my local paper doesn’t want me to tell you the truth

March 13, 2017

Perhaps that’s a naughty headline really, however all my comments seem to be moderated away to a dark place at the moment due to “other”.

http://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/new_vision_for_ipswich_cornhill_brings_sculpture_and_water_feature_to_site_1_4925751

The sheer, stunning coincidence that two major big money investments in Ipswich are revealed within a couple of days of each other, and an election just around the corner on 4th May. Hopefully the people of Ipswich can see past the hyperbole and spin to which we are being subjected. My mind is spinning as to the possibilities of the next few days. Will the Borough discover the goose that lays golden eggs? Ben Gummer will probably announce he’s found a field filled with magical unicorns (likely to lie across all the proposed routes of the northern bypass), and the Anglia LEP will suddenly spot that East Anglia is more than just Norwich. Admittedly they are all fantasies – particularly the last one – but this is the sort of nonsense that we as a town have put up with for years. Do you recall that this very paper declared on the day that the logo changed they would hold our local representatives to task over nonsense like this? This is our money. These are people who are responsible to us, and yet they fritter away millions of pounds on pretty drawings and press conferences, then plead poverty every March when the Council Tax bills come in. Maybe Mr Gummer can help his local constituents out in his role as Paymaster General by clearly explaining how his government can justify the massive rises in business tax which are more of a threat to a town like Ipswich and its surrounding villages, than not having some concrete statues on the Cornhill. I’d like to read that in the Star. Perhaps they could send Paul Geater to ask the important questions? Remember who it is that is wasting your money in these times of supposed austerity, and kick them out in May. I have the greatest of respect for Roger Fern as Mayor, but I welcome the announcement that Sarah Barber will soon be taking over. I have no particular political preference for, but my hope is that someone young and enthusiastic can help drag this town into the light and make local government see sense. Ipswich is not capable of competing with Cambridge, Norwich, or even Bury. Once the  idea that we can is out of everyone’s minds and we can develop to become our own centre for shopping and socialising, we can start to shine. Ipswich has been disregarded by the County Council for years and pie-in-the-sky plans for public spaces like this don’t help, especially when it seems like it was handed out to someone’s friends to design.

When growing up I was often told to “keep it simple, stupid”. What Ipswich needs to do is to follow this oft ignored mantra. If you want to attract people into the centre of the town, soften it. Ipswich is a town with more parkland per head than anywhere else in the country, so why is there no greenery in the town centre? All I can see here is concrete which will rapidly become outdated and look tired. Simplify it, soften the area, make it pleasant to sit in and for people to admire Ipswich’s historic architecture. As people have commented, add trees, add shrubs, add benches so people can take time. Keep it simple, keep it manageable, make it pleasant. If you put up concrete “celebratory columns” that people can drunkenly attempt to climb then people will drunkenly attempt to climb it (and if they can’t climb it then they will use it when they are ‘caught short’ in between visits to pubs). Maybe I could get behind the scheme if one of these concrete lumps had a neon sign on it that spelled “The Mill” and pieces fell off it in the lightest of winds? Sure, flatten the area so that it can be used for outside performance, art, theatre, or small concerts, but don’t waste a further £3m on something that will need to be constantly checked up on and repaired. Think Arras Place, but with actual parking restrictions. We can all remember what the thugs of this town decided to do some of the Pigs Gone Wild statues, this would be a playground for them. And forget about putting the market there. We can’t have the area smelling of that fish stall and covered in the filth that market day brings. Ipswich is a mediaeval town and its roads are narrow. How about some ‘outside the box’ thinking and setting up an indoor market somewhere? If only we had a giant, mainly empty department store in town with plenty of room for its current occupants and more small, independent retailers who could do with some town centre exposure in a shared area. It could come with easy access for pick ups, parking and deliveries, and would drive people to an end of the town that needs reviving? If only…

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why i don’t have any a-levels

February 11, 2016

Economics essay, 1991.

Adam Smith, noted tight-arse Scottish economist, successfully demonstrated his theory of supply and demand by only serving haggis to his house guests. Fried haggis for breakfast, haggis sandwiches (thin sliced haggis between two thick slices of haggis) for lunch, and a haggis roast at dinner. Every meal was accompanied by a warm, weak haggis drink, and dessert was usually haggis with chantilly haggis.

Soon enough demand for a place at Smith’s table decreased, and his supply of haggis went through the roof.

See me after class.

 


the camera rarely lies

July 21, 2015

If your selfies are coming out blurry and I say “You need to clean the lens”, please clean the front-facing camera, not the one that was pointing away from you each time you took a picture that was smeary and blurred.


get well, noakes

June 30, 2015

Bloody love the Noakes.

It was a Saturday morning and there was me, on the bed with Grandma and Grandad. Grandma was trying to extract a drinkable cup of tea from the Goblin Teasmaid. It had been on the brew since 5:30am, and it was now 9am.
After examining the dubious cup of intensely brown fluid, and skilfully hiding it under the bed without my Grandma seeing, my Grandad said to me, he said,
“Boy,” he said, “Boy, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
And I thought for not even a second, and I said, “Grandfather,” I said (as I was probably about 5 and had a modicum of respect back then), “Grandfather, I wish to be John Noakes when I grow up”.
“Boy,” said Grandad, “you can’t be John Noakes, as John Noakes is John Noakes.”
“OK, old man,” I said (as my respect was beginning to wash away and this simple chat was getting in the way of my Luke Skywalker figure beating up my Princess Leia figure). “Then I shall be an astronaut.”
My Grandfather was a wise man, and said, “Boy, you will need to be good at maths to be an astronaut, probably best you stick with your plans to be John Noakes.”
The next time I saw my Grandad, he passed me an envelope. “Ah, boy,” he said. “This came for you.”
It was always exciting when post came to the Grandparents’ house, as it was bound to be another brilliant Star Wars figure, or a set of PG Tips tea cards, or a Golliwog from Robinsons jams. This, however, was most disappointing. It was a flat, A4 envelope of the type important, boring letters came in.
“Well?” prompted the Grandma, “Are you going to open it?”
Peeling back the inadequate envelope glue, and picking at the extra selotape that had been used to make the flap stick at least part of the way, I opened the envelope.
Inside was a black and white photograph of a man and a dog that I recognised from the television.

And it was signed, “John Noakes”.

I no longer have my figures of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, but you can bet I’ve still got that precious photograph.


new! game of thrones text adventure

March 15, 2015

WELCOME TO THE GAME OF THRONES TEXT ADVENTURE.

Do you wish to play a MAJOR or MINOR character?
> major

You are a Major player in the Game of Thrones! Your actions will be far reaching, and your decisions will affect the lives of millions.
You are dead.
Play again?
> yes

WELCOME TO THE GAME OF THRONES TEXT ADVENTURE.

Do you wish to play a MAJOR or MINOR character?
> minor

You are dead.
Play again?


we’re raising money for children in need

November 11, 2014

Please excuse some of the grammar and mis-spellings. I was in a hurry. However, I present today’s advert for our team’s cake sale in aid of UK charity Children In Need:

hamlet


alan bennett’s war of the worlds

October 30, 2014

Who would have thought that at the start of the twenty-first century, jealous eyes were studying us from afar, like that time we watched Fatty Thompkins from the fifth grade standing, drooling at a pie shop window for an entire afternoon?
Slowly they gathered and drew their plans against us. But us Yorkshire folk are clever and cunning, so we turned all the signposts around to point in the wrong direction. That fooled the Martian invaders.
They thought they were invading Hartlepool, but most of them ended up confused and disoriented in Scunthorpe. The place was decimated.
No one noticed.
The chances of anything coming from Mars are a little more than evens, I reckon. Knowing what we now know.
I should have put a pound on it. I’d be everso slightly up on the day.