Monday, 18 March 2013

Music Monday: Famous Faces

Music videos are incredibly important to the sales of songs, the drive to get them talked about is presumably pretty damn huge, so how do you do that? Kick ass dance routines? Special effects? A theme like the Beastie Boys classic 'Sabotage'; set in a seventies cop show? Well sometimes all it takes it a famous face to make the video stand out and perhaps some good old fashioned simplicity.

This week I'm focusing on the music video rather than the song (though I do like or love all of the songs featured) and what makes them special or stand out.

Lets get started.

I Want Love by Elton John

Robert Downey Jnr is well known for his heady mix of incredible talent, good looks and personal problems. Here's a guy with the world at his feet, an actor that stands above most of the others in his generation and yet  was crippled professionally for years by his addiction to drugs and booze. So often we see these brilliant stars burn out before the media's lens and then tributes are paid to them without anyone leaping up and shouting 'WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU WASTE YOUR LIFE FOR!'

Downey Jnr is a special camper because he came back from the edge. He was stunning in Chaplin, showed so much promise and had the world at his feet and then it all went tits up. But he's a survivor. He came back slowly and when Marvel hired him for Iron Man to play Tony Stark it was considered a risk. 'What if he falls off the wagon', was the terrifying thought. He didn't. The dude is going from strength to strength again and realistically has to be seen as one of the most bankable names out there now.

Here he is, in an Elton John video, simply walking around an empty mansion. Perhaps some people wouldn't be able to pull it off but he can. His troubled past adds an intensity and power to the song, the simplicity of the video allows them to focus on him and it creates a memorable fusion of storytelling and reality that touches.

Weapon Of Choice By Fatboy Slim

Norman Cook and Christopher Walken don't really go in the same sentence normally but here? Well its strawberries and Cream, Politics and lies, Fashion and child labour. These two fit for these brief few minutes so well that I could not imagine anyone other than the dancing, flying Walken doing his thing. Its perfect.

Christopher Walken? An amazing actor, a brilliant smile, a terrifying stare, and he wanted to be a celebrity chef in the seventies and eighties. That's a fucked up thought right there. Can you imagine him beavering around the kitchen telling us about Lemon Drizzle cake or how he likes to get all those flavours together? It would either be real sexy or really scary. No middle ground there.

For the record I'd be shitting myself.

Anyway, Walken is so light on his feet, so emotive, so expressive that when he comes alive to dance it lifts me right out of any grump and makes me wanna Kevin Bacon it round the house, by that I don't mean get shot in the back with an arrow or molest Brad Pitt, nope, I JUST WANNA DANCE!

Feel by Robbie Williams

Rob gets a bit of flack but for me he is the king of Brit Pop and a true modern super star. Yes, I have most of the albums, yes, I know most of the words, yes I have seen him live and yes, he was fucking amazing.

In this we get Daryl Hannah as the love interest. She's obviously very attractive but what's great here is she is the older woman, the temptress, and I think she has real depth and character. There is something going on behind those eyes, thoughts and feelings, a whole story being told and yes, we are getting just a snap shot, but there is more. Much More.

I love the black and white, Rob looks cool, takes the piss out of himself far less in this one but still keeps his self depreciating humour in the running and the song is fabulous.

For me Hannah was hired for more than those stunning looks; she's there to bring depth and convey the feeling of the song. She does a brilliant job.

Lover Of The Light by Mumford & Sons

I love Mumfie! Huge fan! For me they are one of the best main stream things out there right now with their big  poppy folk sound. Both albums are brilliant and the singles are great but the whole album backs up those singles. Well constructed, catchy, not too pretentious but certainly somewhere along that line. Love it.

This video stars Idris Elba, the dude is one mighty fine actor. He has that real star quality; the man has presence.

I'm not as familiar with this video as the others but it does stand out and once seen stays with you I think. It's got a joy and an adventure about it that is simple, clean, heart warming. A blind man boldly heading out into the world, running, seeking the light, the love the world has to offer. His all consuming joy at the wind in his face, his fear of the steps, his journey one of danger and delight, filled with simply discovering the sensations of life.

Yeah, I have no idea what the hell I'm on about either ;-)

And finally...

Lego House by Ed Sheeran

Now this is interesting. It's not just that it stars a post Harry Potter Rupert Grint or that he isn't playing someone that's the hero; it's that he shows a presence here, a depth, an intensity that perhaps is missing from the teenage Ron Weasley. Perhaps that is because the Potter books were for children and the films for fans of those books. In this he brings an uncomfortable creepiness to that fits perfectly.

I really like the song but I think it does Grint more favours than Sheeran as he gets to flex his muscles for a few minutes and create a character that goes to some awkward places, shows the years of experience he has on him now and personally I think this is the guy to watch from the Potters. Yes Emma Watson is without doubt brilliant and Radcliff is making his mark but both Watson and Radcliff have incredibly clean and distinctive looks, I think Grint is going to be the character actor and the one that shines through.

Give him a few years though yeah?

That's it for this week. We will have more fun and frolics next week.

Thanks for reading and listening, hope you liked the pics.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Still Having Fun In The Snow (Hurry up spring!)

 Snowing, again! So here are some pics to show we can still have fun in the white stuff and cold, even if this does feel like the longest winter ever.
Ah, us wandering through the snow. It's been a familiar feeling this year.
 As has the amounts of snow falling; not quite enough to have huge amounts of fun with but not so small that you look out and think it'll be gone in five minutes.

 Oh, yeah! Obligatory staged fight in the snow pic (I really need to do better as this shit really).

All standing, snow falling, luckily I stopped taking pics as Shaking Stevens turned up singing and we had to brake it to him it's fucking March.

He looked down about man, really down.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Random Crap Time

So I have plenty of thoughts banging around in the near empty space between my ears and so thought I'd dump some of it here. That is after all why its here right?

Fucked if I know.


 I fucking hate labels, no, not the ones that are glued onto tins of beans and let us know where the fuck our food is actually coming from, not those ones! (They lie anyway so I kind of hate them too, but that's a subject for a different day) No, the ones I hate are the ones attached to people. You may go 'yeah, right on,' but wait, hold on, I mean all fucking labels, not just the negative ones. I mean all labels.

Stay with me.

I mean the ones that say Black, white, gay, straight, bi, mad, liberal, Stupid, difficult and a hundred more, I see the need for them but I think they are divisive in most circumstances. They tell us what group we fall into; breeding exclusivity, they tell us that we are different, in separate tribes, and yes, we are, but we are also part of this incredible collective known as humanity and that club takes all, doesn't mater if tab A goes into slot B or C, doesn't mater if you limp or wheel, run or swim, if you northern or southern hemisphere, have tits or a a cock or are somewhere in between; we are all still human!

I know it's petty and silly to say I wish we could be rid of these labels and excuses that land hard in our genetic imperative to look over at the person next to us and want to punch them but it does also play into the right part of our past that tells us to stand together, protect the tribe, prosper as a collective!

I would never ever be able to say this in person without coming across as a total arsehole when someone says, 'hi, this is Jeff, he's gay,' and my reaction internally is to immediately say 'who gives a fuck what he does to who, when, so long as he has their consent and he's a good human being'....

So I said it here instead.

It's probably just me but I will always despise defining labels; you are more than just a classification! You're fucking amazing!


Racists are fucking stupid. It's not hard to look at someone and see they are different and yet we are so fucking alike that a slightly different bone structure or pigmentation is so minor that you actually would have to work hard to see that as a reason to hate someone; so basically racists are searching for reasons to hate.


The other thing that drives me crazy is the idea that Racism is a white on any other colour thing, no it's not, it's an irrational hatred of someone because of their colour, namely the fact that it differs from your own. I come from London, a pretty crappy part of it to and I can tell you getting punched for being a different colour to the guy with the fist and his ten mates? That's not a white exclusive thing dude. It's a thing that happens to people that find themselves standing before a racist.

Now I also know that standing WITH people is far better than standing against them and through education and the promotion of similarity and commonality comes a greater chance of decreasing the percentage of racist people. You'll never stamp it out because it comes into that weird tribal part of our past that tells us to dislike those that are not like us, but if you can decrease it enough that it becomes very rare, then that's got to be better than it is now.

Let's look at racism for what it is, fear of people that don't look like you. Teach those people to look for the human and not the colour and we can move forward, but you need to target all the youths, show them all their common bonds, teach everyone.


If people are confused on this issue then I'm stunned but lets just clarify shall we; nothing will ever make rape acceptable or an 'accident.' You didn't get 'carried away' and saying 'I thought she/he was up for it' isn't some sort of defence.

If you rape someone you are a cunt. Simple.

I know how I'd decrease the re-offending problem but the fact that people commit this crime in the first place is simply beyond comprehension. They know it's wrong, there is no way of not knowing, so there could never be any defence for that crime.


It's sad to see a young person acting like a cock, but let's face it, as teens we were probably a pain in the fucking arse, so this kid has got access to millions of people to be a prick to, it's sad but not surprising that he is being a cock.

He'll melt down, flip out and then more than likely work out that he is just another member of the human race, that's best case scenario. Worse case is that he totally flips out, goes proper crazy under the pressure of being watched constantly and has a breakdown and then we are left to sneer at a kid who wanted to sing and make money and simply got too popular for his own good.

He is like every other star that has a chance to shine very, very brightly; sometimes, the burn out comes at them out of nowhere and if they aren't careful? It can extinguish the flame all together. So as much as we love to point and laugh at this ridiculous teen, be aware, not all stories have a happy ending.


This is something I used to hear on building sites all the fucking time - 'I was pissed so I smacked this kiddie and then smashed up a car and the fucking cops came but fuck em right? I was pissed! Wasn't my fucking fault!'

Actually, you useless fucking wanker, it is your fault. You took the drink that makes you act like an aggressive piece of crap and so everything you do after drinking those pints is your fault. Arsehole!

If you knew you were allergic to bananas and they made you vomit and scream, people would take bananas off you every single time they saw you trying to eat one, shouting 'don't be a cock! You know what you're like on bananas!' But as it's alcohol its ok? Nope.

Just as a point of interest, it's not even a legal defence seeing as you willingly took the substance that made you lose control and so therefore are responsible for all your actions while suffering the effects of it. Unless someone spiked your drink, you are culpable for everything you do and say, but what really annoys the fuck out of me is that if people know they are a shitty drunk then why the fuck do they drink?! It's not hard to work out is it?!


All you sensible drinkers out there carry on. You're fine. Its the arseholes that spoil it for everyone else.

and finally


Newsflash! Killing the same character off for the third time isn't dramatic! It's not big! It's not clever! It's a stupid and petty way of getting readers to buy issues as we are expected to follow the 'story' to see how they bring the hero back this time!



Build a character, flesh them out, make them as amazing and human as possible. When you come to the point where you think 'This guy could be killed off', then make sure you have someone to build, flesh out, make amazing and then do something else with them. If I have to sit through another death of Thor, Captain America or that slab loving muppet Batman then I am going to puke!

Make death of character in your universe mean something by controlling it and keeping it to a minimum. If that means you can't find shit to do with your comic book characters then you shouldn't be writing comics.

I'm out of here.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Music Monday : The Cultured One

Five bits of music, a common theme to string them together, that's how we fly. This week we are using the tenuous and slightly simplified theme of 'Orchestral' to bring you the wonder...and wonder you will. I'm not hitting up any gimmicks, not gonna 'Shatner' you, this week we are all about the wonderful.

Lets stop prattling and smash the doors off this weeks selection with something to make your heart sore! A huge piece! A massive sound! Jump on your horse and charge!

CARMINA BURANA composed by Carl Orff

Obviously this has that massive beginning and rises to incredible highs but it also has a quiet, hyper dramatic quality to it as we build to those big moments. Perhaps it's just me that has 'Excalibur' fixed in my head when I hear this, my mind goes to blossom trees casting their petals across a path as Arthur and his knights ride at full gallop towards a waiting Mordred... But I doubt it.

Its a worthy opener to be sure but its also not classical music, this was composed in the thirties I believe and in fact Mr Orff didn't leave the planet till 1982! So this is as twentieth century as The Kinks, the Stones or even Glen Miller. In my brain the two don't mix but they occupied the same time period, so who knows, perhaps they shared a drink and congratulated each other on their incredible achievements or fought a drunken brawl over who should command the most respect musically?

How cool would that be?!


You may have worked out that I have a thing for Mike Oldfield's work, I admit it, I love the dude OK? Good. Anyway, here we have an album that was compared to Holst's The Planets, and I have to agree, it has a modern planets feel. The opening is all strings and is super cool but sadly I couldn't find it on Youtube in the short time allotted, bummer, but as a sacrificial offer I have 'Aurora' instead.

This is gentler, less urgent and lighter in tone, still wonderful but just not quite as ear catching. I love it all the same.


No words can prepare you for this, for the raw emotion of this incredible music. It is a piece so arresting, so emotional I defy you not to feel moved.

Nothing more to be said. Be inspired.


This is crazy, silly, awesome, iconic and so much fun I couldn't possibly not leap up and dance like a Cossack to it! I don't play an instrument but if I did I couldn't see myself keeping up with the pace of this bad boy. It's just amazing, and wonderful and that's what we are all about this week... So Enjoy.

(Make sure nothing is close to you that could be knocked down by flailing arm before you press play; drinks, the t.v remote, one of the kids, some dinner or even Granny)

Finally we have one of my favourite pieces of music of all time. I can listen to this and just get completely lost. To interrupt this is to risk making me all grumpy and once disrupted I have to start from the beginning all over again, that's the way it is!

When you click this you may think 'what the hell? There's nothing going on!' But wait, this is something that takes time to build. I normally turn it up quite loud and let that sound consume me slowly like the creeping shadows of the final hours of the day till I am in darkness, absorbed by its power.

Henryk Gorecki Symphony 3 (Symphony of sorrowful songs)

There are three movements here but this first one blows me away every single time. One of the best ways to spend twenty five minutes you could ever find.

Well I hope you enjoyed that, I know I love each and every single one of these slices of sound. Next week? Who knows? Maybe T.V. theme tunes or Oscar winning songs? It could be the masters of the eighties or a pick from each decade starting with the seventies? If you have a suggestion just let me know.

Thank you for reading and listening.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Oscars Left The Room

We have just had the awards season for films, the marking of the great and good and also those that were deemed good but not great enough to even be nominated. Pre-Christmas you see the hopefuls come skipping out into the light and from that moment they all gallop, all pushing and shouting at each other to get out of the way. They demand great quotes from magazines to slam across the posters and inevitably they are all amazing in some way but with that there is a cynical aspect to their release date and marketing.

These worthy films are biopics and dramas, directed by the great and good staring the best and brightest performing feats of willpower to change their body shapes or delve into the depths of the minds of the famous and controversial. They fix themselves on these important people and moments and they are great films but lets be honest we can all see when Will Smith is making an Oscar run as Ali, or perhaps Hanks is getting stashed on a Island or maybe even Day Lewis is taking on a legendary political figure; they are all chasing 'Oscar'. The films are released in the 'Oscar season' and they are there to thrill, touch and impress but we cannot forget the formula that provides an 'Oscar film'.

The Oscars ignore the Blockbusters, mainly because most of them are simply not in the same league, but there is an obvious bent to ignore those big films for something more worthy, as though entertainment really is something for the less cultured. Look back through each year and there is normally a brilliant summer movie that gets a nod for technical achievements but is dismissed otherwise.  This years was The Avengers, but Inception, Rise Of the Planet of The Apes, The Dark Knight, and many others films get shunned and their directors and actors ignored. So when the 'Oscar season' comes I rejoice because we are about to see those that are worthy and will touch our hearts but when it ends I rejoice because it's back to good old fashioned fun.

Following the 'Oscar season' we see the Hansel and Gretels, the Matrix's, the Saw's, the superheroes, psycho killers, dirty cops and naughty little comedies with mild nudity and sexual content. We witness adventuring, brutality, cavorting, dirty deeds, evil, fighting, gambling, heroism, Imagination unbound by the 'rules', justice, Killing, Love, Money, nocturnal nightmares, obsession, psychics, quickenings, rampaging, seduction, tits and tight torsos, U.F.Os, vampires, wild women, X-Men, yobs and Zealots! We are suddenly blessed with variety; variety of plot, mood, genre, budget, cast and quality.

Of course following the final goodbye of the great and worthy we usher in the shambolic wrecks, the chancers, the ones with plot holes so large you can drive a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier through, but you know what? The rest of the year brings fun, entertainment and joy from an unexpected gem, or something that gets mauled by the press but when you see it you find something that really suits you perfectly.

The fact is the Oscars reward fabulous movies, but basically they may as well be called 'The Dramas' because they reward fabulous dramas, if you are a horror (bar Silence of The Lambs of course), a blockbuster or a comedy then you may as well not exist. So as much as I love to see all the great and worthy films about the noble historical giants or the literary adaptations that hit the lofty highs I'm looking forward to ugly, botched, stupid, throw away pieces of crap. Oh yes I am!

In the coming months I'm going to be in the cinema once every week, each week I'll be running the gauntlet, fighting the good fight and loving every second. Yes, there are some dire weeks ahead, yes I'll be slagging off the utter shite I have to sit through but I will see some beauties, some classic performances, be bolted to my seat and come out of the cinema roaring with laughter.

The difference is that the variety will suddenly return to the cinema and I won't be seeing or selecting films on what other people say I should be seeing, I'll be sailing through the cinema seas on my own power.

I can't fucking wait!      

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Gorillas On The Piss

Beware! This post may contain some disgusting events! You have been warned....*shudders*

It was with great joy that we saw a trip planned on the home education email group to London Zoo.


Right. Breathe. So that was several months ago so it was paid for at the time leaving just the days expenses to cover. The discount was mighty due to the number of us going and the organisers keen book keeping skills and so we really couldn't say no. It was destined for us to go to the Zoo that day, all that really needed to happen was for us to avoid any major fuck ups along the way. Famous last words.

We were due to leave on the Thursday to hit the 'big smoke' so obviously by days end on Monday my lower back was feeling wrecked. No heavy lifting, nothing I could place my finger on but at some point in the day it had gone and there I was, left praying for a minor miracle. Realistically it was probably tension, the first draft of the book was sitting upstairs and my awesome wife was working her way through it with a pen. Not something that is condusive to calm and relaxed Edd's the world over. Sleep, pain killers and a night of very little sleep followed. I woke and yep, you guessed it, still screwed.

Tuesday night brought some of the lads round for gaming, I was more relaxed, though a bit scatterbrained, so I wasn't feeling it too badly, then I got a text from upstairs, an 'I've finished it' text only with many more expletives! It seemed she'd had a strong reaction to the ending.

I was now sweating.

Long story short we were up till two in the morning discussing what she'd read and her thoughts on it. Turns out that I wasn't in trouble but in fact had done good.

I can't describe how happy that made me feel.

Wednesday saw us pack bags, check accounts, squint at maps, check weather reports, make lunches and make lunches with better stuff in it than the first three year old led attempt. All the usual jazz basically. That done we prepared for the morning; for the ZOO!!! At six o clock my alarm went and at six twenty Dot (3) came in for a cuddle, we both got up at six thirty and as she rampaged into her bedroom to get her sister up I took great joy in waking up EVERYBODY ELSE!! Woo hoo! I so enjoyed breaking up their beauty sleep as opposed to them breaking mine, which is the norm.

From Left; Roo, Fluff, Petal, Gorilla, Wig, me and Sauraus.
Out of the house with a slightly stropy teen and five very excited kids was looking to be a stretch but we did it, hit the station, paid for the trip (teen is 16 now so is full price, not something I'd figured into the budget, which was stupid of me) picked up a treaty bag of crisps for everyone and then got our seats. Sadly the train didn't have a full section for us to take over so we had three on one side, sharing their section with a serious looking business woman and three the other side, invading the space of a serious looking elderly gentleman with a impecably kept white beard and a studious look about him. Teen sat elsewhere, looking disinterested, though I would point out he was very positive about the trip when we first booked it so I was counting on him waking up a bit and then snapping out of his self induced funk.

The trip saw Fluff (7) bond with his business woman, revealed to be called 'Llynn' (he introduced himself and they watched the roads we sailed past for car transporters and points of geographical interest) while Dot (3) questioned every move the man opposite her made. This fabulous stranger was studied for long periods of time before he did something unexpected and poured himself a coffee and got out a biscuit.

'What's he doing?' She asked. 'He's having drink Dotty as he is thirsty.' She studies some more.

'Why does he get biscuits?' The man shifted in his seat slightly and smiled apologetically  'Sorry' he said to me quietly and I assured him he was absolutely fine and he seemed cool about having his every move scrutinised by the mini Attenborugh.  'They are his biscuits and he can eat them whenever he wants Dot,' I answered. 'Oh,' came the answer and all was quiet once more.

Eye spy was a complicated affair when Lyynn couldn't guess Wig's spy of C for Civilization. She seemed fine to converse with them but asked for easier 'spy's' Wig hit her with M. It went on for a long time and ended when we all gave up and he informed us that we were all made of Molecules.

Thanks mate.

This is how the train trip continued. We had c for clothes, A for Air and Dot's victim was stared at and at one point told that 'she liked his beard'. Oh yeah, and train seats are fucking murder on lower back injuries by the way. Finally we arrived at Victoria and I was surprised when both Llynn and the bearded stranger told me the kids were charming, incredibly well behaved and hilarious. Thank fuck for that.

We motored into the underground with a buddy system in operation and a clear talk on how not to wander off. Through tunnels and onto trains, off trains and out again into the grey day we went without incident at all. Through Regent's park we went with Dot in her fold up pram, the teen picking up in mood with each foot fall and the day brightening slightly. We stopped to take a pick of us by an old fountain. Whoop!

Outside the Zoo we stood waiting to meet up with the home ed group and it was then I remembered that we didn't know anyone coming and so did that odd looking at people to see if perhaps they were waiting for the same organiser that we were thing. No-one was playing and so I took out my phone and announced I would phone 'Say's name' and see what's going on. Immediately people jumped on the name and we were absorbed into a group of total strangers, all waiting for a stranger to get them into the zoo.

Sometimes life is weird right?

Lovely organiser arrived, checked us all off her list and sent us in! From here on in we were free to run to our own schedule. What could go wrong? As it turns out nothing. The Aquarium captured Dot's interest as did the Reptile house, though she would look in at the snakes as I held her on my hip and say 'Lets go before it wakes up.' She really is fabulously mad.

We were all hungry and I had gone on about having lunch by the Gorillas for the whole week, so off we went. How wrong this thought was.

I advise you now, stop eating as you read.

The Gorilla's were looking bored and sad in their glass sided indoor play area. The kids watched the two Gorillas in attendance for a minute and then moved on. I asked teen to keep an eye on the guys while I stayed and communed with a cousin. As I stared in I could see the only awake Gorilla was in a negative position, its right arm crossed in front of its chest, its tense hand clutching onto the opposite shoulder. Internally I ached for a creature obviously not in a happy place, asking such deep and heady questions as why such a majestic creature could come to be in so soulless a place or what it would take to bring light into this beautiful beasts life.

A very depressed looking Gorilla about to eat Poo
At this point the Gorilla took a nice shit, not only that but it was a terrific dangler. Beside me a group of teenage girls were pulling faces of disgust. I tried to keep my own view even but failed when the gorilla reached under, pulled the crap out of it's arse and rolled it into a ball.

Like Han Solo... I had a bad feeling about this.

Crap in hand I watched as Crap went in the mouth, and gorilla chewed. I took a walk and explained to teen that we may not be able to eat here and then walked back, more poo was making an appearance and yes, once more poo went into the chew box. Oh dear god. The teenage girls were staying and watching this horrifying display as I decided I couldn't watch any more and so we headed for the Flamingos and eat lunch with them instead.

The benches were comfie, lunch sailed down and we were well situated for the toilets though I didn't see clear baby changing facilities and the gents I took Dot in to change her nappy wasn't equipped for such an operation, but still, we made do.

Check out the Halo! This Giraffe could be the next pope.
After lunch we had a time limit of two and a half hours to hit all the animals we wanted to see (not actually punch them of course, that's not cool...unless they are stealing your hat or making fun of you of course). The Lions were, well, they were big, big and apex like in their predatory status. The Tigers were not on display as they were getting used to a new enclosure (bummer), but the penguins, Camels, Bearded Pigs (calm down ladies, beard's are sexy but they are still pigs), African hunting dogs, Giraffes, spiders, and all the other animals were amazing but it was certainly the Giraffes that made a big impact. We walked into their house and bam, we got hit by the sight of a whole lot of Giraffe ass! Dot was stunned and to be honest I was kind of in awe too, they are so big, so weird looking.


It struck me as we wandered around this zoo that it wasn't the place I remembered it being as a child. The size wasn't so over-whelming, the amount of people there nowhere near as choking and the staff far more visible  I interacted with them, chatted with them, smiled and shared a joke with them and they were wonderful people. So what was it? What was missing? Was it the big animals?

These iconic mountains are amazing!
I'll tell you what it was. Nothing. Nothing was missing at all. Sure the big animals were all at the safari parks now; the rhino, elephant and hippo, but the animal that is the zoo has changed. Its certainly more conservation, more about information, about understanding and sharing in the joy of the beasts. It's not about  the big draw animals, its about the experience, as interactive and informative as possible.

There are things that I have issue with. How we can keep something captive is always going to discombobulate me. I see the need for conservation and I see the need for zoo's to act as portals into the minds and hearts of the people. We need people to care for these exotic wonderful creatures so we place them on display and try to make life as comfie as possible for them. It's genuine love but let's not forget that it isn't natural.

Sleeping Ardvarks
The gorilla would normally be nomadic and free, instead it sits, chewing on its own shit, I couldn't tell you why. I came away disgusted and saddened by this creatures plight and though I know we need to have some front and centre so that the people will look and wonder and give their money to help save the rest I couldn't help but wonder why we couldn't just grow the fuck up as a race.

Still...where was I? Oh yes, the gift shop was an easy place to navigate (I may be editing the truth slightly here, but only slightly, on the whole they all behaved well), and off we went for our train home. Heh.

People say that the public are rude and arrogant now but as we travelled the tubes we had two people get up and offer their seats to the kids, both times we thanked them but said we were OK to stand, they conversed with us about where we'd been. One of those noble souls was an older man with his partner and they were travelling to our home town and told us they would save us seats on the train.

People are lovely, look for the lovely people and you'll see them all around you, look for arseholes and all you'll see are arseholes.

Roo at the Zoo
We hit the train, sat down, sadly half an hour later than the lovely older people on the tube so we didn't get to sit with them and chilled all the way home. No fussing, no gripes, more weird 'I spy' and 'if you could wrestle an animal which would you pick?' Games. As I slipped into a brief period of semi conciousness a woman tapped me on the arm and told me she was sorry to disturb me but she really wanted to say how lovely the kids are.

Thank you nice green coated lady, it's well worth being disturbed for a unlooked for compliment. :-)

We returned home, slipped into the chip shop and then headed home. On the sofa my back was throbbing as a t.v show about London Zoo was put on the I-player thing. I watched as it told us that the male Gorilla died  last year at London Zoo leaving the three females lonely and depressed.

Total bummer.

So we had an amazing day, the kids loved their time, loved the animals, loved the trip and loved the really helpful staff at London Zoo. It wasn't packed because we went in winter in term time and it wasn't cheap there but it was really well laid out, really relaxed in attitude and felt for the most part to be a really positive place for all.

Thanks London Zoo! When I win the lottery I will be right back there for the day.