It's not very often the departure of a telly
character brings a tear to my eye but tonight
my favourite Eastenders stalwart
Pat "The Earrings" Butcher
managed just that.

Like millions of others I've watched the
ups and downs of this tough old
bird for the last 25 years.

Tonight Pat put on her bright pink lippy and her
trademark dangly earrings (a different pair was
always guaranteed in every episode as she
used to get hundreds sent in by fans!)
on for the last time as actress

Pam St. Clement left Albert Square
E20 to enjoy her retirement.

Ridden with cancer and with only days to live
she refused all treatment, climbed
onto a Queen Vic bar stool and
enjoyed her last G&T.

And Pat's all, folks.

EDIT 1.1.2012: Apparently I jumped the gun a bit ...
Pat's last scenes as she lays in her death
bed are in fact broadcast tonight.



This BBC app is great fun: you can
calculate your "number" - where
do you fit into the 7 billion plus
people on the planet?

I was the 3,426,357,677th person to be
born in 1966 and the 77,397,100,597th 
person to have lived since
 history began.

XMAS 2011

This has got to be the best Xmas 2011 image:
'Enders "Shirl" peeling sprouts with a fag
in her mouth and singing "Jingle Bells"



I'm hooked on mash-ups on
at the moment!

These are particularly good



I was determined not to give these dickheads
any publicity but last night it hit a
bit too close to home.

Two shopping centers (The Tandem Centre and
The Priory Retail Park) about 500 m away from
were looted and one of the stores set on fire.
Luckily the fire brigade managed to tackle
the situation quickly before it spread.

I saw kids walking past our house with bags
and bags of stuff from JD Sports and Mothercare,
as much as they could carry. Casually strolling
along, laughing and joking like they had
just done a spot of Xmas shopping.

This morning the streets around here are
littered with discarded plastic bags ripped
off the looted items like trainers. Apparently
there were fights between the thieves over
who gets the best tracksuit bottoms.

Sad. No, beyond sad.

I doubt any of them actually live here in
Colliers Wood, they're probably from
the neighboring white/black
trash areas of Mitcham
and Croydon.

Their own communities need to sort these kids
out. They have no role models, no
fathers, no rules or boundaries,
no respect for anything.

The behaviour of these feral morons is so
mindless there are no words - I'm not
even going to start. The veins in my
neck are starting to bulge ...

The police should've nipped it in the pud
on Saturday in Tottenham with as
much force as necessary.

Sod the "human rights". These animals, as far
as I'm concerned, give up their rights as
soon as they act in this manner.

Should've, would've, could've. Too late
now with lives and businesses ruined.

And what do we get from our leaders? A lot of hot
air and soundbites like "broken society" and
"sick Britain." Stop talking shite,
it's time for action.

PS: Here's a first hand account
from a local journalist

Looters celebrated as Colliers
Wood Tandem Centre burned



This has got to be the
funniest advert ever!



From 8 weeks to 1 year in 40 seconds.



It's not very often I get super excited about new
music, being the 80's fan that I am! Yet I've
managed to surprise myself by becoming
a fan of the biggest "fame hooker" ever -
(her own words) Lady Gaga!

When she first appeared about three years ago
the music was OK'ish pop fluff but nothing
different to write home about. It also
seemed to be more about the wacky
outfits than the music.

With the new album "Born This Way" she
takes it up several notches - heavy electronic
beats and instantly memorable hooks
which start to swirl around in your
brain immediately.

Also having seen a few live performances
the thing that sets her apart for me from Her
Madgesty, Britney and other contenders for
The Queen Of Pop crown is the fact that
she can actually sing, no lip-synching.
And play the piano.

I'm especially loving the second single "Judas"
not only because it's a great song but also
because the video features the gorgeous
Rick Gonzales (I so would!)
(below with Gaga) as Jesus.

There are two ways to know you've definitely
made it: A) Madame Tussaud's makes
a wax work dummy
of you and B) somebody
can be bothered to do a full blown parody of
your songs. Here's a couple of good ones



Songs called Boom Boom, Da Da Dam,
Ding Dong, Haba Haba, two sets of
twins and an Israeli transsexual.
You couldn't make it up!

Oh yes, it's Eurovision time!

Our boys Blue (below top right) are amongst
others up against Ireland's lunatic twins
Jedward, who, I must admit, actually
surprised me with their confidence
and stage presence in the semi's.

Israel's fabulous Dana International, (below bottom
right) who took the title home in 1998 didn't
sadly make the final. And less said about
the Finnish entry the better.

He's got the honor of singing first in
tonight's final but I bet he's going to
end up at the very bottom!

Weirdly there was another set of twins as well,
TWiiNS, but they didn't
get enough points in the
second semi final.

My favourites are the extremely catchy
"Boom Boom" from Armenia (which
didn't make it) and Denmark's
Tomorrow" (above below left)
which is still in the running.

Lat years winner Germany's Lena is holding
onto her title with both hands hoping to
become the first artist to
triumph back-to-back.

Blue's song "I Can" is easily the best of a
surprisingly bad bunch so let's hope the
lads don't score
nul points but bring
the competition back to our
shores once again.

EDIT 15.5.2011: Azerbaijan (who's singer is
married to a Brit and lives in London!)
won the title, UK's Blue came 11th and
Ireland's Jedward 8th.

Funniest comment of the evening was
by the ever brilliant UK commentator
Graham Norton as usual. When the winner
was announced he worryingly asked:
"Are there any nice hotels in Azerbaijan?"
as of course he has to go there next year!

Blue were super in the final although I
did worry the bulging vein in Lee's neck
would finally pop when he went
into the full Bee Gee's mode!



I love a good documentary on almost any
subject but my current favourite, Series 2 of
Great British Railway Journeys may be the
best yet. I loved the first series
and this one is just as good.

Travelling around Great Britain by train,
Michael Portillo uses a copy
of Victorian cartographer
George Bradshaw's
Railway Companion to compare modern
Britain to the time of around 1840.

Along the way he discovers some of the more
obscure sights as well as the most
popular tourist spots.

Portillo is an excellent host. With the help of
local experts everywhere he goes, interviews
with the residents, a sense of humour and
enthusiasm for the days gone by
he discovers interesting titbits
about life now and then.

Arm chair travel
at it's best!



"It is also foolish to climb a tree as black
bears are adroit climbers and you will
simply end up fighting the bear in a tree."

It is not very often I read a book twice but
due to lack of anything super interesting in
the "books to read" pile I decided to return
to an old favourite,
Bill Bryson's
Walk In The Woods.

I'm a huge fan of Bill and have all of his
but the Walk is in the top three.

Once again the wanderlust strikes and
at the age of 44 he decides to tackle
the American wilderness.

Accompanied only by his old college friend
Stephen Katz, Bryson starts out one March
morning in north Georgia, intending to
walk the entire 2,200 miles of

The Appalachian Trail to the
end at the top of Maine's
Mount Katahdin.

The laugh out loud journey includes matters
relating to the trail's history, the surrounding
sociology, ecology, trees, plants, animals
and people as well so not only is it very
funny, it's also educational.

Top job, as usual.



I sent an e-mail to the Evening Standard letters
page last night (in response to a letter in
yesterday's paper) and they published
it in today's paper:

I rambled on a bit so they've edited it.
Here's the full version:

I live in Colliers Wood SW19, we get our post from
the Wimbledon sorting office. Ever since they got rid
of our regular postman about 2 years ago the service
has gone from bad to worse to ridiculous.

All of our post is at least a week late, some of it even
older. Got a Xmas card posted in Brighton 20.12 today
(11.1) The casuals they employ (we have a different
person every day!) just can't be bothered to carry
anything. When they do it's usually junkmail
but nothing important like bills! Occasionally
you get someone who takes pride in their work
and brings week's worth of post in one go.

The mess seems to be nationwide: I posted 5 parcels
First Class to my ebay customers all over the
country from Scotland to Kent on Tuesday
the 4th of January and none of them had
been delivered by today,
6 working days.

I used to subscribe to 4 different magazines but
cancelled all of them last year because so many
issues went missing or arrived weeks late.
Now I buy them at the newsagents. More
expensive but that's the only choice.

(Like Mr O'Sullivan said) there is no point in trying
to phone the Post Office to complain - nobody
ever answers. I'm just about to write a letter to
them but won't post it. I'll hand deliver it to the
Wimbledon sorting office and will insist on
giving it to a manager as I'm sure the front
of house staff will probably just bin it.

PS: Before the staff at the sorting office loose
their minds, yes, some of you do actually do
the work and carry post but mostly we see the
casuals wandering up and down our street
with a lost look on their faces. The result:
we get maybe couple of bills a week
and some junk mail.

WHY can't we have regular postman anymore?
Who knows his route, who knows the
people and who does the job? WHY?




Sad news. The bass player Mick Karn
of one of my favourite bands
ever, Japan, has passed
away aged 52.

Japan was one my first music loves and
I've since followed all of their solo
careers with interest as well.

"In time, I hate to say it, gentlemen
There'll be nothing wonderful here
There'll be nothing left to fear"