Posts tagged: Eastenders

The Next Karate Kid

Junior Artists

People are often surprised when I tell them I am an avid watcher of Eastenders. They expect me to have a broader, more high brow approach to television. The events in the fictional Walford, are perhaps rather too much in the realm of common denominator TV. So what appeals to me so much about this soap? I am sure I have mentioned it before (Eastenders is a regular occurring theme on this blog and I am surprised I have not created a separate sub category!). It is not the gritty hard hitting story lines. It is actually the losers in loserville (Garry Hobbs was a stand out favourite, until his rather romantic exit, in August 2009). I suppose I just take some strange enjoyment from seeing life’s losers depicted on screen on a regular basis. Back in September 2005, I posted about the amazing Salsa Magic from Latin love machine – José! Well in recent weeks, they bought in another minor character (but in this case for a much shorter run than our dear dance teacher from Dagenham). My mind was jolted by this blog entry on the Guardian website. Now it was something else to risk introducing a character for just two episodes but to give her name Poppy Meadow, I am sure an eight year old could have thought up a more appropriate name. However, while she was on screen, there was some strange fascination (almost like watching a car crash in slow motion) to see how low the script writers could sink. Having said that, the sub plot was rather funny, as the dialogue just did not go anywhere, the chemistry between Meadow and her best friend, regular Jodie Gold, proved to be rather electric. There was a spark, perhaps not that strong, but there was enough of that on screen magic, that you wanted to know more. Well, I personally wanted to know more, particularly why she had trekked across from Shepherd’s Bush to visit her friend in Walford on the day of a funeral. If this was an event having in my home town (and I was so closely connected to the family) I would have spent the time elsewhere.

Poppy Meadow

Unfortunately all the clips have been taken off YouTube and it was too long ago for me to try and get some screen grabs from iPlayer. My digital TV card died years ago and was donated to a friend soon afterwards. Thanks to some other websites, we even have a profile over on Talk Walford. Although as a rule, I tend to avoid sites such as these for the fear of reading spoilers. I am a strong believer in the mantra – if you know what is going to happen, what is the point of watching? My only hope is that Poppy is brought back soon, there is the huge potential there, even if not as a potential love interest for Tamwar. (Personally I feel she could do better than Walford’s answer to Jamie Oliver!)

Anyone Can Fall In Love

Friday 3rd April 2009

Friday is finally here and I have a weekend of two halves. More on that later, for now let me focus on the week that is slowly drawing to a close. Work wise been extremely busy not making it to the gym until nearly 6.30pm on both Monday and Wednesday evening. You know how I am, any change to the routine is a difficult pill to swallow but I face the challenges as they come. As usual I come to Friday evening and have to think hard about noteworthy events to mention.

Pav has generally been very annoyed that my online presence this week has been non-existent, even to the point of updating his Facebook status yesterday evening at at 20:24 with, “wondering where the hell “terry” is…”. I was of course watching (like several million other UK residents) the last few minutes of an hour long Eastenders special. It was a great episode but even I, a harden Eastenders fan was disappointed with the ending. While I was browsing the Beeb blogs (as I do most lunchtime in the office) I hoped over to the BBC iPlayer message boards and found not one but two threads about last night’s episode. Looks like the Beeb’s flagship show will be losing some viewers. Totally the wrong outlet to vent your spleen though, these type of threads are best placed on the Points Of View message board or alternatively on Digital Spy. I appreciate that the writers of soaps have a great deal of power and this may have been one of those power trips gone a step too far. I agree that soaps have to be gritty and real (to a certain degree) but they must reflect the good times, the happiness as well as the sadness.

Greek was back on the television, well on the other side of the pond on Monday night. Watching it last night (I had no time on Tuesday evening after Chuck and Heroes and then there was World Cup Qualifying on Wednesday evening, so even The Apprentice had to take a hike too). It was like a family member who has been on holiday for an extended period coming back and telling you what they got up to. It really is a great show and I can only see things getting better now in this series. Singer Jesse McCartney guest stars as high school football ace Andy but for me it is always has been about Dale. His problems with his new Canadian flatmate had me in stitches! Even though the ice hockey loving man never gets any screen time!

Fitness wise I have had a rubbish time this week. On Tuesday I went out for a run straight after work at 5pm, however I suggested to my colleague James that we should do the run in the opposite direction, therefore to have an uphill start and re-create the start of the actual 10K run itself. This was just a stupid mistake on my part. The first two miles were all up hill and hard work. Our time dropped to ten minute miles only coming back to nine minute miles on the flat. My legs were giving up at this time and when we got into town, I had to stop. While working through town we were spotted by a colleague. He happened to be on the phone so just waved. The rumour would get through the office that Andrew was just “walking” on his Tuesday evening run. I have no problem taking the stick, as long as those dishing it out are going to get their running shows and join me on the last Sunday of May. Yesterday, I lasted only six minutes on the treadmill before I had to slow down to a jog. Today was even worse, I lasted about three miles before my legs just packed in and I had to stop and walk the rest of the way back to the flat. I may go out again tomorrow evening, depends how I feel.

What are the master plans for the weekend? Well not a lot on tomorrow. Need to give the flat a good tidy. Now that my vacuum bags arrived this morning, I have no excuses. I also have quite a lot of admin to do and also going to pop over to library to get my West Berkshire discount card. I also have to look at my friends laptop, help a friend join eBay and put a few things up for auction for them. Sunday is the busy part of the weekend. First there is the early morning gym session, after which I will be having my programme reviewed and also starting my first ever free weight programme. Then during the day I’m having a cooking day (with some help from a friend of course). After which I am off to Pinewood Studios to see a new comedy panel show being recorded. Would I Lie To You? will feature new host Rob Brydon (taking over the host seat from Angus Deayton) and team captains – Lee Mack and David Mitchell. I wonder who the guests on each team will be? Larry Lamb anyone? I am really looking forward to my return to Pinewood, my last visit was also thankful to SRO Audiences back in April just under two years ago. Sure it means a very late night on Sunday (the recording ends at 9.50pm) but it is well worth it and best of all the tickets are free!

Thursday 30th November 2006

There are many people whom I wish actually had a blog. Then there are other people whom I wish had never stopped blogging. Hussein, or rather Mighty Mouse is in the later category, I wish he still kept an online journal today. He headed over to Edinburgh last weekend with some friends and was uploading the photographs to FlickR when I spoke to him late on Tuesday night It was the first time he had mentioned it, so it had been a bit of a last minute dash than a planned long weekend away. While it is great to have a collection of photos and strange captions to describe the wonderful antics it is not substitution for a full story in words. Never mind, I am glad Hussein and his friends had such a great time. Having only touched down in the city briefly back in early June, I planned to return one year for the Hogmany celebrations.

While I am often harassed, or rather ridiculed (particularly at work) for watching the BBC soap from Albert Square, this evening came some redemption. One of the first questions people ask is, simply why? Well it is not the hard hitting gritty storylines, or the scandalous gossip of who did what, with who and when. It is in fact the comic moments from some of the losers in E20. Here was yet another prime example.

The song the guys are singing along to on the radio is Old Time Rock & Roll by the legendary Bob Seger. Classic. You could not make it up. This is the pure ingredient that makes Eastenders so great to watch. It is just a perfect mirror on real life. In how many garages across the country would you find middle aged men dancing along to rock songs? Quite a few I would imagine, and many more that would not admit to the offence.

To my surprise this afternoon I received an e-mail from Arsenal football club PLC. Nothing strange in that sure. However the message had a banner for Platinum Club Membership, which I am many years (and many more salary increases) from achieving. It explained that the game against Manchester United had been moved to a Sunday (due to live television coverage) and my reservation to dine would need to be reconfirmed. My colleague Chris was adamant that I should contact the office and confirm my booking. Being more of a realistic, I knew the moment I called up the mistake would become clear and cause a large amount of embarrassment. I decided to just file the e-mail away and forget about it. Sure enough by the time I got home, a recall e-mail had gone out fully explaining the mistake.

While I consider myself an organised individual, I am untidy. At times extremely so. I decided to do something about it last weekend. I bid for a CD case on eBay. While this may seem like a small step. It was actually a major step in changing a habit of a lifetime. Although I have had minor clear outs of redundant CD-roms over the past few years I have never completely moved away from stacking CDs on shelves and in cupboards. Stupid really looking back. When it comes to CD/DVD storage there is only one name. Accept no cheap imitations, there is only brand you can bank one. I bought one of their 64 capacity cases for the car, over three years ago.

Case Logic

On eBay I found a great case with a capacity more than double of the case that sits on my dash. 128 in the main slips, but an additional ‘currently playing’ slot in the inside cover for a further sixteen. Which meant I spent most of this evening sorting out all my CDs and making a big pile of categories: Drivers, Operating Systems, Applications and finally the most important, my Data. It is interesting how much you can uncover when you go to task to sort things out. I threw away over 25 CD cases, many of which I may donate to work as we always find a use for a case. However this does beg the question, why did I not do this years ago? Why wait until now, when I am on my fourth PC with CD drive to clear up all the clutter. I am not too sure, all I can say is I am glad I have finally got there.

Really looking forward to the weekend for a couple of reasons. Usually the first weekend of December would be generally quiet but not this year. (I decided to just look back at what I was doing this time last year and two things hit me. Firstly I opened my final entry for November 2005 with a paragraph about Eastenders. The second, the fact that I went to my first concert with my sister for a-ha‘s opening night of their UK Analogue tour. Back to the present, with an early start on Saturday morning as I head over to N5 to watch Arsenal take on arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the first North London derby at our new home. Then I return home, clean the car (it is in a bad state, believe me) before heading over towards the south coast (guided by the TomTom) for a dinner party with some friends. Sunday, well I have not really thought that far yet, but I am sure when I do I will let you all know.

Monday 30th January 2006

Watched She’s All That on Channel 4 last night. I sort of stumbled upon it by accident when checking what movies were on over the weekend on the Radio Times web site. Some background here, I have seen the movie before. Back when I was in the first year at University, a group of us would spend at least one evening in the week watching movies. We would trek over to Blockbuster (at the time there was only one express store, the other side of the city) in Ollie’s Honda. We watched a range of movies on DVD, but mainly American teen films. She’s All That was one of those movies, and I really thought it would be the best way to end, a damp squib of a weekend. I am writing this a few minutes after the movie has ended and have a tinkling feel good feeling inside. Perhaps as a strong alpha male, I should not freely admit this publicly only my web site. There were parts of the movie that had me in stitches, almost on the floor with laughter. Dulé Hill playing the token black guy, Preston had some great one liners but his role was watered down. Paul Walker (whom I greatly admire in his more recent work) plays the typical sleazy jock. I suppose I am just a sucker for these types of movies now, even at the age of 24, when I should technically be falling out of the demographic audience. The High School and American teen culture, in general has so much appeal to me and although the movie centers on what is in essence a popularity contest, on another level it is really about finding the real person inside? Am I looking too deep into this? Although of course, I don’t believe anyone in my secondary school class from 1998 (a year before this movie’s release) could bust some sleek moves on the dance floor to the sounds of Fat Boy Slim – Funk Soul Brother. Perhaps strange things happened when you have Usher, as your campus DJ.

An absolutely vintage episode of Eastenders this evening. I must say, I was on the floor with laughter through most parts of the BBC soap. I think I will need to capture some images from the repeat on Sunday afternoon and post either some images or more likely the audio. Anyone for some of you not obsessed with the show, you must know what happened. I make a point of rarely visiting the official site over at the Beeb, but must let you read the episode synopsis. ‘Yolande’s lack of car sales experience shows when she loses a sale;’ is an understatement. The potential punter asks, how many miles it does and then when not getting the answer he was hoping for, asks again, “mpg”. The reply is “only cassette radio, nothing fancy…”. Then, knowing he was speaking to a complete buffoon with no knowledge of cars, he asked if the flux capacitor was working correctly. Mrs. Trueman then said she would make sure it “was checked out..”. Classic. I was in fits of laughter. This segment combined with a collection of other scenes and the introduction of the new doctor in rather comical circumstances made for a highly entertaining episode. Sure most people that do not watch the show say it is depressing, constantly gloomy, and the sky is always dull grey. Tonight’s episode was living proof that not every visit to Albert Square is full of doom.

When will Stelios finally throw in the towel? Dave over on The Daily Blog takes up the story. Personally I have no problem with the professional footballer endorsements (I think their lawyers have advised them to not state David Beckham on the Easy4men dot com web site, perhaps because it has some strange
mixed sexual connotations and easymen dot com was perhaps far too risqué). Come on, it can’t be that difficult. When you wake up in the morning do you want to be thinking of the Greek entrepreneur or aspiring to be DB as seen in this commericial from a few years ago. Or just read my entry from Sunday 20th June 2004.

Wednesday 30th November 2005

The reason I watch Eastenders is for episodes like the past week. Sure, the griping, gritty storylines keep me on the edge of the sofa, but it is the comedy value of the soap opera that actually keeps me hooked. Last Tuesday’s episode is a case in point. The introduction of Honey, the so called, Honey Trap, who mistakes Billy for Patrick Trueman. This theme continued when Billy (now managing Honey) hires a Welsh photographer to take some photographs for a new portfolio. Only for the man with the lens to decide upon a location shoot. I never thought I would hear the name of Nick Kamen mentioned before Pauline Fowler, but you soon learn that nothing can surprise you in Albert Square.

Am I a geek? Apparently based on the test over at Inner Geek. This link came around via e-mail from one of my colleagues in the office, giving their own personal score. Not having the time on Monday afternoon to answer the hundred odd questions with the time and patience they required. My initial attempt scored me a low 7.5% but afterwards, another college told me there were at least another ten questions that applied to me in their totality. So I had to come home and concentrate. I am 21.49901% geek. If you are wondering what a geek is, over at Wikipedia they get it just right, with the perfect image occupying the definition.

Watching my beloved Arsenal is an honour these days, particularly as it is the last season at fortress Highbury. Of course I wish I could have been to the big grudge matches, the title deciders or big knock out rounds of the FA Cup, but instead I had the joy of watching the youngsters in the League Cup. My journey began, where most begin, with me hard at work in the office. Originally I had aimed to leave the office at 4pm to make good time for the train to North London. On the advice of my manager, I was given leave of the office at 3pm. Fantastic. Although, in reality, I knew I would be pushing it to escape the clutches of the helpdesk at this time in the afternoon. As expected just after 2pm, I got involved (heavily) in a call, which would last for over an hour. Thankfully, thinking on my feet I was able to resolve the issue (more on this subject over on my other blog) In any case, I left the office for the first time since mid September with light outside. Heading home, I looked at my watch and knew within a couple of hours I would be at the home of my club, cheering on the players to another victory. The delay of having to stay an extra twenty minutes slowly disappeared away behind me as I sped up the by pass for home.

My Arsenal top is only worn when the team are playing on TV (yes, it’s a mild obsession!) so this there was a special feeling inside, as I put on the redcurrant and gold for a trip, sorry pilgrimage to a spiritual home. I called up Pete and he was on his way down to pick me up. Due to circumstance beyond our control, we headed for Beaconsfield Station, rather than Wycombe. Not only had it caught fire on Sunday evening, earlier in the month, it had been labeled a crime spot. No smoke without fire (literally, in this case!) By now trains were calling at my hometown station, but I did not want to take any risks so headed down the M40 making excellent time, just prior to the Tuesday evening rush hour. Ten to five, we were both on the quiet but warm Chiltern Railways service to Marylebone.

As the seasoned traveler, I led the way once we made our way from over ground to Underground. There was perhaps another route, but I choice to go on the Bakeloo Line from Marylebone to Piccadilly Circus to change for the Piccadilly Line all the way to not Arsenal (as would have normally been the case) but one stop along, Finsbury Park. We were not alone, a hoard of other (mainly home) fans. A businessman in a well kept suit and strong Eastern Europe accent, as Pete who Arsenal were playing. Proudly he stated Reading in the Carling Cup. Calling his Reading mates on the phone, we discovered they were in a pub right near the ground and were quite some distance off. So we headed into the Twelve Pins as it was the closest drinking establishment and we were thirsty. Thankfully, there were your fair share of Reading supporters mingling on quite friendly terms with the Highbury faithful. Then it was time to walk down to the ground, grab some food before taking our seats in the West stand. Rather than give a review of the game, I’ll leave it down to the professionals. Even, Pete, the Reading season ticket holder thought this was a great balanced match report. A great atmosphere in Highbury and a different, perhaps more rounded view of the game from the West stand. This could be the last time I see my team live, while I try not to think too much about that, it is always at the back of my mind. Let us instead take the positives from the performance. Reyes back to scoring ways, as he promised in the match programme the last time I was here, on October 2nd, “the goals will come…”. Van Persie continued his great form, and Lupoli, who has been knocking on the door for the past few months and scoring goals for fun in the reserves, came on, to calmly put one around the keeper after a minute on the pitch. Fantastic. There is something about the ecstasy of a football match, which is difficult to describe. For 90 minutes you are only concerned about twelve players on the field. Strange really how much emotion can be created by a simple ball hitting the back of a net. Of course, the purists among you would say that there is a lot more to it than that.

Friday 4th November 2005

Winter nights, for as long as I can remember have meant European football on the TV and eating ice cream. Rather a strange combination, I admit but it has become part of the football fortnight in my household. Champions League is the elite club competition in the world, with some of the greatest players in the world, taking part in the most exciting knock out competition ever seen. Both Tuesday and Wednesday night saw mixed fortunes for English clubs in the competition. I, of course was only interested in the mighty Arsenal, hoping to keep alive their 100% record in the competition and book our place into the last 16. From the kick off, you knew the night belonged to the Gooners. Even if at times, there were some nervous moments. Particularly in the second half. Yet, Henry and Van Persie (what else does this youngster need to do to get a start?) got the goals in a professional workman like performance. Reyes looked lively out on the left and was back to his best. Hopefully he will be able gain in confident, with a decent run out in his favoured position. Hopefully the next few EPL games (I’ve been speaking to Daniel too often to start using his English Premier League abbreviation) will see an improved run of our form (particularly on the road) as we begin to make up some ground on Chelsea.

Yesterday was a good day for me. Thursdays tend to go either way. Sometimes they are dull, boring, hectic and uncomfortable and you long for the moment to get into the car and drive home. Yesterday was different, I took the day by the scruff of the neck and get things done. There is always something satisfying to achieve your goals, no matter how little. In my dreams I live the life of someone else. The sun always shines and the sky is bright blue. Then, when I wake up I find myself sitting in my car, in traffic, heading for another day in the office. The only reminder of my daydream, is the pure pop playing on the stereo. What I must learn to do is not tempt fate. Even during my good moods (which are few and far between) I must keep focus on the things that really matter.

It takes a blog (of all things) to capture the mood of the nation. The return of the Mitchell Brothers was minor news in my household, as we are hardcore Eastenders fans. Yet, sometimes you wonder how reality mimics art, away from the spotlight of Albert Square. Is this purely extra publicity for the show, or are the successful women behind hard men, coming back to do some harm? People constantly wonder why I am glued to this soap and why I have been this way for several years. Sure, I would agree that some of the storylines have not been gripping over the past few years, but that is not the reason I watch. There are actually two reasons I watch (both kindly interconnected). Firstly the whole soap puts my own life into relief. Things are never as bad for me as they are over in Walford. Secondly, I enjoy watching losers (or as Stacey Slater put it this week, ‘waster’) such as Gary Hobbs and Ian Beale. They are highly entertaining and such a joke. Then you realise that they do truly exist and at times, may feature in your own life.

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