Didsburydad's Blog

From the not so mean streets of M20, blog about being a dad, Didsbury and dealing with parental confusion

Archive for the category “Radio 1”

Didsbury – a historical lesson

I have a friend who went to Nido the week it opened. His rationale being to try it before it closed. This front for something, 60-Minute makeover of a restaurant was a slow car crash of a failure, whilst we watched the manager occasionally pace around outside.

As the letters symbolically fell off the Laughing Buddha signage next door the lights went out on the restaurant customers forgot. If only Didsbury Magazine had done a feature, if only Wadden v Brimelow’s aubergine v purple Estate Agent war had taken place over lunch there… But if onlys are scattered across Didsbury Village’s failures. Remember the fake gangster Japanese place where now lies Zizzi and what was always The Old Grey Horse? No. Neither does anyone else.

Time for a little indulgence. Starting at the library end where Didsbury station was a get-on for London we finally say good riddance to O’Neill’s. I loathe Irish-themed bars. I’m not Irish but The Railway across the road seems a great pub with strong Irish connections and when I see an “Oirish” bar I think of people making Cream of Chicken Soup and passing it off as the real thing. We are getting The Strokers Arms. ( not a euphemism).

After many years Ashley Brown’s iconic locks are finally swapping with the sublime Wendy J Levy who leaves the cobbles of Warburton Street to trade online. We are promised a deli, we expect Costa Express. Ashley Brown took over Jim’ s a green grocers. In the. 70s the Evans-Axons-Hamlet axis of power was a square. Jim was their D”Artagnan.

Jaanum ( which translates as Nido without seats) is still boarded up and Urban Grille’s baffling menu still pulls those who shirk the call of the burgeoning Domino’s.

So back to Padmore Parade. Jo Padmore took over Thresher, which was begat by a serve your own Victoria Wine. Nido followed an average Turkish Restaurants with name changes to cover every City in Turkey, before that a wonderful small restaurant and take -away. To those of us of a certain age it is always Sykes, one of Didsbury’s best record shops where we rushed home from school to buy Lipps Inc. in the 90s it spent time as Namaste Village (before the definition of Namaste had filtered down from Chorlton). This meant that in the mid 90s every Didsbury Child ( then named Ella or George) had their own dream catcher and Peruvian Worry dolls.
Next door was Ho Wah. In the 70s this had been a KFC. My own Didsbury Mum took a moral stance and refused to take us there – the bags of chips were too small.

* No facts were researched during the writing of this blog. Other facts are available.

Father’s Day, a report card on your prowess

Father’s Day. Two words that can strike dread into the heart of many dads. It is a report card on how you’ve done since Christmas. The level of effort put in is a direct grading of your role as supporting artist in the great film of family life.
This is not about money spent or responding to the abysmal Americanisation and spreading over the weekend of what was always traditionally a card and a cuppa before normal service resumed.

I had a trawl through the mmm, detritus that is being passed off as a present for dad. I saw an advert for Canadian Maple flavoured ribs and beer. Fine, if you’ve never had Gavuscon or Oemeprozole but not for the other 99% of us literally a recipe for disaster. This and a thousand Top Gear / presents aimed at 10 year olds with more hair passed off as what the retailers decided we should stress over for Father’s Day; rubbish.

There is the same nuance and care needed in a Father’s Day as there is when responding to a question from partners beginning “I want you to be honest with me…” (NB you only fall for this once every six months)

We know a great sage once decreed that the perfect childhood for boys was to have a father until they were seven years old before taking over as pack leader and sending father back into the forest to forage.
Handwritten cards, something you secretly wanted, a hint taken or anything fried and you have an A*; with gradings all the way down to a Co-Op card and a picture of your children to remind you who they are.

I think I did okay. Definitely on the upside and had an easy weekend with a family that becomes more lively and interesting by the week.

Sunday began at 2am with teething terrors traumatising the Mighty-Headed boy and ended alone in a double bed with all baby duties suspended until 6am as I had a big day at work; the greatest act of selfless love in a bedroom that the mother of your children can give you.

Didsbury Son had a break from being short-changed of quality dad attention, spending a sleepover with friends and Didsbury Wife and I spent a chummy afternoon on the couch with the twins before I didn’t have to go to John Lewis.

I felt special. As we wheeled the twin Meerkats out for an early evening drink in a sun-dappled West Didsbury I felt relaxed and sure in the knowledge that the world was right and I was one inappropriate joke away from a Top Gear compilation.

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Hands full, all three of them

2012 – Barack Obama,, Sebastian Coe, Didier Drogba and Didsbury Son

It might seem a bit obvious to say this has been a big year for us but, it has been a very big year. Didsbury Son got a major role in the Year 6 school play. His bravura performance warranted at least a picture in the South Manchester Reporter. It was a natural antidote to taxijackings, muggings, charity bike rides and pictures of our MP John Leech but no, it was left to me to write an unbiased review for the family email list,

” Brilliant, a stunning performance and a rare departure from sitting on the couch watching Futurama or David Attenborough” – His father.

Something's going down on stage, not sure quite what

Something’s going down on stage, not sure quite what

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once these were filled it all changed

This was just the start; a year of sporting prowess saw me walking up and down stairs numerous times. Initially satisfying the cravings of pregnant Didsbury Wife for having me walk up and down stairs with cups of tea and latterly, with The Didsbury Twins. Having won a gold in the combined powerlifting and the triathlon ( carry them both up together, change them without a “waah” and return to mother without disturbing the dummy), I am creaky but hopeful. Didsbury son, in the most fantastical.Didsbury way, was worried that dummies may make them look Chavvy. Having experienced the noise of two crying babies at one time he soon became a convert – needs must.

For us this has been a year of change – new arrivals at home, Didsbury Son moving from the handholding minutiae of junior school to the fend for yourself bewilderment of senior school and the happy and sad family moments. We have had birth, mirth and departure. All part of life but it still takes you by surprise when life happens. If you are lucky enough to sail past 39 years and 364 days but you haven’t experienced the agony and ecstasy then you are poorer for it. Living next to somewhere as magnificent as Christie’s Cancer Hospital is a reminder of how fantastic and harsh life can be amid the Olive Tofu, 4x4s and hairdressers on tap in South Manchester.

Before I get too philosophical and begin counting my blessings a la Little House on the Prairie style, let me also point out that being in the sun for Christmas was brilliant and my first thought on getting home (well second after “How quickly can I get on 5Live?”) was ” who turned the lights off?”

British winter daylight is effectively 9-12 each day (clouds permitting) and this leaves Didsbury Son 10 hours a day to move between iPod, TV, computer and tablet.

So happy new year for 2013 from Didsbury Dad, Son, wife and twins. This year has seen most aspects of our lives change. It is not the sleepless nights, tennis elbow, cold tea, being thrown upon daily – that is the tip of the good stuff. It is the knowledge that this is a rare time to grasp and absorb.

Didsbury Wife will not breastfeed the twins in public. When I asked her why, thinking it was shyness, a touch of the prude or fear of being stared at, her answer surprised me. She told me that you never know if there is someone in the room who has had a miscarriage, been unable to conceive or has had anything in their life that could be made worse by a little triumphalism at the next table. Whilst I think feeding in public is fine and it is a free choice, it was this thought more than any other that made me realise my good fortune and how crass it would sound to moan about being tired. That and living within crawling distance of an M&S Simply Food and 36 hairdressers.

Have a lovely holiday season – back with more nonsense next year.

Whilst abroad we checked out different methods of childcare

Whilst abroad we checked out different methods of childcare

The work/life/letting your mind wander balance

This week I attended a creative conference. There were some moments of real clarity and the catering was excellent. In my line of media non-specificiality and Didsbury Dadding its an occasional perk. The line-up was impressive and the first speaker’s love for himself was heart-warmingly peerless. I was suited, the room was just warm enough and with the sound of success beginning to be a wallpaper background to the day. The perfect environment to:

1. Write VERY important to do lists and pledge a work/life balance that removes fat, adds cash and recreates The Waltons in M20 by June.

2. It’s May, so this is the right time to take advantage of free wi-fi access to work out definitively who will win The Premier League, Champions League, Leveson Enquiry and the BAFTAS.

3. Stare at the speaker whose distance from me takes him slightly out of focus to see if I can define an aura – 16 minutes in I am unsure if it’s an aura and more worried about it being the start of cataracts (up to C in my Encyclopaedia Hypochondria for 40 somethings with an overractive imagination).

It is this pitiful attention span for technical detail that allows me to empathise so clearly with Didsbury Son. Whilst my desire for quiet mornings strolling around in a dressing gown living in my head takes me ever nearer being a version of my own Didsbury Dad, my need for shiny objects, a break in pattern and love of the absurd spans the generations.

If I had any idea how to read any kind of plan more technical than a Kinder Egg I could be happy for hours. If I didn’t get a sense of wonder and the occasional fit of giggles just stepping outside then I would think I was someone else and Didsbury Son would possibly forget that stupid can be okay.

At what age does walking around with pants on your head pretending to walk down cellar steps whilst gurning stop being a way to start the day successfully?

And…

I have to present to potentially bored list makers at times and am wary of the mesmerising qualities a dull and detailed PowerPoint can have. Just as any good teacher should do and any decent presenter should know – once there is a murmur and a shuffle from the crowd, up your game.

Despite this need for stimulus I still try to instil in Didsbury Son the need to pay attention to adults and be respectful. It was in the “How To” pack SureStart were trialling when I first got the Didsbury Dad job. I do this whilst secretly working on my parenting opus. There is a book in all of us and mine is about the joy of being present whilst being absent-minded and away with the fairies. This ultimate guide to successful parenting and fulfilling relationships with children from an occasionally masculine viewpoint has a variety of working titles:

1. Ask your mother, she’ll have thought it through. My response is a reaction.

2. You don’t need to say thank you to everyone who gives you a biscuit

3. Please close the door, I need one place I can sit without being disturbed.
Or my current favourite, a guide and a title that sums up the beauty, love and joy of daddom. A title to encapsulate those nights spent glueing, sewing, cooking, cleaning, worrying, caring…
” You can keep asking questions but to be honest I am making it up as I go along and will do just about anything to get you to sleep before the football starts.”

As a student I had to read a book called “2000 Accidents”; this described in 10 year-old describing a carto detail the ergonomic disasters that befell people in America in the 60s. I recommend the anxious or OCD avoid at all costs. Horrible Histories’ Stupid Deaths does it quicker, funnier and implants it in your memory with a great joy.

When the guy still speaking finally finished I thought about suggesting he watches Horrible Histories and sees the display in Evans’ window for ideas before dazzling him with my creative interpretation of his speech and my clarity about who will win The Premier League.

I’ll Take the Cliché and you take the platitude and I’ll be in Scotland etc.


The clouds are so low and thick I imagine myself in one of those films where Morgan Freeman is God to Steve Carrell or Jim Carrey.

Location shot for Deliverance 2

 

It’s beautiful, but my view is that a decent summer holiday should be somewhere that is barren and bleached by the sun, not green and lush and therefore wet and overcast for much of the time.

I digress. It takes 3 hours driving through sheeting rain between huge lorries to get us from the Borders to the middle of nowhere. Didsbury wife knits happily, looks serene and occasionally pats me in a ” just keep driving, no more coffee breaks” kind of way when we pass the many Costa fleecing points. Didsbury son is chirpily tired from swimming and moves seamlessly between cross-stitch and 3DS. Trying to shut out the sound of Fearne Cotton and Radio 1 in general I realise I have spent hours chewing several conundrums in this week of English looting and soul searching…Ooh, a fir tree.

1. Black Pudding supper, White pudding supper or Haggis Supper? When will the English catch on to what we really want – offal, barley and all in batter.

Tree.

2. Scotland is foreign, I spent Sunday afternoon in a decent sized town searching pubs like some go getting Greyfriars Bobby trying to find The Premier League on SkySports and what did I find? Kilmarnock v Hibs and fat boys playing catch in a warm up for the soon to bore world cup of fat boys playing catch. It’s an outrage.

More trees.

3. My abiding visual of the week of riots, looting and political knee jerking comes from photoshoplooter of hoodies braking into No. 10, genius.

Look, a tree.

4. Didsbury son played and slaughtered me at Super Mario, laughing quite rightly at my dimwitted ineptitude. Not only am I a Didsbury Dad. I am my becoming my own Didsbury Dad. I look at Didsbury Son, in 35 years it will happen to him too.

Tree again.

5. Driving across the magnificent Forth Road Bridge and taking in the splendour of nature that surrounds it all I could think was East Fife 4 Forfar 5.

Trees.

I may settle for haggis flavoured crisps and a nip of something patronising.

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