three flagpoles have no flags

– Beeston square’s water feature has no water and looks like a giant leek

– There is a monument to a beekeeper but the town’s name has nothing to do with bees.

Genius.

3. Sunday Card Bingo at the Crown Inn: even in my teetotal year, I would try my very hardest to ensure my attendance at this weekly afternoon of hedonistic gambling. Between 4pm and 6pm, four rounds of this most wonderful of card-games is played out to a packed house. The packed house in question is peopled by a clientele that would make the Mos Eisley Cantina look genteel, but the atmosphere has more electricity than a lightning-struck seventies polyster-populated disco, the hush that falls during every round so thick with hope as the perpetually drunk MC reels off cards, only broken when a gutteral shout of ‘EREYAR!!’ draws out a pub-wide sigh of broken dreams and murdered hope. Last time I was there, the pub’s next door neighbours interrupted this hush with a cacophony of noise, issuing forth from the broken-spellbound masses a collective ‘SHUT UP’. Next door is Beeston Church. The interruptive racket the church bells. I felt proud to be an atheist at that point.

More later, your suggestions welcome. But right now, Im off to lie on top of my duvet steaming from every pore as Beestonia dries to a dehydrated husk, as the pavemants melt into a sea of sticky tarmac,  and Iceland starts taking in refugees….night, Beestonians.