Category Archives: Guest Posts

The Day I Met… Gerry Adams

He's the one in specs, paramilitary beret, no beard - an ice cream would just look silly.

(Fanfare.) It gives me great pleasure to present the next entry in the The Day I Met… competition. Here’s a taster:

I rushed through to the front to see two more extremely large “boys” wearing trench coats in a heat wave stood at the front with a third man. In trying to evacuate the premises, I nearly evacuated something else. The three at the front were close together. A shotgun with some fine buckshot might take all three out and then a run like buggery down the fields across the stream and don’t stop until I hit Larne and the boat to the mainland. It is amazing what goes through your mind when you believe you are about to be kidnapped!

The story continues below. This entry comes from… Actually I can’t tell you his name. (At least I think it’s a him.) Because he is keeping his true identity a secret. He writes about dodgy goings on in the police and the criminal justice system under the pseudynom Noble Cause Corruption. He’s a serving police officer in the UK, so Continue reading

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Filed under Guest Posts, The Day I Met... Competition

The Day I Met… Telly Savalas

(Drum roll.) I’m proud to present the first entry in the The Day I Met… competition.

This story comes from Speaking From The Heart– aka holessence – that’s her bloggie identity. She’s also known as Laurie Buchanan and she’s a holistic health practitioner – healer, writer, and motivational speaker – in Illinois, USA.

But what about Telly? Here’s Laurie’s story: The Day I Met Telly Savalas.

My sister and I grew up in southern California. When we were 11 and 10 respectively, my mother thought it would be great fun to take us to Hollywood to drive around to see if we could spot any movie stars. We had a little Corvair (yes, the car that was voted one of the “50 worst cars of all time,” and later pulled off the market), and drove around with high hopes, peering into faces of the passersby.

Out of the blue comes a Rolls Royce with you’ll never guess who driving! Telly Savalas—television’s “Kojak!” And yes, he had the stick-part of a lollipop protruding from his mouth.

We screamed in delight as mom maneuvered our vehicle behind his and we followed in hot pursuit. When we reached his mansion and he drove through the wrought-iron gates that had magically opened for his car, mom continued driving past but was now whispering, “We’ll drive around the block and find a spot to park.”

“But mom, he’s got a solid, six-foot brick wall around his house!”

“Oh, that’ll be no problem,” she assured us. Continue reading

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Filed under Guest Posts, The Day I Met... Competition

Partial Truths & Organised Forgetting (A Right of Reply)

Christine and two out of three of her children. (Lovely picture.)

Ever wanted a right to reply? Here’s one… A few months ago I published a post called How to come back from being burned at the stake. One reader, Christine Kalume, felt so strongly about what I had written and what had been said in the comments that she wanted to respond at length. I agreed and here is her response.

First a reminder. The original story was pegged to the row that erupted after a newspaper feature asked whether the southern English town of Lewes was racist. The white journalist is in a marriage to a black woman and has mixed race children. He listed perceived slights and discrimination. Some people in Lewes were very offended at what they saw as a slur on their community. They even went so far as to burn an effigy of the journalist David James Smith at their annual bonfire – putting him in the company of the Pope and politicians.

David James Smith and his family

So far, so inflammatory. But what appealed to me about the whole business, was what happened next. Rather than running, hiding, moving house or lashing out, David James Smith bravely took part in an open meeting with his critics, the better to discuss the issues he had raised. You’ll find details about all that in my original post.

It was great to have responses  from David James Smith himself and some very long considered comments from others too. But I promised Lewes local Christine Kalume that she could write a guest post on it all, and here it is. So these are her views, not mine. I find them fascinating and enlightening – I hope you do too. But whether you like what she has to say or not, I hope you’ll leave a comment. (It’s quite long, so you’re allowed to leave a comment on just a wee bit of it, or the lovely pictures scattered throughout.)

Who are we? Partial Truths and organised forgetting – by Christine Kalume *

The Sunday Times feature article last year by David James Smith  (DJS)2 on his family’s experiences of racism in the English market town of Lewes sparked some intense debates. Initial responses tended to focus on the pros and cons of the approach taken and points made in the article (like this one by local Lewesian David Bradford). However, the article also opened up a communication space to explore issues linked to racism – and diversity more broadly.

Christine and Tony's wedding day in Nairobi, Kenya

As a Lewesian and someone in a mixed race marriage for whom connections to other cultures and to Africa in particular have been important, I found myself thinking and thinking about some of the issues raised. So when Paul gave me this space on his blog to contribute, I was delighted. I have tried to provide evidence to support some of my points but this is not an academic article. I hope it encourages further discussion ‒ and even contributes in some small way to change Continue reading

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Filed under Guest Posts, politics

The day I met… (Competition Time)

Did you notice the owl? An owl!

Drum roll please – It’s the all-star celebrity competition.

I said I’d do it – and here it is. Inspired by Rasjacobson, I would very much like to have your stories of celebrity encounters. There’ll even be prizes. But before you rush to leave a comment, breathless with excitement, read on…

It’s partly Jackie Leven’s fault. Now he’s what I call a celeb. Never mind his transcendant singing and story telling – just look at his picture. Looks both rugged and fey. Gazing into the distance. On a motorbike. No helmet. With an owl. An owl!

I got an email from him today because I’ve been trying to track down a copy of an album he made. Turns out it was a private limited edition and sold out. So he’s given my the go-ahead to think laterally (a euphemism). Which I will. But how lovely to hear from the owl-meister personally.

It’s a far cry from the unfortunate encounter I had with one of my favourite writers when I finally got to meet him. I was very silly. He wasn’t impressed.

And that’s the sort of tale I’d like to hear most – how you got to meet someone (need not be someone well known, though fun if it was) and it did not go as planned. Perhaps you finally got to speak to Robert de Niro and spilled gravy in his lap.

"Psst! Can you pass me some loo roll. I know daarling, I know, it's a little embarrassing. But at least it may make an entertaining blog post some day. Goodness daarling, this toilet is very comfy. I hope I'm in the right place..."

Perhaps Liza Minnelli whispered quietly to you… to ask you to pass some toilet roll into her cubicle next to yours. Or you nipped in ahead of another driver, only to find you’d just stolen the Dalai Lama’s parking place. It’s over to you.

This is how it will work (I hope).

  1. Have a giggle or blush about that time when you met… yes, that time.
  2. Doesn’t have to involve a celebrity/icon/politician/etc – but good if it does. (If you’re worried about getting into trouble, we can use a pseudynom for the celeb.)
  3. Also good if it is funny.
  4. Length? Up to you.
  5. Write it down and email it to me at paulwaters99 at hotmail.com
  6. I will put it on this blog as a guest post – with a link back to you.
  7. You will bask in the satisfaction of seeing your story on a highly prestigious, critically acclaimed, hugely popular blog – er… this one. And if that’s not enough…
  8. I’ll also send you something lovely in the post  if you’d like (probably a book to be honest, I’ll give you the options,  you can choose). I’ll email you back for your postal address and won’t tell it to anyone else.
  9. Hang on – doesn’t that mean everyone who enters could win. Er… yes, I suppose so. I better buy in some stamps.

I’ll post on my embarrassing celeb encounter, but I’d love to hear yours. So have a think.

But in the meantime do leave a comment to let me know if this tickles your fancy, whether I should be bracing myself for overseas postage – or whether I should join the Foreign Legion to avoid having to look at an empty inbox for the next few years.

Have I left anything out? Any vital piece of information? Tell me.

But more importantly – tell me you’re joining in.

Yeeow - that hurts!

Here’s another prompt. It’s audio. It’s got me in it. (Oooh!) It’s an episode of a podcast on life in the UK that I used to do for a German media company. I’m interviewing Tanya who reveals how she accidentally assaulted Donald Rumsfeld Continue reading

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Filed under Guest Posts, media

What you need to guest blog: Sex, drugs and Steve McQueen

Forget Eldorado, the Grail, the Philosopher’s Stone or the fabled elixir of eternal youth – I’ve discovered something far more sought after.

The recipe for guest blogging.

You can see for yourself here on the People Per Hour blog. Hurrah. They asked me to write for them. So I did. The post is called Why you need to be more like Steve McQueen. (There are a couple of photos too. I’m in one. The good one features Steve McQueen.)

It turns out the secret is simple Continue reading

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Filed under Guest Posts, My Writing

When no one locked their doors on my street

This is a history of my street, from 1931-2011. It’s a firsthand account. So it’s not written by me. Guess that makes it a guest post.

One of my neighbours, Pam, wrote it to share with the rest of us on the street. I typed it up and printed off copies to hand out at our recent royal wedding street party (here, here and here).

I’ve slightly edited it for this blog. And I’ll give you a little context too.

The street is on the edge of a village in the south of England. Population less than five thousand people. Used to be mainly farm workers. Now a lot of people commute to the nearest city.

Pam was born on the street and has lived here most of her life.  She has some good tales. One of them features an odd woman in a beret. (Apologies. In the previous post I promised you a flat cap. Turns out it’s a beret.)

So here’s Pam’s story.

I was born at no.22, lived there for a year, then moved to no.18 for a year, then to no.17 for the next thirty years, until my husband and I bought an allotment and orchard from the owners at no.19 and built our own bungalow no.21.

Many of the houses were built in the late 1920s and 1930s by two local builders. They were mostly rented. It was only after World War II that people began to buy homes outright. Most houses have altered almost out of recognition with rooms added up and out.

I do not know if our home came with gas at first, but I do remember the excitement of just touching a switch and the light coming on when electricity was installed. Before then, one had a bracket with two gas mantles which had a chain to operate the gas flow. One then lit the mantles carefully with a match. That was only downstairs. Electricity came to the street around 1937 I think. Before then we went to bed by candlelight.

Everyone had a flower garden, a vegetable patch and a few greenhouses – fruit trees and bushes and strawberries. Everyone in those days grew most of their vegetables and shared them with neighbours.

A few chickens at the bottom of the garden and rabbits in hutches provided extra meat – especially during the war years and eggs were precious. During the war we had a retriever who when told to “catch a rabbit” over the fields, did just that and made the meat ration go further. The large oak tree (now listed) at the rear of no.17 was home to a family of red squirrels until the grey squirrels moved in.

1. It's not a woman in a beret. 2. It's the wrong type of rabbit. 3. It's a pipe not a cigarette. 4. Who cares.

Also to the rear of no.17 in the corner of the field was a reclusive lady who Continue reading

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Filed under Guest Posts, In the village