Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hairy Botter

Even though there's more important shit going on in Notts, it would be criminally remiss of me not to mention this story in The Sun. It's that old classic - Man Gets Bad Tattoo, With Unfortunate Consequences - with a local slant;
PROUD Paul Croft got a tattoo of Harry Potter wizard Albus Dumbledore on his back – but is now being teased by pals after he was outed as GAY.
(Notice that? He's not 'Gay' - he's 'GAY'. In MASSIVE CAPITAL LETTERS)
Proud Paul, 36, spent a YEAR having the Hogwarts headmaster etched into his skin as a surprise for his five kids.
(Notice the repetition of the word 'Proud', Media Studies students; that's shorthand for 'if you met him in the street and pointed out that he had a mystical homosexual tattooed on his back, he would pull your entire digestive system out of your mouth and strangle you with it' And yes, if my Dad had come home with a tattoo of, say, Larry Grayson when I was a nipper, it would have definitely been a 'surprise')
But the factory worker has been the butt of jokes ever since Harry Potter author JK Rowling revealed last week that Dumbledore was in love with a fellow male sorcerer. Paul, of Nottingham, moaned yesterday: “It’s been terrible. I’ve always liked Dumbledore – just not in that way.
(Jesus in a jumpsuit, it's come to something when a man can use a national newspaper to point out that he doesn't want to have bum-sex with a wizard in a kid's book. I'm going to ask the Daily Mirror to tell the world that I don't really want to have it off with the fox who played Maid Marion in the Disney film, even though I cut out a photo of her and slept with it when I was four)
“I went into work and everyone was sniggering. “When I walked in, one of the lads said, ‘Oi, Paul – heard about Dumbledore?’ “There were wisecracks about ‘Watch your backs, lads.’ Someone asked me if I was planning to get a tattoo of Graham Norton. I thought, ‘Why me?’ ”
(Here's where I have total sympathy for the poor sod. I worked in a factory in Hucknall once, and the bitchiness would have put the entire cast of Queer As Folk to shame. There was one lad there who had a divorce, and every time he cocked up over the slightest thing, the entire factory would shout "NO WONDER 'IS FOO-KIN' MISSUS PISSED OFF!" Another youth was due in court one dinnertime after a fight outside a chippy, and when he came in for the morning shift, the first thing he saw was an enormous blackboard with the odds of his sentence chalked up - from 'Community Service' at 3-1 to 'The Electric Chair' at 1000-1. These people are the kings of bitching. The moment that JK Rowling outed Dumbledore, some of the blokes in that factory would have been clubbing themselves into unconsciousness on Saturday afternoon to get the weekend over as quickly as possible)
The huge £500 tattoo shows Dumbledore holding a scroll bearing the names of his Harry Potter mad children – Charlotte, Deanna, Brandon, Tamzin and Paris. Paul said: “It seemed like a good idea at the time."
(No, mate; spending £500 - FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS - to deface your back with the 21st Century Ali Bongo wouldn't be a good idea even if you sealed every window in your house, filled your fireplace with crack, and stoked it up all weekend. Especially when you decide to embellish it with a permanent reminder of your progressively worsening taste in kids' names. In GangstaFont.)

And shame on whatever Picture Editor chose an image of him with his hands in such an unfortunate position. Tsk.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The End Of An Era

The Variety in Radford has shut down, quite possibly for good.

Although it wasn't to everyone's taste - it was like walking into the 70s, and the entertainment was decidedly un-right-on - The Variety was proper Notts, and fucking hilarious. I was absolutely gagging for my mates from London to come and visit, so I could take them for a concentrated dollop of purest Nottingham - and whether you liked it or not, it was far more representative of Nottingham culture than a thousand bought-in art galleries. And if you didn't go, you'll never know.

As far as I know, LeftLion was the only publication to do a proper interview with the people who ran the place. And here it is.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Don't ask for a Party Bag

Sorry this is a bit late in the day, but I've just got round to watching HIV & Me, Steven Fry's documentary about attitudes to AIDS. Here's a transcript of a scene where he's been talking to Gay lads in Manchester about how complacent people are getting about it...

STEVEN FRY (VO): I find that all rather depressing, but little do I know that Gordon has saved the most worrying for last. He’s known Mark for years, and assures me that what I’m about to hear is true…

MARK: I’ve got a friend. Er, he’s been to a party in Nottingham, er, where there was a 19 year-old lad, he was Negative, and he wanted to be given ‘the Gift’.

STEVEN FRY: ‘the Gift’?

MARK: They’re called ‘Gift Givers’. People with HIV.


MARK: …and there were five Positive guys who had sex with the Negative lad, to Poz him up, and, um…

STEVEN FRY: ‘Poz him up'?

MARK: Yeah. They all had sex with him unprotected to give him ‘the Gift’. He wasn’t held down, he wasn’t forced, he willingly…

STEVEN FRY: So your friend was one of these five who, who shagged him…

MARK: Yeah.

STEVEN FRY: Can you have any insight into…why he wanted to…he thought it was a badge of honour, or…?

MARK: I have no idea, to be honest. I mean, a lot of lads these days…a lot of lads like unprotected sex…

GORDON: Yeah but of course, you know what happened at the end…


MARK: Yeah. When they finished having sex with him, they inserted a butt plug into him to make sure that none of the semen came out of him. To make sure that he definitely…

STEVEN FRY: My God…that…I’m sorry, that is very odd…

MARK: It is. It’s horrible.

ME: (hands over eyes, trying to slide down the side of the sofa)

Monday, October 08, 2007

10 Reasons Why Nobbing Off The Night Bus Service Is Another Stupid Idea By Whatever Greedy Mingebag Lead Paint-Licking Gibbons Run This Town

(Story here)

1) If you didn't happen to live within walking distance from town and happened to be around after hours - you know, enjoying the benefits of this 24-hour city we're supposed to be living in - the Night Bus was a life-saver. I used to live in Top Valleh, and would be in the Social at 2.50am, knowing that if I left in 5 minutes, I would be at the top of my street in 20 minutes whilst saving £8 by not having my wallet anally raped by a cabbie.

2) It allowed the hundreds of people who work late in town - either in bars, clubs or call centres - the opportunity to get home reasonably quickly without having to deal with a taxi queue full of pissheads ramming kebabs into their maws and on the verge of fighting with their own reflections.

3) It was an illicit thrill to get on a bus with its own bouncer. Like being on the subway in Times Square and seeing a Guardian Angel, albeit one in an NCT jumper that was getting stuck into his snap tin and talking to the driver about going piking at the weekend.

4) For many people, it was the last opportunity to get your end away before the night was over (because, c'mon - if you've pulled in town, you're never going to take them home on the fucking Night Bus. You might as well tell them that they've got to be quiet when they get there, so as not to wake your Mam up).

5) The fact that the only person who ever pulled on the night bus was the driver, who always seemed to have some bird hanging over the counter, waiting for him to get to the Bulwell turnaround so he could give her, well, a Bulwell turnaround.

6) The one driver on our route that looked a bit like Cockney Wanker, who once stopped midway through a speech to a full bus about how they could use a City Rider to say to some twat who was chelping him; "Look youth, I'm trying to tell yoh summat fookin' useful. So shut yoh fooking pan and stop looking at that gel's tits, yoh cunt" to rapturous applause.

7) The way the staff and passengers refused point-blank to tolerate mouth-breathers playing shit Grime tunes on mobiles and weed-smoking in a way that is sadly lacking on normal bus services.

8) Standing in town at 4am in January, freezing your bollocks off, and almost dropping to your knees in relief at the sight of a warm bus, signifying that in a very short time you will be ripping through the contents of your fridge in your pants and thinking "Fuck working tomorrow".

9) No-one cared if you were partaking in a tray of fishcake, chips and peas. Even when you tipped the tray into your mouth and used your fork to shovel in the batter bits.

10) It was absolute comedy listening to people recount their night out, like an Alan Sillitoe novel come to life. How this bloke got noshed off by someone's Nana in a leather mini-skirt in Jumpin' Jaks. How that slag is gonna get panned next time she looks at Darren. How Tez had to piss the sick off his shoes so he could get into Flares. NCT should have cut a deal with Sky and had the Night Bus Channel.

Yeah, so there's going to be a bigger service - but only at the weekend. Big deal. OK, so only 8.5 people were riding the Night Bus on average (presumably the other half of the last one had lost his torso in a fight outside Bar Ha Ha) - get some of them limos that bell-ends hire out, then. And am I being hopelessly naive, but aren't public services supposed to lose money when they provide a valuable service? Isn't that what we pay taxes for?

This Bloke In A Burned-Out Car In Wollaton Business...

...gets dodgier and dodgier. Bad enough that people in Wollaton have to deal with a car catching fire while they're trying to have their tea. Even worse when it turns out to have a Dad of eight from Leicester inside. Far worse when it turns out he was stabbed beforehand. And outright bonkers when you read this;
It has now emerged Mr Chenia was jailed for 20 years following a fraud trial at Nottingham Crown Court in November 1998 and a drugs trial at Leicester Crown Court in April 1999.

The trial at Leicester heard he used Kingstand Golf Club in Leicester Forest East, as a cover for a £230,000 Class A drug dealing operation.

The court heard a police surveillance operation led to a 90-kilo seizure of drugs including heroin, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine and ecstasy concealed in ditches and hedges across the nine-hole course.

Players at the course were unaware of further drug stashes buried under the course fairways and greens.

Christ on a crisp packet. As everyone knows, nothing beats a decent walk around a golf course and swinging a club about while you've got a spliff on. Imagine being on that course, taking a massive divot out on a bad swing - and finding a big fuck-off bag of weed. I propose right bastard well now that if they want to make golf more interesting for a televisual audience, they hide loads of drugs on golf courses and make players take whatever they find if they accidentally uncover them.

[Postscript: funny how Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods chipped in with
this almost immediately after]

Saturday, October 06, 2007


The best time of the week to go to Goose Fair is definitely Friday afto. You can actually walk about with your nephew without being whacked in the head by some sucky woman holding up a pushchair, there's very little in the way of teet'-sucking mouth-breathers, and you feel that, being in a fair on a school day, you're pissing in the face of the world. Here's some pics I took...

One of the few things about the new Gooseh that I approve of is the lack of chronic spelling mistakes. Back in the day, you couldn't move without being exhorted to try some 'PIPPING HOT PEES' or a 'TOFFE APPUL'. This was the only typo I spotted. Well done, everybody.

Goose Fair hasn't been the same since that hostile Disney takeover a few years ago.


This bloke is definitely worth a visit if you're going tonight. He fries up dead thinly sliced potatoes for a quid, and they are skill. He used to call them 'Crips', as they're a cross between chips and crisps, but I'm guessing it was pointed out that he was glorifying American gang culture. Or maybe the Bloods got the arse. Or summat.

OK, I've teased you enough. Time to get my peas on. If you're Proper Notts, you know there's only one place to get the peas in - that place in the top corner who do nothing but peas. My Mam used to work there in the sixties, and said it was the best fiddle in the fair for both the owner and the staff. ONE POUND AND TWENTY FUCKING PENCE, people. But sod it - I defy anyone who calls themselves a Nottinghamian not to look at that photo and not have a multiple orgasm of the taste buds...

If you've already read this, you'll know of my distain for Goose Fair's eschewing of gnomes with lucky bingo beans, Scottish giants who could step over Minis, local folk punching each other in the face for entertainment and MaaseTaan in its quest to be a poor man's Alton Towers. In fact, there's only one concession to old-school freakshowery - that big trailer van near the public bogs. I'd been in before, so I wasn't arsed. But me nephew saw this;

...and demanded we went in, so we could be systematically lied to by an ET doll in a jar...

Some bits picked up off a building site...

and - oh, for fuck's sake...

After picking up the usual paraphenalia (toffee apples, cinder tuffeh, overpriced balloon, etc), May Contain Notts's nephew said "Thank you very much for the greatest day of my life". Awr. Which makes it sound like he's been imprisoned in a cupboard for the past six years. My thoughts;

1) It's definitely not as big as it used to be.
2) If they tried not to rip people off so much, there's be about three times more people there.
3) Seeing as we've got a massive Square again, they should hold a more old-school fair there at the same time for the kids
4) I need to go back tonight for some more peas.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Factory Fodder

Sorry, but I just can't work up any excitement whatsoever about Control, the Joy Division film that was mainly shot in Nottingham. OK, so local actors getting work is brilliant, but it strikes me as horribly ironic that Broadway has put on a gala night to celebrate the fact that someone in a production company drove to Lenton, formed a square with their thumbs and index fingers, and said "Yeah, this place looks like the kind of depressing shithole where Ian Curtis would hang himself".

Are You Going To Gooo-ooo-ooose Fair? Elvis Mirrors, Nuggit And Peas...

(Apologies to Simon and Garfunkel)

Obviously, the big event of the week in Nottingham is the return of Goose Fair. I've not been yet, so I'll refrain from making comments about how rubbish it is/not as mint as it used to be/the extortionate price of the peas until I do.

Until then, may I direct your attention to a series of pieces I wrote for LeftLion a few years ago about the things which made Gooseh such a brilliant thing;


A relic from the days when looking at rodents in a glass tank was the height of culture and sophistication in Notts

Elvis Mirrors
The King lives. On student bedsit walls, in charity shops and in your Auntie's attic

Scream If You Want To Go Faster Man
A tale of dreams denied and hopes a-crushed, set to a soundtrack of Racey and Gary Glitter

Saddam Assassin

The Snake Woman of Bombay
The erotic splendour of a bored secretary from Bulwell earning a bit of Xmas money by pissing about with a snake

The Giant From Scotland
He could step over a Mini, you know

Gordon the Gnome
He could walk under a Mini. Alright, maybe he couldn't

The Boxing Booth
Old-school fist-on-face action, watched by deranged old dear with a brolly

The ultimate prize. Until they died the next morning.

Dads with faces like smacked arses
Goosey-hating Enemies of the People

Outdoor Bingo
The Sport of Mams

Being warned by your Nana not to go on a Saturday night
Mouth-pursing warnings of Apocalypse by the Cakewalk

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

LeftLion Is Not For Sale

A note from LeftLion Towers;
It has come to our attention that a certain (alleged) Big Issue seller is going around town with a bag of LeftLions and offering them for sale, claiming that LeftLion has been bought out by the Big Issue. We’d like to draw your attention to the following;

• LeftLion has always been a free newspaper. That’s why it has a big ‘FREE’ logo near the top.

• LeftLion has not been bought out by the Big Issue, or anyone else. It remains a fiercely independent magazine produced for and by Nottingham people.

• If you see anyone attempting to sell LeftLion, please take their Big Issue vendor number and send it to

• LeftLion is available for free in over 300 locations in the Nottingham area. Get a copy from there.

• (Oh, and ask the bloke if he’s got any Big Issues for sale, as it’s good karma)

Thank you,
Cheeky fucking bastards.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Spandau Bell-end

I dunno about you, but this story caused me much in the way of mither over the weekend, as it probably did most Notts lads of a certain age. Not the fact that Richard Nixon managed to find time to stop worrying about being exposed as a cheating bastard to feel a bit sorry for Rudolf Hess - this bit at the end;
"The files include good wishes from civilians, one from a Nottingham man with a photo of his young sons carrying a model Zeppelin."
Fuck. Now, I know I haven't got a brother or owt, but it set me thinking; had me Dad ever took a picture of me and my cousin Kevin holding up a Zeppelin in 1973? I know I had a Colditz glider one Xmas, but he was always too busy getting kaylide at the Old General to help me put it together. There was a photo of me and my sister standing next to a Sooty machine in Chapel St Leonards round about the same time (Sooty, Sweep, and Soo had formed a Power Trio, and if you put 2p in they'd play summat). Had my Dad been sending photos of me to Hitler's deputy? He's mad enough.

Thankfully, the Post got on the case and eased my fears. It was actually a retired Council bod who just wanted his autograph.
"It's like getting the autograph of an Australian cricketer," said
Brian Howell, just before sending a photo of his granddaughter holding up an Airfix model to Osama bin Laden. "You may not like things to do with his personal life but they are a great cricketer and you have to strike a balance in getting their signature."

I don't know how anyone can equate Shane Warne to Supreme Nazi No.2, but this I do know; thank fuck it wasn't me ode man.