Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Today is Shrove Tuesday, one of the few Christian religious festivals still upheld in the 21st Century.

I am in favour of following quirky British traditions such as that one where loads of blokes congregate in a village to play football (a giant free for all, in essence) or decide to throw themselves down a hill, fracturing several bones apiece in the process. Or, if you are American, that thing with the groundhog.

In Britain, Shrove Tuesday is known among children as Pancake Day. Or, on a personal note, as a child it was known as a day when I had to walk around on eggshells (often literally). Frying pancakes might seem relatively easy for most people, but not my mother. She is from a long line of women who can't cook (and I am loyally upholding this particular tradition). She also had a tendency to have really BLACK moods. One year I remember my father emerging from the kitchen, saying in hushed tones "don't say anything to your mother about the pancakes. It's all gone wrong. Just eat it all up or she'll go MAD". She stormed into the room with dishes full of what looked like burnt scrambled egg, which I then had to force myself to eat as she stormed out again to do the washing up, with lots of clattering sounds emanating from the kitchen. I think she sulked silently for two days afterwards (not a personal best record for her. Once she managed to give me the silent treatment for a fortnight but that's another story).

Anyway, Shrove Tuesday is also the day that the religious fasting/feasting tradition is upheld. It is officially the day that women give up the diets they started after the Christmas period.

Thank God. In offices up and down the country women have been rattling on about how they only lost half a pound at Weightwatchers last night and it's really difficult after the first couple of weeks. Oh, and those women who have almost pornographic conversations about how they prepared spaghetti with steamed haddock and no sauce last night and IT WAS REALLY DELICIOUS (yeah, right). They are Girls With A One Track Mind, and like the blogger of the same name, like to describe what they put in their mouths in great detail ...

Oh, and they are really really going to get into That Pair Of Jeans! Come on love! They are snow washed three quarter length jeans with a high waist, a side fastening and little zips on the legs! You haven't worn them since Jimmy The Hoover were in the charts and you used to use Rimmel's Coral In Gold lipstick and me and my sullen indie mates bitchily called you Sharon White Shoe behind your back!

Anyway, a lot of men find Dawn French very attractive!!! Apparently.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


I really don't care that much about what I post, and just fling out any old rubbish with little forethought. I'm glad I'm not one of those bloggers who sits there worrying about whether or not people like me and whether or not what I write is crap (which it IS of course).

Therefore, a post I thought of about 4 minutes ago, and which is completely uninspired.

THE WORST THINGS IN THE WORLD, "AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME" (as Glen Hoddle is often fond of saying)

1. The telly advert for Branston beans.

A tin of beans with an annoying speech impediment dances round to an approximation of Hot Chocolate's You Sexy Thing while a woman eating lunch looks on with a winsome smile, as if his antics are adorable. God, you're easily amused darlin'. Anyway, the tin of beans is a right little c*nt, especially when he starts licking his lips in a way that borders on the obscene. According to the re-written lyrics of the song Branston has reached its pinnacle.

Off to the scrap metal yard to be crushed down to the size of a ball bearing for YOU mate.

2. Tyrone Dobbs off of Coronation Street.

Slack jawed. Hirsute. Barely evolved from the lower apes. Dropped onions on the floor of his fast food van and then put them into a deep fat fryer. Possibly the least sexually desirable human being on the planet.

3. The baby ahead of me in the queue in Sainsbury's this morning.

I know that I don't have any maternal instinct, unlike 99.9999999999994% of women (indeed, the internet seems depressingly full of women bloggers who think that toddlers and pictures of toddlers are absolutely heavenly). Anyone who has read anything I've written here before will realise that I'm a coldhearted witch but COME ON. There really are few things worse than a screeching rugrat in a supermarket. This one was particularly pink faced and ugly, resembling the actor Phil Davis. So did its mother. It kept going WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH and grew progressively redder and redder.

I moved to another queue.

4. R.I.P. Little Dog's Day, which is to be deleted within the next month. Meanwhile, unreadable cack like this flourishes everywhere.



* * * * *

Enjoy your Sunday roast tomorrow.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


stick your blue flag up your arseYou know, I really am a *people person* and in my increasingly rare trips out into the real world I really love to *people watch*. Hey! Real people are so INTERESTING aren't they? Obviously not creative dynamic types like us bloggers, but fascinating nonetheless.

Anyway, last night I was in a humble curry house and was doing a spot of *people watching*.

The couple at the next table had two daughters who were "texxing" for the entire time they were there. Now, in my youth my bloody parents would have swiped the bloody phone out of my hands after five minutes and probably confiscated the bloody thing if I had behaved in this manner. However, mobile phones had not been invented then (indeed, there was no means of communication except the carrier pigeon during my childhood. This is why people of my generation are stoic, quiet and uncomplaining).

At the opposite end of the room a conversation was going on between a waiter and three people who must have been regulars about childbirth, and how awful it is. One of the women made the often heard observation that "if men had to have children, there'd only be one child in every family". Well the reason I'm an only child is that my mother found childbirth excruciatingly painful. Perhaps she was too much of a WUSS to be a real woman, but I was very grateful not to have any horrible brothers and sisters to have ongoing fractious relationships with anyway.

Another waiter came to the table and a conversation ensued about football. How has Chelsea FC, the wealthiest club in Britain, owned by multi millionaire oligarch Roman Abramovich, allowed its pitch to turn into a mudbath (see photo of the Stamford Bridge ground above)? Was it, as Barcelona players have suggested, a deliberate ploy to put them off in their recent Champions League match against the Spanish team?

Chicken madras, since you asked. I really will have to make a few more trips out into the real world. People are so colourful, aren't they?

Saturday, February 18, 2006


A survey of other posts in the past few days suggests a number of disgruntled people who got through Valentine's Day with a scowl, whether they be single or spoken for. This is not surprising. It really is cack, basically. "Oh, I know for the other 364 days of the year I ignore you/sit there watching Sky Sports in my rank underpants/go out drinking with my mates/take it for granted that you wash my rank underpants/never listen to anything you say but expect you to listen to all my problems/grumble about having to do the washing up every once in a blue moon/grunt about once every fortnight by way of conversation etc etc etc BUT I'VE BOUGHT YOU A CARD AND WE'RE GOING OUT FOR AN ITALIAN MEAL SO IT EXPRESSES WOT I CAN'T PUT INTO WORDS THE REST OF THE TIME!!!"

Anyway, GMTV chose to mark the occasion by showing 50 couples renewing their wedding vows at Blenheim Palace, which was even worse. It's bad enough having to get married the first time round. I suppose I can understand someone wanting to renew their wedding vows if they are in the final stages of a terminal illness but as far as I know there were no brides attached to a drip carried into Blenheim Palace on stretchers, so there were no excuses really.

I was probably put off the idea of a white wedding from an early age. It's not just a case of my lacking the gurrlly gurrlly gene that leads to otherwise sane women wanting to wear something floaty and pastel and have aunties who you've not seen for years crying and telling them how beautiful they look (the lying cows).

No, from an early age I remember seeing the pictures of married couples in local papers, and it terrified me.

The married couples pictured in local papers always looked like extras from the film Freaks. Lanky 7 stone grooms were paired with 3 foot, 19 stone women. The prematurely bald, the apparently toothless, the completely chinless, the one eyed, the cross eyed, the carbuncled, all encased in morning suits and several yards of curtain netting. How can these people have such monstrous egos? Why would they would think everyone would admire them?

So renewing wedding vows when the glow of youth has disappeared is an unwise choice.

Oh, and who wants to know how happy and loved up someone is? Hearing it from a friend (especially if you're single) is awful. Personal relationships are exactly that: I don't want to hear the graphic details of your ongoing haemorrhoid problem, and I don't want to know if you're really happppeeee with your partner and you have met your soulmate and "there is someone out there for everyone, even YOU". Keep it to yourself you big drip.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


I'm singing the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order
On Saturday morning, all the birds round our way seemed to have reached the conclusion that spring is underway. Most were proclaiming their territory ( or "showing off" in layman's terms).

There was a great tit riffing with its usual "rusty bicycle wheel" refrain, then surprising me by doing a bit of improvisation in the Eric Morecambe style ( hover thumbnail thing over the picture). A sparrow was chirruping away. In Robert Burton's Birdfeeder Handbook there is a picture caption which says "a male (sparrow) chirps monotonously to try to attract a mate". Why not? After all, it seems to have worked for Preston from the Ordinary Boys.

Amidst all this the local robin was twittering away with its usual adorable, coquettish warble (the birdsong equivalent of someone tickling the nape of your neck). Unfortunately, it can only be a matter of weeks before it is drowned out by the louder, overrated blackbird, whose song starts out promisingly enough with a few flutey notes but descends into a feeble, jazzy atonal squal, as if the singer couldn't be arsed to see it through to the end. Then the flutey notes resume, then the jazzy squal, repeat into tedium. The blackbird reaches the height of its vocal prowess by midsummer, when it refuses to shut up from around 3.00 am to about 10.00 at night while the missus has her work cut out trying to feed nestlings. Bloody men.

Describing birdsong is very difficult, although it has not deterred nature lovers for many centuries. The yellowhammer is said to be asking for "a-little-bit-of-bread-with-no-cheese-please" which is complete bollocks. I mean, would you go into a sandwich shop and ask for "a-little-bit-of-roll-with-no-ham-please"? You'd be laughed out of the place.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I have been getting confused by the arguments for and against professional bloggers, basically because I'm not even sure what the term means. At any rate, visitors to this site will instantly realise that I am in the realm of the rank amateurs (or "wank amateurs" as littlemark out of Take That would have it).

Still, I'm from quite a common background, and our sort tends to cast aside our principles at the first whiff of money. So I am proud to announce that in future Betty's Utility Room is joining the ranks of the professional bloggers and will be sponsored by the following establishments:

* Amazin' Glazin (for all your window-related needs) of Aldridge, West Midlands.
* Herr Flix Unisex Hair Design - The Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent.
* Cheryl-Marie's Beauty Parlour (With A Tanning Room In The Lean-To) - The High Street, Church Stretton, Shropshire.

You will all have noticed the fancy new graphics that accompany the blog, and it's all thanks to the financial aid provided by these kind businesses! I will be doing my best to get higher stat returns!

OUT goes grumbling, swearing, references to dreary 1970's sitcoms and being horrible about Jono Coleman!

IN comes advice to get new windows fitted, that you have a sac and crack wax if you want to have a shouting chance with the laydeez, or suggestions that a vegetable rinse could really boost the condition of your hair. Oh, and there will be loads of gurlly posts about handbags, babies' names, how Teri Hatcher is too thin and the cute but funny things that little kiddies say. Oh, and of course I'll be involving YOU the reader much more - by asking you to leave your comments on stuff like the most embarrassing thing that happened to you on a first date!

There's a great future ahead of us and I can feel a warm glow all over! Still, you don't want to know about my problems.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


... by request, and because I like to be the last and worst to get on any bandwagon.

Oh, and I'm peeved that there aren't any swear words in it.

Monday, February 06, 2006


The good thing about blogging is that I don't have to look any of you in the eye when I admit something I'm quite ashamed of.

So here goes. My name is ****, I'm 42 years old and I love the Arctic Monkeys.

I love the Arctic Monkeys because, pathetically, their music reminds me of being in my mid-teens. According to a review I've read they are the most cynically manipulative band ever, using the internet to promote themselves so that their fans can feel that they are are a genuinely underground band that has come up from the grass roots and bypassed the usual record industry promotional tedium, then denying they have ever done this in interviews.

This is all probably true because the first time I encountered them was a showing of the video of the single I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor on MTV2 a month or so before it was released. It appeared to be archive footage from the Old Grey Whistle Test (more specifically, the band had the scruffy anonymity of Talking Heads performing Psychokiller on the Old Grey Whistle Test, except that the bass player had bigger tits than Tina Weymouth, ho ho ho). I was obviously supposed to feel waves of nostalgia wash over me. I'm not that daft. Still, at least it wasn't the far more unpleasant memory of the Police on Rock Goes To College ...

There is a great bit at the beginning of the video where the singer announces "We're Arctic Monkeys, this is I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, don't believe theee 'ipe", then a few seconds where the drummer counts in and then this torrent of NOISE and energy. Over and out in under 3 minutes, of course. This reminded me of being around 15 and loving "Nobody's Scared" by Subway Sect, or "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" by the Adverts, where it sounded as if the world was going to end in 120 seconds. Anyway, it was my favourite single of 2005, not that anybody cares about these things in the real world.

Clearly I have been taken in by the ruthless cynical marketing force behind the Arctic Monkeys, who want the band to appeal to a "wider demographic" than a few fickle students (i.e., creaky old gits who remember watching Whistle Test in 1978 and want to forget that they are creaky old gits). It appears to have worked, as the album was apparently selling the same amount as the rest of the top 30 combined at one point. Considering that the other top 30 album artistes are towering talents like Jack Johnson, Simon Webbe, KT Tunstall and our old mucker James Blunt, there is something childishly and pointlessly thrilling about this.

I really couldn't care less about the hype, the cynical marketing, the fact that of course the album isn't THAT great, or that they aren't remotely innovative or experimental .

Actually, the album isn't THAT great, but some high points are emerging on repeated listens:

The song Fake Tales Of San Francisco.
The way that a lot of times you can't tell when one track finishes and another one begins.
The words to A Certain Romance.
The record sleeve.
The mangled guitar sound which is often like a couple of roosters having a drunken barnyard fight.

I don't care if the Arctic Monkeys follow the usual band trajectory of wasting their money, never bringing out a decent record again, having cocaine addiction problems and ditching their nice girlfriends for pushy glamour models from Hollywood. Just for the moment, in February 2006, you SHOULD believe theee 'ipe.

Right, now I've got that out of my system I can hopefully reach some sort of closure.

(...zero) comments

Friday, February 03, 2006


Much has been said all over the place about the forthcoming Bloggies awards, but I am puzzled to see that last week's British Blog Awards Ceremony in London's bustling West End merited barely a mention in the national press (after all, blogging is the new journalism, as you keep reading everywhere) and almost nothing was said in any of the blogs that I've read, despite the opportunities for bitchiness and backbiting. Shame on you!

I mean, all the superstars of blogging were there.

As were Myleeene Klaaaaass, Dean Gaffney, Richard Stilgoe, Shakin' Stevens (aka The Welsh Elvis), Jodie Marsh, Jodie Kidd, Dick 'n' Dom, Giles Brandreth, Sir Lenny Henry, Sir Dawn French, Lord Ben Elton, Tamara Beckwith, Dwight Yorke, Sir Lord Richard Curtis, Helena Bonham Carter, Alison Moyet, Vanessa Redgrave, Jeremy Fucking Clarkson, Richard and Judy, Sir Bobby Robson, Oliver Letwin, Kenneth McKellar, Sir Ian McKellen, Ian McShane, Natasha Kaplinsky, Julian Lloyd Webber, Stan Collimore, Carol Vordeman (needless to say) and Chesney off Coronation Street.

Phew! Talk about a night of a thousand stars!

From what little I've been able to gather about the event, I've managed to cobble together some of the highlights:

* That Scary Duck bloke turned up dressed as a duck. Talk about being a self-publicist!

* GMTV's Jaki Brambles made some catty remarks about Girl With A One Track Mind's frock.

* Jonny B dedicated his gong to his newborn child and started blubbing, the big milksop.

* "There goes Petite Anglaise in the Valentino gown - very elegant" said Jaki Brambles

* That bloke from Random Acts Of Reality turned up in an ambulance! "That will be handy if it all goes pear shaped at the after-ceremony party" quipped Jaki Brambles.

Sorry, that's all I can find. Any other information gratefully accepted.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I see that the Notorious B.I.G. (also known as Biggie Smalls) has reached number one in the hit parade despite not being alive. The song is some sort of sexist claptrap in which he is accompanied by "PIE" Diddy, the very shortsighted former boyfriend of Jennifer "Trini" Lopez.

With reference to the Notorious B.I.G., I know it is wrong to speak ill of the dead but, face it, the big sweaty oaf appeared to have a terrible adenoid problem. Couldn't he have had an operation? I bet he was one of those people who had the awful habit of breathing noisily through their mouth while being permanently slack-jawed. I would also hazard a guess that his snoring sounded like a wounded water buffalo (see illustration) submerged in a vat of hot mud. To be honest, I think his killer was an irate neighbour who was awoken by this terrible racket night after night and COULDN'T TAKE IT ANY MORE.

Oh yes, where was I?

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