I’ve messed up. I’ve denied myself my right. On Thursday, when you can all vote I, like the insane, prisoners, and the aristocracy (and sometimes these groups do overlap), won’t be able to. I’ll be in Manchester, visiting my mum who’ll have just had an operation. And I live, and vote, in London.

These things are covered. You can vote by post or by proxy. But the deadline for a proxy vote was Tuesday 27th. I checked my poll card. On the back it says “In certain circumstances it may be possible to apply to vote by proxy after the deadline. To change any of your voting arrangements please contact the helpline number shown overleaf as soon as possible”.

I’m not too good at as soon as possible. I left it too late. I phoned today. I explained my certain circumstances. But they weren’t good enough. I asked what would enable me to apply for proxy after the deadline. They said I’d need to be in a car crash. This is true. This is what they said to me.

I want to vote. I’m tempted to plan a car crash but my worry is that, once executed, my plan would clearly indicate that I am insane. It’s one of those catch 22 things.

I’m happy to come clean. if I were to vote I’d vote Lib Dem. If I were dead I’d describe myself as a lifelong Labour voter, but I’ve still some time to go so I’m happy to change and give my vote (that I can’t give) to the man who’s shagged less than 30 women. I’ve shagged less than 30 women too, so I feel a kind of kinship. Give the Sheffield shagger a shot.

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Closed Waxworks

April 26, 2010

I was in Great Yarmouth just over a weekend ago. And everywhere was closed. Including its exciting Waxwork museum. It’s not fair. To miss out on Elvis and Noel, Michael Owen and Mr. Blobby. I didn’t get to see 007 James Bond. Which one? I doubt it’d be Craig. Maybe Moore or Lazenby. Or just a man in a tuxedo. And how do you make a waxwork of Blobby? That’d need a hell of a lot of wax. Maybe it’s just a beached whale painted pink and yellow. And Ooh Betty. Steptoe and Son. Wacko Jacko. Kojak. Gorden “Allo, Allo” Kaye. And that’s just one board.

Oover on the other one I’ve missed out on all the royals, including Prince William in a smaller font. Lineker, Bruno, Keegan, Gazza, a resurgent Davis. And Chichester; well I wouldn’t know if he looked like him or not, I’m that ignorant.

But the Posh and Becks, Owen, Blobby and Bean must be something else to be mentioned twice and to get their own bubble.

Next time I go the place will be open. I’ll phone ahead. I’ll book a private viewing. I WILL get to see them. I’ll photograph and document. And, even if it’s not for years, something tells me the waxworks will be the same.

Great Yarmouth is closed

April 20, 2010

I was in Great Yarmouth over the weekend for the EPA Interleague Pool Finals. On Friday afternoon I wandered around the town; along the front, down the pier, into a fish and chips shop; and then back through the main street. By then it was gone six so I had to satisfy myself with some window shopping. Here’s what I found.

Even Gerald’s was shut.

Things weren’t much better on the beach.

And I sadly missed this bit of excitement. If you know what the film was, please let me know. Or even if you want to have a guess.

Interleague 2010

April 19, 2010

I’m just back from the National Interleague finals in Great Yarmouth. And now I’m going to bravely, or foolishly, attempt to explain what it’s all about.

It’s a pool tournament organised by the English Pool Association. The EPA has divided England into seven regions. You can find out why by reading this, but put simply, it’s to make it easier to play other teams. For example, a London team would find it more convenient to play a team from, say, Kent rather than a team from, say, Cornwall or Leeds. And this is where Interleague comes in. Throughout the year there are regular tournaments in all the 7 regions to determine the top two or three teams (the number of teams going through to the finals determined by the size of the region… I think) and then these top teams all head off to a caravan park in Great Yarmouth to play each other. We all stay in caravans and we all play pool and at the end of the weekend one of the teams wins. And then they are the best pool team in England.

I play in the Waterloo Pool League. There are ten teams in the Waterloo Pool League and we play our matches on Tuesday nights. I play for JFK’s Allstars, currently sitting third in the league.

And then there are the Interleague teams. There are 7 teams in the Interleague league. These matches are played on Sundays, and the team I play for is made up of players from the ten teams who play on Tuesday nights. I play for Waterloo 2. There is also a Waterloo 1. And, with the standard of my play, I am sure, in time, there will be a Waterloo 3. Even if it is a team of only one.

This year both Waterloo 1 and 2 qualified for the Interleague finals in Great Yarmouth.

So, off we go.

Here’s some pics to try and keep you interested.

2010 Interleague finals- the trophies

Mark Christensen, Michael Clayton, Will Tweed

Here you can see three of Waterloo 2’s finest; Mark The Danish Christensen, Mickey Cassius Clayton and Will Big Willy Tweed. We all have nicknames. I’m SimonThe Stick Hickson.

So, firstly it’s the group stages. 96 teams, 32 groups. Three teams in each group. In our group we had Leeds and South Norfolk. The top team goes through to the knockout stages. We lost 10-8 to South Norfolk and 11-7 to Leeds. I played one frame in each match and lost both. Sorry lads.

Waterloo 1 had a good go. They won their group and then beat Bilston 11-10 (9-9 and then a 3 frame decider) making it to the last 16 teams. They were beaten 10-8 by Leicester. A shame but well done all the same. If you want to know how it all played out you can find the results here.

Thanks for bearing with me on this one. Any questions are welcome, but I doubt I’ll be able to answer them.

Some more pics I think.

Alex Lawrence, Waterloo 1

Alex with Mickey looking on

The final- PJ's Stourbridge v Trent Trophies A

As I took the pictures of the tables been dismantled three of the bouncers asked me why I was photographing that and not them. These are the guys who keep 1000 pool players under control, especially on the Saturday night when we all head off the the V Lounge to see some poor teen pool player have cream sprayed into his underpants by one of  Great Yarmouth’s top strippers.

They used to have a dodgy comedian too. But not anymore. I asked why and the organiser said it was because we always gave him too hard a time. It’s true. We would heckle and boo. And it was only right that we should. Just because we are a bunch of pool players it doesn’t follow that we should have to listen to an endless stream of racist, sexist and hate fuelled jokes.*

So that’s that for Interleague 2010. Along the way I met Chris Minns. He plays for South Norfolk and he came out with one of the more obscure heckles I’ve ever had. The opposing team always has some line in “harmless banter” ready for when we really mess up. My favourite this year (and every year) is “should have gone to Specsavers”. When I did a particularly bad shot in my frame against Carl Clack Chris shouted out “that was no Bridge over the River Kwai”. I still don’t understand. But it hurt. And this from a man who constantly shouted at me to “shake my shorts”.

Me and Chris Minns

* Ok, so it’s rich of me to go on about racism and sexism when I’ve been watching strippers, but if it’s any consolation… oh, what the hell. I have no defence.

Oh, and Flat Stanley had a good time too. I didn’t let him see the strippers.

Flat Stanley

April 13, 2010

You may remember Flat Eric from a few years ago.

Well, Flat Eric became a bit of a hit, was made into a soft toy, and I bought one for my niece one Christmas a long time ago. He’s still knocking around their house somewhere, having gone through the “wow! Cool ad!” stage to the bargain bin stage, and now, who knows, maybe he’s due a revival.

Or has Flat Stanley taken over? Flat Stanley’s been sent to me by my nephew. It’s a class project thing. He’s coloured (or colored since he lives in the USA) Flat Stanley in and he’s sent him on holiday. To me. Pity poor Flat Stanley.

He’s Stanley Lambchop, from a book by Jeff Brown. I’d never heard of it, and if you haven’t you can find out more here.

My job is to show Flat Stanley a good time and then post him back to my nephew. He’s not got long so I’ve got to get on with it. I might take him out to pool tonight.

So far he’s watched the Grand National and been to Stratford Upon Avon. He wanted to see a Shakespeare play, but I wouldn’t let him.

Yes, I know. I know what you’re thinking. So, yes, ok, I did forget to take Flat Stanley around Stratford with me and only remembered at the last minute as I waited to get the train. But, you know, he’s flat, and flimsy. I didn’t want him to fly away. Or get pecked by one of those Avon gooses.

I’ll do better. I’m under pressure. My nephew writes “I know Stanley will enjoy his vacation* with you… You are helping to make learning about Geography fun and exciting!

For those of you who missed out, here’s the film my niece and nephew made when I spent some time with them just after Christmas, Bad Guys Wear the Best Underpants. Time for a re-release. Look carefully and you’ll see my nephew peeping through the dolls house, and you’ll see him with his sister at the end. He should have sent Clint Frecklestone on his hols. That’d be a laugh.

* American talk for holidays.