Friday, 24 April 2015

Yes, I'm fat. Yes, I wear a bikini.

Please don't think that this is a 'I'm fat and I'm proud to be fat' type post, I am fat but I am not proud to be fat, I just am, thanks to my love of home cooking and Cava.  In fact, this is written in response to all the #WeAreTheThey posts.

But, yes, when I go on holiday, I wear a bikini on the beach.  I have even been known to go topless on the odd occasion.

And why?  Because I work bloody hard all year, that's why.  I work full time and I study part time so when I go to Spain for my one week holiday abroad each year I make the most of it.

I don't flaunt my fat, I arrange my area (towel down, water, Kindle, iPod and sun cream out of the bag, umbrella up), sit down and then remove my tshirt and shorts.  If I get up to go to the loo or the bar, I put my tshirt and shorts back on.

If I am going to sit around the swimming pool because I fancy a swim (I don't swim in the sea, a fish once touched my leg and I leapt about 6 feet out of the water), I wear a swimsuit as I am quite a vigorous swimmer and only have to worry about one piece, not two.

I am currently trying to lose a few pounds, but that is because I have put weight on and can't get into my holiday clothes and for 1 week a year, I refuse to buy new stuff.

Don't be ashamed by the size you are, but there are ways to act without shoving it in people's faces.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

St George's Day - 23rd April

Although it is frowned upon to celebrate our Saint's day in England other countries actively promote it.

In Catalonia, it is known as La Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George's Day), El dia de la Rosa (The Day of the Rose) or El dia del Llibre (The Day of the Book).

Rather like St Valentine's Day (which we in England are allowed to celebrate), men give red roses to their sweethearts, women give books to theirs, although in more modern times, books are given by either sex.  Roses are now given in different colours which all have different meanings.

As well, as the better know red rose, the blue rose has also become popular, and it is usually given to friends since they symbolise trust. Pink roses are given to thank someone for an important favour.  Purple roses symbolise nobility, femininity and seduction, whilst white roses symbolise purity and innocence.  Yellow roses are a little less common, they symbolise joy and happiness, and so are usually given to teenagers.

All around Barcelona, book and flower stalls pop up overnight and by the end of the day, over 4 millions roses and almost 1 million books will have been sold and gifted onwards.

The national dance of Catalonia, the Sardana, is performed throughout the day in the Pla├ža Sant Jaume and book stores and cafes host readings by authors.

The atmosphere in Barcelona is always great, on this day it is fantastic.

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.

At 5.55pm on the 20th April 1992 I was being dragged through a crowd of 72,000 people in Wembley Stadium to stand 6 rows back from the barrier at my first ever concert.

That concert was the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert - The Concert for AIDS Awareness.

Freddie died on the 24th November 1991 from bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS.  At the BRIT Awards in February of the following year, Brian May and Roger Taylor announced a concert to remember him, the proceeds from the concert would fund the launch of The Mercury Phoenix Trust AIDS charity organisation.

When the tickets finally went on sale, they sold out in less than 3 hours despite no-one knowing who was to be performing, other than the 3 remaining members of Queen.

Our day started at 9am when we drove down to London in a rented minibus.  The rules of the rental contract stated no smoking in the vehicle, and there were stickers everywhere reinforcing this rule.  However rules are meant to be broken, and the cigarette burn caused by a particularly rousing rendition of We Will Rock You was quickly covered up.  With a no smoking sticker.

We arrived just after 11am and joined the queue to park.  A quick trip to the toilets, quicker for the men than the women, as it is everywhere, and we joined the throng outside the stadium.

The sun was beating down, I got quite a sunburn, and the atmosphere was fantastic.  Because of the sheer number of people, there were plenty of Police in evidence but they spent the time wandering round, talking to people. asking where they had come from, how long had they liked Queen, and seemed to be having as good a time as the concert goers.

I arrived back into work the next day to be informed that I had been seen on MTV.  Back in the day if you had been on MTV, you had made it!

Over the entrances, there was a ticker feed ' smoking......'.  I was seeing that in my dreams for days afterwards.

At 4pm we were allowed into the stadium, we were asked to sit down as it was still two more hours to wait.

We were near the back due to the number of entrances being used.

Just before 6pm, we were told to stand up, as a huge cheer went round the stadium, one of the friends I was with just grabbed my hand and ran.  We ended up near the front, leaving the rest of our party near the back, we were not military, so 'leave no man behind' was not relevant.  They had an inflatable pink pig, so if anyone saw that being waved, that was my friends.  

Metallica were first to perform with Enter Sandman and ever since, that is the song to take me back to that fantastic day more than any other.  The only other song that comes close is Def Leppard's Let's Get Rocked.  For some reason Queen's own songs just don't do it, but that is maybe due to all the Conventions I have attended!

As the evening went on, the atmosphere just got more and more charged, more and more fantastic.  Everyone was singing and laughing and hugging each other.

Elizabeth Taylor was there.

Liza Minelli was there.

The only slightly weird moment, was David Bowie reciting the Lord's Prayer.  Not that the Lord's Prayer is weird, it's not, it just wasn't in keeping with the mood of the evening and made everyone slightly uncomfortable.

Yes, that is Baron Haden-Guest, otherwise known as Mr Jamie Lee Curtis performing with Principal Skinner.

The only other less interesting bit for me was Extreme.  I have never really been a fan of Extreme so consequently their set seemed to go on for hours.  But that's just my opinion.

I think the concert finished at around 11pm and we all trudged back to the minibus, elated and exhausted.  Unfortunately as we had all been parked nose-to-tail, we couldn't leave until the people in front had moved and they took an age getting back.

It was the most fantastic day I have ever experienced, nothing else has ever come close.  The Live 8 concert I attended in 2005 didn't compare, partly due to the dire organisation and despite arriving 4 hours before the concert, still managing to miss Paul McCartney.

I don't think we will ever see anything like this again.

And I don't think we should.

Were you there?  What did you think?

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Art - a matter of personal taste.

In the wee small hours I do tend to watch some random things in the hope they will send me back to sleep.  At 2am this morning, I was watching several episodes of a series about auctions and I was amazed at the amounts of money people were willing to pay for things.

A lot of the items featured were paintings and they were selling for millions of pounds.  And I could not see why, other than the name of the artist.  Two of them looked like they had been painted by 5 year olds but turned out to be a Picasso and a Modigliani, I think one of these went for nearly £30million.

I do like looking at paintings, but I like to be able to tell what I am looking at.  I like John Constable paintings, which I know is old fashioned, but then so am I.

In one of the programmes, a vehicle auction was featured.  Now I knew what I was looking at.

But the sums being paid for a fully functioning, and even MOT'd, roadworthy vehicle were tiny compared to those paid for a few blobs of paint on a canvas.

One of the cars was an SS, the company which became Jaguar in the 1940s, and it was beautiful.  And, yes, it went for more money than I will ever see, but it was still just a fraction of the amounts the paintings reached.

This isn't the car, but it is just as beautiful.

If I ever win the lottery, I know where my money would be going.