Like bingo AND fags?

Then BINGO! You’ll love Mecca in Stevenage. It’s like a… place that attracts pilgrims from all over.

But you know, when that close “House!” call has got to your nerves and you need a ciggie to calm yourself, the law says you can’t light up inside. Happily, Mecca have thought of everything: smoking cages!

The usual occupants remind me of the number 88 for some reason.

Fair play, Mecca don’t want chancers bunking in the back door, so a cage is the answer. You’re still just a step away from your dabber and card but you’re outside enough to enjoy a lungful of carcinogens – and the panaromic view of Daneshill car park through the bars. What a night!

Oh why, oh why, oh wi-fi.

East Coast. Very nice trains. And on my line at least, very punctual. Swanky interiors. ‘In-flight’ magazine. Free wi-fi. Scratch that. What used to be free wi-fi is now 15 minutes of free wi-fi. If you want longer you have to pay. Or go First Class.

Elaine Holt, head of East Coast and a bit of a train (right).

Excuse me, East Coast, I think you’re going in the wrong direction. Everyone else seems to be offering free wi-fi – from the likes of O2 to independent coffee shops. The days of paying for it are dying out. Now, I know times are tight and if you can charge for something you will – and from where I’m sitting your monopoly is absolute – but in the name of offering passengers something called ‘service’, would it kill you to let us have wi-fi without the catch? I pay thousands of pounds a year for the privilege of using your trains and the price certainly ain’t coming down any time soon.

Don’t go all Ryanair on us, please.

The egg in my car.

Why is there an egg in my car? It’s not really an egg, it’s a dehumidifier in disguise. For some reason, in winter my reasonable-in-every-way Ford Focus gets steamy inside (see http://bit.ly/f5u1Cn). Something to do with leaky seals perhaps; I’m no expert.

When it gets really cold, I can come back from work to find the windscreen has iced up on the inside. Well that’s no good – I can’t see out to drive.

So I’ve bought this. You leave it in the car and over time it absorbs moisture in the air and stores it it so it can’t get out again. It’s even got an indicator on it to tell you when it’s getting full.

If it shows pink you just sling it in the microwave for 10 minutes and all the moisture’s forced out again.

Does it work? Yes. I’ve noticed a big improvement. Low cost, low maintenance. Perfect.

If you want to get one and see for yourself, I got mine from here:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300471917413

Christmas in January.

Just how long can you drag Christmas out for? Our tree was out in the garden before the year was out – but it was dead on its feet, drooping alarmingly.

Not so at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage; Christmas is still in full swing. Their version of Snow White is running until January 23. Now I’ve been to see it and I heartily recommend it, so the good news is you’ve stll got time to get along and see the show. It stars Sue Holderness out of Boycie and Marlene out of ‘Green Green Grass’ out of ‘Only Fools and Horses’.

Katie Rowley Jones needs directions for the West End, apparently.

Anyway, it’s not unusual to have a panto run to the end of Jan. However, in the run-up to the show, the theatre played Christmas tunes in the adjoining walkway that leads to the station to get everyone in the mood and hopefully flog a few more tickets. So here’s the thing: they’re still playing these tunes now and it’s January 19.

"...in the lane, snow is glistenin'..."

It just seems like someone needs to say, “We’re halfway to Valentines Day now, let it go. Christmas will come round again next year (or later this year).”

I read somewhere they had to rename the dwarves (Dopey to Dippy, etc.) to avoid failing foul of Disney’s legal eagles. Boooo!

I always enjoy reading the programme to see what else the actors have been in. What did I learn? That you have to be a pretty rubbish dwarf not to have worked on Star Wars or Harry Potter. They’ve all done ’em. The theatre must have to decide on Snow White very early to make sure they can book all 7 dwarves – there must be a run on them at Christmas. No good getting 5 and making up the numbers with fully-grown Lanky and Lofty.

Saw a couple of ’em in Tesco the other day. Easy to spot if you’re near enough.

The Maria Sharapova bruise.

Every so often, life can take an unexpected turn. Suddenly you’re no longer sitting at your desk under harsh strip-lighting, you’re on a tennis court in LA waiting for Maria Sharapova to arrive so she can hit tennis balls at you – you know how it is.



How did this come to pass? One of our clients is Sony Ericsson. We’re very busy doing lots of lovely advertising for them and Maria is one of their ‘Brand Ambassadors’.

Some fashion shoot had been cancelled at the last minute and given that the whole tennis tour season kicks off very soon, this was Sony Ericsson’s last chance to make use of her time – 90 minutes of it to be exact.

So in very short order we were briefed and quickly narrowed down our best ideas to 3 we thought would be acceptable to Maria and ‘her people’ (they always have people – I don’t, maybe I’m doing something wrong).

That was quickly whittled down to the one idea that was sold in and in no time at all I was one of an elite team of admen sitting in Economy heading to LA.

What you see here is the result. Maria was a delight and extremely accommodating, signing my daughter’s tennis racket cover and giving me 2 kisses – probably out of guilt for the physical damage she’d caused me.

image

Exhibit A

Parking in Stevenage: 2010 in review.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,000 times in 2010. That’s about 14 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 43 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 145 posts. There were 64 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 8mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 15th with 74 views. The most popular post that day was Dogging in Stevenage..

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were bitchbag.co.uk, twitter.com, facebook.com, en.wordpress.com, and stevefolland.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for duncan norvelle, make a shake stevenage, parking in stevenage, tesco trolley, and make a shake hitchin menu.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Dogging in Stevenage. November 2010

2

5 things you never knew about Duncan Norvelle. July 2009
7 comments

3

Free milkshakes for a year. February 2010
2 comments

4

A cross-dresser in Stevenage. March 2009
1 comment

5

Believe in England! June 2010

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