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Monthly Archives: October 2013

RNIB Neon Fun Run at Mile End Stadium; Get Ready to Glow

Ever since the first London Marathon in 1981, long distance running has become a solid form of fundraising.

It’s not only a way to support a good cause, become a lean-mean-fast-moving-machine but it can also be a way to stop yourself spending too much money at the pub or the chicken shop, where you’ve become somewhat of a regular. So much so that you’ve been invited to the chicken-man’s four-year-old daughter’s birthday, when you last popped in for your spicy wings.

Chicken-shop Dave when you're not there

Chicken-shop Dave when you’re not there

Whilst some marathons have attempted to break up the monochrome and monotony of the standard road run with barbed wire, dress codes and wine pit stops (that’s America for you), the majority remain concrete-grey and could hardly be described as a party.

Nor do they often happen at night.

Which is why the Royal National Institute of Blind People is holding the first Glow Neon Fun Run on 25 October at Mile End stadium, a pumping-party run complete with a large sound system, to raise money for blind and partially sighted people.

Whilst night runs are popular in the US, Daniel Larcey, the fundraising innovation manager from RNIB says that the UK tends to stick to night-walks. That’s the English health and safety attitude, all over.

Keeping sign loving folk safe

Keeping sign loving folk safe

But RNIB are trying to make a point. Daniel says: “Doing something in the dark could help people appreciate some of the challenges for the blind or partially sighted people. It is for this reason that we want to hold a night-time event in the first place.”

Inspired by the full moon parties in Thailand, participants are invited to walk, run, hop, skip or dance around the track whilst being sprayed by luminous paint-spraying canons. And I’ll bet there’ll be someone who attempts a three mile moonwalk.

Training for the RNIB Neon Glow Fun Run

Training for the RNIB Neon Glow Fun Run

Motivated by the DJ spinning hits of the 80s, 90s and current chart numbers whilst the canon squirts out luminous colour, could this be the most fun night run in the UK?

Event details:
25 October
Mile End Stadium, 190 Burdett Rd
7pm – 9pm
£25 donation

For more information see the official RNIB page.


Sunday Morning McDonalds for Distraction and Tea

If advertising had its way, we’d all believe that prawn-rings from Iceland were the height of Christmas party sophistication, KFC was the best choice of family dining fun and buying cosmetics from Boots automatically made us part of a fabulously stereotypical girl gang.

Here come the girls.  Available at Boots.

Here come the girls. Available at Boots.

We’d also trust that McDonalds was the first choice of eateries for dates, business meetings and holding all sorts of important conversations. “I’m having my cousin’s baby” over a Mcflurry, “I’d like to be your love slave” over a Filet O’ Fish and “you’re fired as I saw you putting your dirty tissues in the staff fridge” over Mcnuggets. Although I haven’t seen Alan Sugar down my local Maccy D’s just yet.

I'm sorry, Johnny.  I flushed your budgie down the toilet by accident.  It looked like this.  Enjoy your Happy Meal.

I’m sorry, Johnny. I flushed your budgie down the toilet by accident. It looked like this. Enjoy your Happy Meal.

In light of such inclusive and democratic Mcadvertising, I thought I’d pop along on a Sunday morning to do some work before the library opened. Had I been 10 years younger, I probably would have been distracted by the smell of mcgrease, mcsalt and mcprocessedmeat but having acquired a slightly more sophisticated sense of taste over the years, the aroma of fried food doesn’t turn me on anymore; it tends to turn my stomach.

You don’t need me to tell you that the McDonalds adverts are all lies. The sites are not friendly or the perfect place to spread the good news or gossip. And as I found out, they’re not the kind of place to go if you want to get anything done. In fact, they’re a bit like a noisy kind of doldrums.

You can't leave until you've upgraded to a super value meal.

You can’t leave until you’ve upgraded to a super value meal.

Distraction #1: DVDers
Apparently 10.30am on a Sunday morning in McDonalds is prime time and place for DVD selling. Of course it is. As obvious as a parrot in the snow, the small Asian lady carrying a plastic bag full of counterfeit products came over to each table saying nothing more then “want DVD?” It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t heard it repeated several times in the space of a minute, but as I understand, that’s the nature of salesmanship. Repetition + harrassment = job well done. Unfortunately in this instance, potentially due to the recent financial crisis, there was little buying and selling going on.

I prefer to buy my illegal DVDs from a street stall, not McDonalds.

I prefer to buy my illegal DVDs from a street stall, not McDonalds.

Distraction #2: Phone Fury
I’m all for obnoxious phone conversations in the public sphere; we’ve all been there at some point when we’ve had to talk slightly too loud when on the train when our dear old Granny can’t hear us, or cracked up at the hilarity of our good friend’s account of a disastrous chat up situation, but we do our best to respect our fellow carriage sharers and keep it short. However, on this glorious morning in McDonalds, just as I had got used to the bellowed never ending conversation had by the chip-chomping woman sat opposite me, her other phone rings! Ending her current phone call to move onto the next, the lady went forth to smash through my concentration shell with violent laughter. I admit, I think I’m far too used to the Library Police marching phone-chatting individuals outside, but honestly, this lady was like a loud circle.

Put. The phone. Down.

Put. The phone. Down.

Distraction #3: Sports Commentary
I don’t like football. I don’t watch Match of the Day, buy football shirts and tend to skip the sport section of the newspaper. However, I know many people love the beautiful game to the point where it causes tears before bed time, and I accept that rather than respect it. But I curse the very day when some boys decided to kick around an old pigs bladder, when I am non-consensually subjected to it. I was enjoying some classical music being played over the audio system in McDonalds that morning, until the distinct sound of someone watching a football match on their phone made its way into my earholes. Already annoying, the men watching it decided it would be all the more fun to comment on the game. Loudly. Sentences such as “Oh, he’ll never get it now”, “There he goes” and “Better make a run for it” were sporadically roared over the rustling of burger wrappers and I speak for the whole of McDonalds who were not part of this football party: it was bothersome.

If you want to watch football go to the pub.  Or stay at home.

If you want to watch football go to the pub. Or stay at home.

The long and short of it is, despite being suggested as a multi-occasion fast-food fun-time joint, McDonalds is not suitable for anything other than grabbing a dry piece of shoe leather in a bun to be used in a science experiment or popping into the loo when desperate times call for desperate measures. Nothing more.

Hitchcock’s Blondes in Leytonstone

The sight of a girl-gang marching down the high street may not be much of an unusual sight in London. In fact, you just need to head down to the West End to catch such fair-haired marvels in full force complete with swinging shopping bags, matching Ugg boots and the must-have crystal-covered accessories.

However the six suited, booted and postiched Hitchcock Blondes strutting down Leytonstone High Road on Saturday may have caused more than the usual step-aside-dodge-the-handbag movement then the good people of London are used to.

Half of the Blondes got lost

Half of the Blondes got lost

Far from making their way to the nearest chip shop, the blondes acted as hostesses to the first film screening of Hitchcock’s East End, the year long season of special events. Launched by Create London, the Barbican, The Nomad Cinema and Waltham Forest Council, the season celebrates the life of Leytonstone treasure, Alfred Hitchcock.

In matching grey suits and identical up-dos, the cackle of Kim Novaks made their way to historical hotspots around Leytonstone including Hitchcock’s birthplace (now a garage-cum-chicken shop) and Leytonstone station, which inspired a young Hitchcock to memorise the entire train line system by the age of eight. Or so they say.

Alfred Hitchcock's birthplace

Alfred Hitchcock’s birthplace

The blondes inspired community interaction as maps were handed out for the Hitchcock inspired self-guided tour, stories were spouted and eyebrows were raised in true Novak style (with the help of a good eyebrow pencil) as the good people of Leytonstone made their way down to St Margarets Church for the screening of Vertigo (1958).

Creative researcher Sebastian Harding from Create London said: “It went as well as we could have imagined with half the audience made up of local residents with many on the day sales.”

Could almost be a scene from The Birds.  That guy looks pretty sinister pecking away at his Pringle.

Could almost be a scene from The Birds. That guy looks pretty sinister pecking away at his Pringle.

Amazingly, Waltham Forest is one of only two boroughs that does not have a cinema and Hitchcock’s East End celebrates the plan to open a new cinema in 2014.

There’s a lot to be said about Hitchcock and his use of blondes as his leading ladies. According to old Hitch himself, “they make the best victims” and evoke less suspicion than the brunette. However, I overheard a man telling one of the platinum girls that she looked like a judge.

Crikey.  What would Jesus think?

Crikey. What would Jesus think?

It would seem that not all gentlemen prefer blondes after all.

For more information about the Hitchcock’s East End see the Create London page.