Thursday, 25 June 2009

Edward Hogan

Leicester Square placard holder Edward Hogan becomes literary prize winner.

Edward Hogan, a writer who used to make a living holding a placard in Leicester Square, has won a £10,000 literary prize.

Mr Hogan won the Desmond Elliott Prize for his novel Blackmoor, set in his native Derbyshire during the miners' strike.
The judges of the prize for first novels, now in its second year, said the work was "beautifully crafted and dazzlingly well- written".
The novel tells the story of a birdwatching teenager living a difficult life near a mysterious vanished village in Derbyshire – Blackmoor – and his search for the truth about his mother's life and death there.
Hogan, originally from Derby, who lists his former occupations as "grass-strimmer, pot-washer, conservatory salesman, bloke holding the board in Leicester Square and teacher", started the book seven years ago with no thought of having it published.
"I was four when (the strikes) happened, in West Hallam," he said.
"I couldn't really remember it but to me it seemed like such an integral part of the community."
Candida Lycett Green, chairwoman of the judges, said: "In a shortlist of exceptional quality Blackmoor stands out.
"For a first novel it is both beautifully crafted and dazzlingly well-written. We are delighted that Edward Hogan has won the second Desmond Elliott Prize."
Congratulations, Edward! I wish you continued success.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Grayson Wynne

Boy, nine, survives wilderness thanks to tips from Bear Grylls.

A boy of nine lost alone in the wilderness for 24 hours survived using tips learned from Bear Grylls.
Grayson Wynne knew he had to find a shelter for the night, conserve his energy and if possible leave clues for searchers, thanks to watching the British adventurer’s TV show.
He ripped up his yellow jacket and tied the pieces to trees just as he had seen on Man vs Wild, the U.S. version of Grylls’s survival programme.

Rescuers followed the markers and Grayson, who went missing when he wandered off on a family camping trip, was spotted by park rangers scouring the million-acre Ashley National Forest in Utah.
His first words when reunited with his parents Kynan and Kimberley were ‘Happy Father’s Day’.
‘I was really scared,’ he added. ‘But Man vs Wild tells you how to survive all different terrains.’
His father added: 'The thing that he recognised from the show, regardless of the circumstances you're in, you are capable of surviving.'
Oh, I do like a happy ending! Well done, Grayson.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Sophie Frost

Saved by my iPod: Girl survives lightning strike after dangling headphones divert 300,000 volts.

A teenage girl who was struck by lightning may have been saved by her iPod, it emerged today.
Sophie Frost and boyfriend Mason Billington, both 14, were sheltering beneath a tree in a storm when the 300,000-volt bolt hit her iPod, knocking them out.
But since her headphones were hanging from her school uniform - and not in her ears - the wires diverted some of the current away from her body, avoiding vital organs.
The effect of the strike was also reduced because she was holding hands with Mason at the time, splitting the shock between them.
Sophie escaped with minor burns while Mason, who recovered first and heroically carried her to safety, received eye damage which doctors hope will not be permanent.

Lucky girl, I wish Sophie a speedy recovery. Mason, too.

But maybe she wouldn't have been struck by lightning at all if she hadn't had the iPod!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Elizabeth Tevenan

Tragedy of the Catholic mother who suffocated her newborn baby out of shame.

A devout Roman Catholic who had not known she was pregnant killed her son within moments of giving birth alone.
Elizabeth Tevenan then bled to death after she was found by her mother in the bathroom of their home, an inquest heard yesterday.
The 30-year-old had been taking painkillers for acute back pain and had even looked on the NHS Direct website for information about ulcers and stomach cancer two days before she gave birth on November 13 last year.

Miss Tevenan's mother Bridget discovered her haemorrhaging in the bathroom of their home in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, and called an ambulance.
The child's body was discovered beneath towels and a dressing gown an hour later by police officers who were alerted by doctors who had examined Miss Tevenan.
The inquest was told that she stuffed toilet tissue into her baby's mouth and pinched his nose to stop him breathing. Miss Tevenan's mother told the inquest that she had raised her daughter strictly within the Roman Catholic faith.
'She never spoke to me about sex. She was brought up with strict guidelines,' her statement to the inquest said.
Work colleague Debbie Jones told the inquest that Miss Tevenan had said she could 'never tell her father' if she became pregnant.
Dr James Lucas, a paediatric pathologist at Warwick Hospital where the baby and his mother were taken, told the inquest that he had been delivered at 37 weeks or more into the pregnancy.
'The baby was live born with expanded lungs but would only have taken a few breaths before death occurred,' he said.
Miss Tevenan, an office worker, was confirmed dead on arrival at Warwick Hospital. She had died of blood loss as a result of haemorrhaging.
The baby, who was given the name Nicholas Patrick, had weighed 6lb 13oz. His father, Noel Bannister, who lives in Cambridgeshire, was traced by police through DNA samples.
Mrs Tevenan, 58, and her 70-year-old husband Patrick did not attend the inquest at Warwickshire Coroner's Court in Leamington Spa.

Coroner Sean McGovern recorded that Miss Tevenan had died of natural causes but said she had unlawfully killed her son.
'I am entirely satisfied that Elizabeth was unaware of her pregnancy,' he said. 'If she had been aware of this when her waters broke, earlier medical intervention could have prevented her death.
'I am satisfied that her baby was born alive but the deliberate pushing of tissue paper into his throat caused asphyxia.'
He concluded that Elizabeth unlawfully killed her baby 'in a state of panic'.

Tragic, awful and so sad.

How often do we see religious brainwashing overcoming common sense? Banish religion, I say, it is the cause of all that is wrong with the world.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Fred Bowers

Break dancing Britain's Got Talent pensioner Fred Bowers has benefits cut.

Mr Bowers, 73, amazed the show's judges and millions of viewers with his body-popping displays, which included spinning on his head.
But the Department for Work and Pensions was less impressed – because he was still claiming £50 a month in Motability allowance.
Now the money, which was used to pay for his car, has been stopped after officials decided he no longer qualified for the payouts.
They launched an investigation into Mr Bowers, of Sutton Bonnington, near Loughborough, Leicester, who claims he has a bad leg, after a tip-off.
He could also be stripped of his £70 a week disability benefit, which is still being reviewed following his appearance on the show.
But the ex-soldier has remained defiant after revealing his star turn has secured him bookings for almost every day of the week.
Well, I guess Fred found out that you can't have your cake and eat it. On the face of it , if he is able to breakdance, then he shouldn't be claiming disability benefit, but who knows what his disability is? I have noticed that in this counrty, the more you do for yourself, the more you are penalised! Especially if you are not a member of any ethnic minority.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Fata Lemes

£3,000 for Muslim cocktail waitress who had to work in 'sexy' dress (but who didn't mind appearing on Facebook wearing a skimpy top).

A Muslim cocktail waitress who quit after refusing to wear a ‘sexy’ dress has won almost £3,000 in compensation for sexual harassment.
A tribunal accepted that Fata Lemes genuinely believed that the short, lowcut red dress was ‘disgusting’ and made her look ‘like a prostitute’.
Miss Lemes told London Central Employment Tribunal that she ‘might as well be naked’ in the dress, adding: ‘I was brought up a Muslim and am not used to wearing sexually attractive clothes.’
However, a photo on the Facebook social networking site shows her wearing a lowcut T-shirt.
She was awarded £2,919.95 for hurt feelings and loss of earnings. It is not known whether the panel saw the Facebook photo before making their judgment. The tribunal panel ruled that bosses at Rocket bar and restaurant in Mayfair should have made allowance for her feelings and their insistence that she wear the dress amounted to sexual harassment.
The sheer nerve of some folk never fails to astound me! I give the Tribunal bods the benefit of the doubt and believe that they had no knowledge of her Facebook activities. I'll bet they feel they have been taken for mugs today!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Andy Murray

Andy Murray makes history by becoming first Brit to win at Queen's in 71 years.

Murray became the first Briton in 71 years to triumph at Queen's, with a straight sets victory over American James Blake, 29.
Having won 7-5, 6-4, he rushed over to the sidelines to plant a big kiss on his mother Judy, who was there to cheer him on alongside his girlfriend Kim Sears.
The 22-year-old Scot has always found the weight of the nation's Wimbledon dreams a heavy burden to bear. Now expectations are even higher that he will be the first British champion since Fred Perry, 73 years ago.

Tougher and more focused, he has come a long way from the big-haired teenager from Dunblane who won his first Tour singles match at Queen's four years ago.
He is determined to do better than last year's Wimbledon when he was knocked out in the quarter-finals by Rafael Nadal. Murray has never had a better chance before this year.

Well done, Andy! An item of news to uplift the spirit, among the gloom and doom, despair and destruction. I'm not much interested in sport, but if Britain does well, I certainly cheer.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Ben Gardner

Boy, 10, charged full price at restaurant after waiter measured him and said he was too tall for children's menu.

A boy of ten charged full price for a buffet after he was measured by restaurant staff who said he was too tall to qualify for the children's menu.
Ben Gardner tucked into the all-you-can eat Chinese buffet at a discounted rate of £5.
But after the meal, staff charged his parents the full £10 adult price.
When they questioned the bill, waiters said they had measured the 4ft 11ins boy earlier, while he had been up at the counter filling up his plate, and that he was 9cm over the 140cm height limit.

The world is crazy! I know rules are rules, but whatever happened to common sense!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Jacqui Smith

Cabinet Meltdown as Jacqui Smith Heads Resignations.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, dealt the most serious blow to the Prime Minister’s authority. It emerged that she will step down from the Cabinet when Mr Brown reshuffles his team after what Labour fears will be its worst performance at the polls for a generation.
She had been under pressure for weeks over expences claims made by her husband on her behalf, including for two pornographic films. However, the public disclosure of her departure before tomorrow’s elections threw Mr Brown’s reshuffle off course.

On a tumultuous and chaotic day at Downing Street, it was also announced that Beverley Hughes would move aside from her job as Children’s Minister and not stand at the next election and that Tom Watson, the Cabinet Office Minister and key ally of Mr Brown, would leave the Government.
With speculation intensifying that Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, will become the most high-profile victim of the reshuffle, and that David Miliband might also be replaced as Foreign Secretary, it raised the prospect that the three great offices of state could change hands.

At time too! Although where I come from fraud, stealing, means instant dismissal! I shall say no more. except I have little interest in the shenanigans of politics or politicians, as is evident in todays awful drawing. Sorry.

Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin: Those Who Suffer Love at the White Cube is a marking-time exhibition unlikely to seriously enhance or diminish Emin's reputation.
Tracey Emin's new show is the artistic equivalent of snipping the legs off an unfaithful lover's suits. While Britain's best-known woman artist is apparently comfortably ensconced in a relationship, a sense of traumatic break-up resounds through this exhibition, Emin projecting her feelings onto White Cube's pristine walls in terms strident one moment, forlorn the next.
"Christ I just wanted you to ---- me and then I became greedy, I wanted you to love me," screams a mass of neon handwriting. "You said I was beautiful," bleats a small scrap of hand-stitched calico.

If I was the object of these powerful affections I'd be hiding in a dark corner. For while Emin may intend this work as a general, even universal statement on the pain and vulnerability that come with love, you can never seperate what Emin the artist thinks she is saying from what Emin the woman is doing and feeling. You're left in no doubt that this is Emin herself speaking, from the heart.
A sense of isolation runs through this exhibition, finding an outlet in a frenzy of onanism, a theme graphically explored in a large embroidery, a series of monoprints and a computer animation. Yet the raunchiness and apparent edge of such images – not to mention the crowds of celebrities jamming this exhibition's private view – shouldn't blind us to the fact that far from being 'one of Britain's most influential artists', as her PR material proclaims, Emin is a kind of Susan Boyle of art, an idiot savant outsider who represents no one but herself. But that doesn't mean she isn't an interesting, even a good artist.
I like Tracey Emin, although personally, I have never appreciated her need to bare her soul and regale us with all the intimacies of her life, in her art. Each to their own, I guess.