EDitorial ± 31-Dec-2001

Scenic Snowy Snaps

Overnight snowfall, so did the parental thing, strong-arming the kids (despite CBBC) into some reasonably warm clothes, on with hats and gloves, then out to scrape the ice off the car. All this before my first coffee of the day too.

Quarter of an hour later found us parked in a layby in the vicinity of Freston, the eponymously named village. Cutting down an icy public footpath, past a cold-looking horse and donkey, and up a slope t'other side, there stood a carved wooden sign pointing to Freston Park.

And ahead of us, standing in the snow, was Freston Tower.

Orwell Bridge to the left, Freston Tower to the right

Theo Freston Broom walks his grounds   Overlooking the River Orwell

Careful where you walk

Ella's feet were freezing in her wellies, Rose's nose kept running, and Theo just wanted to run around in the snowy ground. Still, everyone was a lot happier once we were back home with jammy doughnuts and hot chocolate.

Be seeing you in 2002!


EDitorial ± 24-Dec-2001

Not Even A Mouse

Handful of words this week, given the time of year - Christmas! - but a bigger piccy than usual instead.

Hope that you and yours have a jolly time over the next few days, and go easy on the Stones Ginger Wine.

The grounds at Broom Acres

Seasonal greetings from Broom Acres (pictured) and the production team (me) at:

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 17-Dec-2001

Christmas Chainmail 2001

Ho ho ho, and top of the frosty morning to all our friends and relations out there on the World Wide Web! Instead of putting a small personal note in each of your Christmas cards (who's got time to do that?!), I thought it best to pen a few choice words to sum up this year, 2001, for the nuclear family Broom.

Poor Theo had a dreadful start to the year. But he soon recovered, and now, with his spiky hair, bounds around the house chasing his big sisters. With his extensive vocabulary of Bo' (the builder), ho' (very warm) and poo (number twos), plus assorted animal impressions, he's set to write the definitive English novel. Together with his ability to identify any Teletubby, providing it's Laa-Laa, it comes as no surprise that the BBC want to track his development every seven years.

Next up is Rosie, now at the local nursery school. Her hair has grown and grown, and she's not stopped yet. Film studies is her preferred area, be it modern classics (E.T.), experimental animation (Mary Poppins) or nouvelle vague (Matilda). Expressing her ideas through the medium of poster paint or crayon, some of her more avant-garde works are shortly to appear in local galleries. And she was a fantastic bridesmaid back in chilly Easter.

What can one say about Ella? Steady on two wheels, already a virtuoso three-note recorder player, she's set to soon sign schoolgirl terms with Ipswich Town FC. With advanced numerical and spelling skills, her baccalaureate beckons. And she's a bit handy with a biro too, possessing calligraphic talents that outstrip her teacher and her dad. Though I can still type faster.

It's entirely thanks to Gail that we have a fab new kitchen and that the Bluewater shopping centre has remained in business. Worn out most of the time due to the intense demands of my kiddies, she summoned the last of her energy to start a course in pilates. With the same instructor as Delia, no less. A course in building conservation looms next year, if she can stay awake post-7pm.

And little ol' me? Well, my table tennis average has shot up since we were relegated, and I somehow manage to lose the odd game of badminton against an overweight asthmatic friend. I've nurtured an obsession with old postcards of Ipswich through ebay, and know the pros & cons of every coffee shop in town. There's also been a teensy amount of time spent on the computer too.

Be seeing you! Happy Festivus!


EDitorial ± 10-Dec-2001

NME Mine

Confessional: I own the first solo album (on vinyl) by Phil Collins, the name of which I can't bring to mind, and a second-hand copy of Love Over Gold by Dire Straits. Zaphod Beeblebrox's words come to mind:
You guys are so unhip, it's a wonder your bums don't fall off.
Or words to that effect. Then, in my first year at college, something happened. Probably hand-in-hand with tuning in to the immortal John Peel, I began buying the New Musical Express. Tapes I'd taken with me to play in my Saisho, including Sade, Queen & Alison Moyet - the horror! - started to seem a whole lot less cool. Instead, I went out and bought Meat Is Murder by The Smiths, and the terrific Half Man Half Biscuit debut. I'd arrived.

Public NME

Each Thursday I used to jog down to the local newsagent along from the halls of residence, hand over my coins, then head back to peruse the wise words of the NME hacks. It galled me when I found out that it was published on a Wednesday, but didn't reach the sleepy south-west until a day later. Much like buying a copy of yesterday's Times when abroad.

All of this comes flooding back because I bought a copy yesterday, having spotted that they've just published their 50 best records of the past year. Here's the top ten:

  1. The Strokes - Is This It
  2. Spiritualized - Let It Come Down
  3. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
  4. Jay-Z - The Blueprint
  5. Starsailor - Love Is Here
  6. Slipknot - Iowa
  7. Mercury Rev - All Is Dream
  8. Rufus Wainwright - Poses
  9. Andrew WK - I Get Wet
  10. Aphex Twin - Drukqs

Even if I've never heard of it (especially so), I make a point of buying their number one recommendation. Maybe I'm simply putting off growing up by doing this? This year, as it happens, I'd already got it. And if you've not heard The Strokes album, you're missing out. Or you could stick with The Beautiful South, the choice is yours.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 3-Dec-2001

Who Needs A Punchline?

Channel 4 have always had an enviable track record of showcasing new comedy, from the early days of Friday Night Live through Adam & Joe to Trigger Happy TV. On one of their festival highlights programmes, around ten years ago, this very laid-back guy appeared briefly, doing a routine about the uselessness of foreign language phrase books. Le singe est dans l'arbre, if I recall.

His unusual name popped up in a couple of magazines, mentioning the rave reviews and pointing out that he was reluctant to "do telly". So when the chance came to see him in the flesh, around 1994, I took it, and went to see Eddie Izzard at the Ipswich Corn Exchange.

Very, very funny - New York Times

Believe me, he was hilarious. Funny thing was that, unlike most other comedians, there were no real punchlines, but he didn't seem to need them. After the show he patiently signed videos, etc, one of which, "Live At The Ambassadors", we watched at the weekend (thanks to Richard for the loan). What would a goldfish with a 10 second memory think if swimming in a tank that took 11 seconds to go round?

Back then, on the tape, he's Mr Conventional, fashion-wise. Compare this with how he looks on the cover of his most recent video - flame-red hair, lipstick and crocodile skin boots. Seeing him (unfortunately on the box, again) at the Amnesty gig earlier this year, he was still on top form, acting as compere for the likes of Harry Hill and Phil Jupitus.

Such a shame that his stand-up appearances are so rare these days, preferring to do film work or theatre instead. He's currently in A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg on the London stage, incidentally. But if you do get the chance to see him, drop everything and go. Oh, and let me know so I can get a ticket too.

Be seeing you!