Category Archives: Guest Posts

A diatribe on dire and dreadful English

The Vernons Girls and the Beatles. Poor old Ringo, nobody wanted to sit on his knee.

No! This is NOT a rant from an Irish man against the English. Nor indeed against anyone bearing that surname. It’s not even by me.

It’s a guest post from eminent Blackwatertown reader Nigel Morgan, who’s English himself.

It’s his heartfelt cry to the heavens about the corruption of the English language. But is he right?

A DIATRIBE ON THE DIRE AND DREADFUL!

“How are you?” I innocently asked Continue reading

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Filed under Guest Posts, language, Music

Teachers: The good, the bad and the naughty

Who has been the most influential person in your life outside your family? Probably a teacher. Whether you tend towards the Pink Floyd attitude or the opposite Abba extreme, teachers have been there opening doors, moulding, revealing and empowering – or in some cases, failing to do so and missing opportunities. Luckily for me, mine have mostly been in the first camp.

But I have encountered some dodgy ones. The problem with teachers is – it’s not always immediately clear who is a good ‘un and who who is a bad ‘un – because it’s not about niceness. I’ve been telling tales about what happened inside classroom over at the prestigious (how I love using that word), thought-provoking and entertaining Lessons from Teachers and Twits blog. Ahem, no prizes for guessing which category I belong in. The answer of course is – both, on occasion.

Teachers and Twits is run by RasJ in the picture. I can’t imagine anyone skipping her class. (Hope I don’t pull standards down too far.) Anyway – you’re welcome to have a look and issue me with suspension, expulsion or a gold star over at Teachers and Twits. And you’re also welcome to share your own teaching or being taught stories back here.

Oi! Pay attention at the back there! It’s your own Continue reading

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Filed under blogs, Guest Posts, Influences, My Writing

The Day I Met… Pavarotti

Who's cute? I'm cute.

Just when you thought it was all over, along comes a stonker. Nessum dorma till they’ve read this excellent short story from Killian at The Comely Banking Crisis – the latest entry in the The Day I Met… Competition.

The celebrity encountered needs no introduction, so let’s cast off immediately and hear about…

The Day I Met Luciano Pavarotti

The memory is as clear as the sea was. My twelve-year-old self. In a small boat off the Italian coast, stuck there with Pavarotti; he’s sitting on the prow, filling his end of the boat with his injured pride Continue reading

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The Day I Met… Jim Jarmusch

When asked what was the best advice he'd ever received from Tom Waits, Jim Jarmusch replied as above.

This Wednesday’s very thoughtful entry to the The Day I Met… Competition comes from Peter Rudd. You can see his Coromandal blog here.

The man he met was indie film maker Jim Jarmusch, of whom Tom Waits said in the New York Times:

The key, I think, to Jim, is that he went gray when he was 15 … As a result, he always felt like an immigrant in the teenage world. He’s been an immigrant – a benign, fascinated foreigner – ever since. And all his films are about that.

His films are not middle of the road and include Down By Law, Mystery Train, Dead Man, Coffee and Cigarettes, Broken Flowers, The Limits of Control and – perhaps the most mainstream one (which I saw and enjoyed) – Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.

But let’s get on with Peter’s face to face celeb encounter on…

The day I met Jim Jarmusch

There is a sweetness and maybe glory in being between things and having the time to sit and watch and walk and to soak in the places you would otherwise busily and blindly navigate through on your way to destinations and obligations.  Two summers ago I was in that in between place having just finished a gig overseas and moved into a new place in Queens.  I was halfheartedly looking for a new job and wholeheartedly toing and froing between the neighborhoods of New York:  Billyberg, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, the Village, the lower east side and Soho Continue reading

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The Day I Met… The Queen

"I just can't bear to look at that man."

The bar is hereby set to a new high for the The Day I Met… Competition. We’re talking mightily prestigious here. Almost John Peel level. Someone who has two birthdays each year. Holiday homes across the globe. Likes the gee-gees. She even knew Princess Diana. Yes… it’s the Queen. Queen Elizabeth II (or I if you’re Scottish). As monarchs go, she makes up in dignity what she lacks in liveliness.

This startling tale comes from Rudy Noriega of the Gullible’s Travels blog.

Regardless of your politics (and you know how I compromised mine here and here), Queen Elizabeth is the sort of person for whom you’d want to scrub up well before meeting. You’d want to make a fairly good impression, wouldn’t you? Not encounter with your flies down or spinach between your teeth. You certainly wouldn’t want to encounter her when you were… say…. oh I don’t know…  PISSED! (That means drunk, by the way, not angry, for any Americans reading this.)

Oh Rudy, Rudy, Rudy… Continue reading

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The Day I Met… James Nesbitt

 
Happy

This bonus entry in the The Day I Met… Competition comes from Emma, who lives in the northern Irish countryside. She blogs at Adventures of an Unfit Mother. Her story involves an encounter with a very fine actor who is also well known for his charm and twinkle – James Nesbitt.

Emma herself admits she’s cheating with her entry.  “I’m playing a bit fast and loose with the rules,” she says. “But felt it was worth sharing.” And she’s right. I’ll reveal her rule bending in a moment, but first here’s a reminder of James Nesbitt’s work for those who need it.

Unhappy

He hit the big time as one of the ensemble cast of Cold Feet – a bit like a British Friends. He was going out with Helen Baxendale, who later popped up in Friends to marry Ross. (Didn’t work out.) He was the menacing undercover cop in Murphy’s Law (based on stories by Colin Bateman) and appeared in various films including Waking Ned (Waking Ned Devine in America) and is in the forthcoming hairy-footed epic, The Hobbit.

Hobbit (Okay, not really a hobbit, but a dwarf called Bofur in The Hobbit)

He was just great in Bloody Sunday directed by Paul Greengrass (Bourne & United 93) as civil rights leader and MP Ivan Cooper – and great again as the bereaved brother in Five Minutes of Heaven who refuses to give a killer easy absolution for the sake of TV cameras and the “peace process”.

The catch in Emma’s story is that it wasn’t her, but her Mum who met this particular star. But that’s fine, because that’s why it works. So here is…

The day my Mum met… James Nesbitt.

At a family wedding a number of years ago, the guest list included none other than James Nesbitt, the Northern Irish actor. He had gone to school with the groom. At the time he was starring in BT [British Telecom – the main UK phone network] ads on TV, as well as being one of the leads in Cold Feet – a very popular drama at the time.

In other words, he was doing very well for himself, thank you very much.

There was a low hum of excitement as he entered the church, but in typical Irish fashion he was then pretty much nonchalantly ignored..

Later in the day my Mum happened to be placed next to him at the table. Too this day, I have no idea whether this was a clever orchestration or happy chance, because Continue reading

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The Day I Met… Met HER

Welcome to the latest episode of the The Day I Met… contest. Bit different this Wednesday. We’ve had a world leader, a film star, a singer, a celebrity beardster, a best selling writer, military top brass – and now someone very well known in certain circles.

This encounter comes from Helen. I can’t link to her because she doesn’t have a blog. (I know. Me too. I thought everyone had a blog. Perhaps those rumours about life existing offline are actually true.)

She emailed in her story with this caveat: 

So, it is not exactly within the guidelines of your competition, but it was the nearest to a celebrity moment that i could imagine myself writing about.

Good enough for me. So here’s Helen’s story about…

The Day I Met… Met HER. And she came home with me! Continue reading

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