Musings From The Padded Cell

Lets Dance?

“Part of the joy of dancing is conversation. Trouble is, some men can’t talk and dance at the same time.”
Ginger Rogers

According to a Radio 5 Live survey this week, 78% of men have never danced. Meanwhile, the other 22% are limbering up to make complete fools of themselves over the next few weeks.

John Travolta had no reason to fear me; a pal of mine used to refer to my periodic efforts on the dancefloor as the “Pile Bar Shuffle”. In terms of grace it largely depended on how many beers at “take-off”.

The former Pile Bar.

Those of you who remember the Pile Bar in Bradford will also reason that style and finesse were not a requirement to attract the local “talent”. Half a cider and black plus a love of tattoos usually did it.

From the safety of the edge of the floor, Nigel could be as cutting as Craig Revel Horwood.

“Truly ghastly darling!”

So I listened intently to advice on overcoming the fear factor of dancing, still hoping one day to swivel my hips with at least a bare minimum of coordination.

The radio confirmed we all dance in our private moments, mostly in the kitchen. I am not alone then with my spatula.

Rule One – Never try to dance after numerous Tequila shots. You may mistake a big glass of beer for a woman.

Let loose in public, after pre-loading we wobble a self-conscious, nervous wreck onto the floor to general horror from wives and girlfriends, circled around their handbags, vultures waiting for prey.

The women all dance exactly the same – it’s true – and criticism is useless unless you really do like the spare room.

It’s always best to choose a crowded floor even at the risk of starting a mass brawl after staggering into people you’ve never met. At least being knocked out will save you from dancing.

Limiting arm movements is also advisable, indeed the less movement the better. Often I’ve stood rooted to the spot like a pneumatic drill.

If your lady does insist on getting up close to witness your humiliation, tell her how lovely she looks so that she disappears quickly to water down your beer.

If she stays for a slow track cling onto her like driftwood. If all else fails, drink a pint of Tequila and book the following year in the spare room.

The radio debate continued and then on came Chic – “Good Times”.

I kicked back my chair, drew the blinds and was off in my own world, a true lady killer on the loose in a back bedroom in a small village in a small city.


One Hundred Years Ago

The re-election of Mr J J Booth of Idle, as president of the Bradford Cricket League for the tenth consecutive time is no slight honour.

So reads this piece; one hundred years on and this week Idle CC resigned from the Bradford League.

Empty Homes, Empty Heads

One of the fundamental problems of local authorities is that they are largely impotent. Drip-fed on central government grants they dole the money out trying to keep those who vote for them as happy as can be.

Therefore, business brains are not generally in abundance. Harsh? Consider the ongoing farce concerning the Council’s long-term vision for over 42,000 new homes in the period up to 2030.

The figure is meaningless on three levels. Firstly, a lack of evidence of need; secondly, no historic proof of the ability to build around 3,000 houses a year and, thirdly, the mismatch of homes currently being built to local incomes.

Consider also that, with over 4,000 empty homes Bradford – in terms of West Yorkshire – has “the highest number of empty homes per 100 people of population, with its figure of 0.76 higher than Calderdale at 0.69, Wakefield at 0.49, Kirklees at 0.44, and Leeds at 0.33”

These are not homes that everyone will want but they are likely to be affordable. We can’t all start off with a bijou in Ilkley.

A recent article by former T&A Editor Perry Austin-Clarke makes an obvious point – made here many times – that the developers will build when and where they want.

“I can’t help wondering whether the reality is that builders would sooner control supply in the hope that it will eventually drive people to pay those higher prices.

Which might explain why Redrow, despite winning a long and bitter battle to build 440 houses on the Sty Lane/Greenhill site at Bingley, still haven’t turned a single sod more than 13 months later.”

The Budget announced new measures available to Councils to penalise empty homes. Our Council’s tepid response was as follows:

“The Council has charged 50 per cent premium…on properties that have been vacant for more than two years…this has contributed to owners…to bring their properties back in to use. We would need to look into this new option of charging the 100 per cent Council Tax premium.”

What’s to consider? If the lower premium has worked surely doubling it will improve matters? Get it implemented and stop dithering.


Bradford District Allocation Map

If your weekend is looking very quiet, you hate Christmas shopping and are desperate to avoid any more royal hangers-on brown nosing on the media, try this?

The link here shows where our hopeless Council has allocated land it sees fit to enable it to concrete the district by 2030.

Take a peek, it’s scarier than a slasher movie.

A Cow’s Ass

Flicking through the channels the other night I caught a foodie programme; nowhere else will you find a greater amount of rubbish spoken.

The presenter was enthusing about a growing trend in London – where else – for a cut of meat known as a Flat Iron steak. Lower in fat and cheap too, luvvies were going wild about this “new” phenomenon.

Then I remembered a Jamie Oliver programme where he too referred to this cut only this time as a Saddle Cut. For clarity I sought out my local butcher Barry who put my mind to rest.

“Steve, I’ve been a butcher for longer than Jamie Oliver’s worn short pants!” said Barry, shaking his head wearily. “And in all that time a cow’s arse has always been a cow’s arse.”

Which confirmed my long-held belief that most tv chefs talk out of their arses.

The Perfect Poached Egg

I had a letter last week.

Dear Idlelord

I’ve written to you many times and even tried to buy you several drinks at The Scruffy. Please will you mention me as I am the only person in the pub you’ve not taken the piss out of since you started this blog. Ever since I read it I’ve been your number one fan.


Young Carl

Carl kindly sent me a recent picture and graduated to stalker status this week by bringing in the gift of a poached egg for me to try.

I suppose it is the season when gifts are brought to Lords?

As I tasted the egg, Young Geoffrey offered to fix it for Carl if he sat on his knee.

We Don’t Tweet Anymore

After saying how “special” they were to each other, sweethearts Donny and Terri end it all by Twitter.

“Just whereaboust would you like me to kiss your big fat ass Donny?”

And Finally – Does Alcohol Affect Moods?

A study reported on the BBC looked into the effects of various types of alcohol on moods. Here’s what they found in this short video.

Spirits apparently make you feel negative but also aggressive? Beware gin and vodka types then.

Red wine is claimed to make you tired and sexy; square that one if you can?

Only beer was found to make respondents feel relaxed. Apparently, drinking copious quantities can also make you feel like John Travolta.

Coming to a festive party near you…

Time for The Scruffy then!

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