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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Hair today - gone tomorrow

Like a lot of men, over the years I have gradually lost the lustrous curly hirsute looks of my youth and now sport the sophisticated balding and slightly greying distinguished look that is very cheap to maintain with my 'BaByliss for men' hair strimming jobbie. I can't recall the last time I went to barber. No more do I get asked if I want 'anything for the weekend' or have to reply at length of where I am planning to go for my holidays. Once upon a time in the early 90s I got asked if I would like the bulk taken out of my eyebrows by the hairdresser in West Bridgford and this previously unheard of question actually came as a bit of a shock at the time.

Looking through a few old photo albums yesterday I scanned a selection that would document my changing hairstyles from the late 1950s to the present day. I hope that you enjoy them. I have already put a few of them on my facebook page. The most popular kind comment is that the smile is still the same.

This is me at one year old. Under that woollen garb I would have had a mass of unruly blond hair. When my step mum gave me this photo I actually thought is was my Dad at the same age. I wonder what the toy by me was called?

This smiley chap (aged nine) is quietly hiding the fact that his mum had passed away from a brain tumour. It is a school photo taken at the back of Roe Farm School in Chaddesden near Derby.

Taken in my first year at Darwin Secondary Modern School in the library. Love the combed over look now with side parting. I was twelve and its hard to believe looking at the vulnerable young man I was here that I left school three years later.

This is me in my late teens, a former Scout and keen walker. This was taken somewhere up in Derbyshire.
Aaaah, the Leo Sayer look! I was a big Leo fan during his 1970s beginnings - myself and some mates in Swadlincote used to spend hours playing our latest Leo LPs to death. When we'd worn them out Marc Bolan and TRex got a turn and then Bowie and that goddess Kate Bush. This photo was taken when I was with the Littleover Players, an amateur theatre group in Derby.

The smock top look was instigated by an arty friend in the Littleover Players. I thought this look was cool and very arty. I also went sailing to Cherbourg once with my mate Mike Leech and his lady friend Yvonne and then the fisherman's style smock really came into its proper use. I dressed like this for years and looking at this photo I can't help but to be impressed that I wasn't a bad looking fella yet I was terribly shy around women at the time.

The Val Doonigan look with a Christmas present jumper (one of a long list of jumpers, pulleys bought as a well intentioned gift at Christmas). Can't help but think I look a bit camp in this one!!
Both of these were taken whilst I worked for Rydes the Butchers. The first looking boyish in the back of Rydes (The Cornmarket) and the other of me looking poorly having suffered with bad back for thirteen weeks. I was twenty-seven at the time. Plus I seem to growing a bum fluff tash. I think it was for a play.

Leaping forward and many a curly hair having disappeared down the proverbial plughole of life I am now a Creative Arts student at Nottingham Trent University circa 1989/90. The ethnic look is in full force as well as a shaved head and stylish ethnic hat. I also had another hat with little mirrors  sewn in and colourful threads making up the design. I shaved my head one mad night with Bic razors cos all my arty male mates were doing it at the time. It stung for weeks afterwards.

Me in my fave ethnic hat purchased from Ice Nine in Nottingham. I think that it eventually fell to bits and got reluctantly thrown away.

Another student photo with longer hair and sideburns grown for a performance.

"All in the best possible taste!!" Slightly freaky photo of me willing to dress up daft for the TV soap Crossroads! The things I do for art.

The wig was for a the BBC Two drama 'Signs and Wonders'. On the broadcast of the show you got the privilege of seeing my elbow and the back of my head in a church.

The full beardy look. I grew this during my work at Capital One. I played a tramp called Ulik, in a play. I wonder what the customers I spoke to on the phone would've thought of this look - never mind me method acting and stinking of meths and cheap booze and fags. :0)

With my actress friend Alison and messing about backstage for the Lace Market Theatre production of Abigail's Party. 1970s style moustache and sideburns were grown for the part and worn out and about for two weeks prior to the show. I truly thought people would stare at this ridiculous 'look' but no-one batted an eyelid.

My mug shot as a professional actor circa 1998-2001.

Stubbly look on holiday in St Ives Cornwall in 2001. Just above my head was a kamikazi seagull about to dive bomb me.

Still the same smile. :0)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Wot no mince? But I've come all this way!

Things can go terribly wrong if the expectation of fresh mince and sea bass are denied one. I arrived at my work place - on my day off  - of all things- to discover that there is no mince on offer and no sea bass. Out of stock! What is a boy to do?

So, with my collection of cheap canned goodies I head out to the High Street of  Beeston Town whereupon I come across rabbit - in the shop of Messrs George Hogg the Butchers Est. Hogg - what more perfect name for a butcher except for Hackett and Slashett the Master Butchers. The name Hogg has grace and dignity which Bull might not.

Anyroadup, I purchased a young rabbit carcass with the intention of creating something akin to Rick Stein's French Odyssey creation of Rabbit and Prunes. Alas and alack I do not have access to Agen prunes but I did gather together rabbit, prunes, celery, carrots, streaky bacon and shallots and put together this rustic dish of rabbit pieces and veg with red wine.
Veg was prepared and the rabbit seasons and a bouquet garni put together for the pot.
The meat was browned and the shallots, mushrooms and streaky bacon cooked through on the stove.
Finally all the ingredients were added to the stock pot and allowed to simmer for and hour with new potatoes added. The original recipe called for polenta but I felt like calling my own tune with this one.
As you can see (above) the meal turned out delicious and whilst in the creative mood I turned my attention to other things photographically around the house including new cushions and a jar of clothes pegs.


Monday, 8 October 2012

A day out in Sheffield

Last Tuesday , my best friend Janette and I went oop north on the train from Nottingham to the city of Sheffield for a fun day out. For the most part the weather was good with bright sunshine showing off the modernised city at its best. Apart from a recent trip in the summer for the presentation of my NVQ award, I hadn’t been to Sheffield for years and back then it was a mass of building sites and towering cranes. This visit Sheffield presented itself as a very modern city especially around the city centre Hallam University. The new student year had just started and the Hallam University was bustling with students. Like Birmingham, there was also a fascinating mix of the new old architecture. I particularly liked the area called The Winter Garden.
‘Sheffield's impressive multi award-winning Winter Garden is one of the largest temperate glasshouses to be built in the UK during the last hundred years and has created a stunning green world with more than 2,500 plants from around the world. With direct access from Millennium Galleries and Millennium Square, the Winter Garden is the perfect oasis in the heart of England's fourth largest city.’

We had some loose plans about what we would do to entertain ourselves and they included having a ride on their tramway system, find a Café Rouge for lunch and visit a second hand bookshop in the outskirts.


The Supertram took us to the Meadowhall shopping centre, a screaming toddlers Hades if ever there was one. As soon as we tentatively approached the hellish shopping centre entrance we steeled ourselves and forged a high speed mutual decision to do an 'about turn' and head back for the safety of the tram. I didn’t know I could run so fast! The return tram journey back into town wasn’t unlike a tame roller coaster ride and the pure novelty of travelling through unfamiliar places made the trip an interesting one.  The canal area (seen from the tram) looked an interesting historic area to discover another time.
Some nutcase went and sat next to Janette.
Lunch was had at a modern Café Rouge venue near to Millennium Square with its dancing fountains and newly married couples photographing each other and Janette and I reminisced about the newly closed Nottingham branch. This spacious branch in Sheffield was in modern glass walled building with typical Café Rouge stylisation in the décor.  There weren’t many customers this particular lunchtime and the food whilst ok wasn’t anything to get excited about. En effect I was rather hoping for a Pouding de Yorkshire to go with my sausage n' mash. Mais non.

The high street delighted us with some chappies in chaps on horseback and a chance to pose by a green police box. Could this be a Yorkshire Tardis?


Janette loves to haunt second hand bookshops so after lunch we enquired about buses to take us to the ‘The Rude Shipyard Bookshop and Café’. After getting slightly misdirected to Abbeydale Road we finally found the venue, a grubby little bookshop with local regulars eating dubious looking food at wobbly small tables very close to the cruelly limited amount of tatty second hand books. We walked in, accidently woke up a few dozing regulars and once upstairs Janette got a multiple double D eyeful of ladies in a side room all breast feeding their babies. Once again we scurried for the relative safety of the outside world and shaking our damp heads in gross disappointment we caught a bus back into the city as it started to rain. Plus,  by eck as like, I think I can officially say that the two  bus drivers we encountered were the grumpiest in Yorkshire.

Time for relaxing over a cup of Yorkshire tea and hot chocolate in the reasonably priced, contemporary Millennium Gallery café, connected to the city art gallery. The rain continued to stream down the café windows as we drank our hot drinks and contemplated going back home to Nottingham on t’ train. On the journey home we both agreed that it had been an interesting and fun day out in a great city in South Yorkshire

We would certainly go back to Sheffield one day as there seemed lots to do and see and of course it is very accessible to Derbyshire.