Sunday, 30 October 2011

Bringing it to the Table

Group writing exercise. Take three slips each. Write a different random word on each one. Fold them up. Throw them into a pile and mix them up.

Now pick out a slip. This first slip is the title to your vignette. Pick another. This is your first word. Pick again. This is your last word.

You have ten minutes to produce a story. Go!

My words:



Fly enters through the open patio door. His pixellated vision throws up a homely scene. Lunch has finished. The table is being cleared. Mother takes the plates back to the kitchen. In the next room, Son loads the dishwasher begrudgingly. Fly enters. The kitchen is busy. The extractor fan hums, and Fly feels the distant suction through the room. Before the air channel gets too strong, Fly vacates back through the dining room, looking for crumbs. The table is tidy, void of morsels. But there's a smell of food still in the air; the table was the scene of a big meal moments ago. He follows the scent, past the fireplace that hasn't been used in months, over the recently hoovered carpet, to the shape lying at the edge of the room. It's a man. He's asleep. He snores long and slow. In his hand, there's something made of paper rolled up. The crumbs are at the edge of his mouth, an area wrought with danger and potential infection, but the smell is gooood. Fly can't resist a fly-by. He homes in on the lips, covered in Fly's lunch. Fly lands and eats. It's more than enough. Man's hand moves. The paper is large and heavy and slows Man's reaction. Fly flies away. Man launches the paper into his own head, hard. Fly supposes Man will have two things to expect- indigestion and a bruise.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Manchester Blog Awards 2011

I might not stop reading for two hours,” says Manchester writer Socrates Adams, “so apologies if people start weeping.”

It's Wednesday, 19th October. We're in the trendy and iconic Deaf Institute on Oxford Road for the 6th annual Manchester Blog Awards and I'm sinking some disturbingly expensive Dalwhinnie and Balveninie single malts from the impressive back bar. On stage, Socrates is reading from his newly-published novel, Everything is Fine. What isn't so fine, he tells us, is that the publishers have printed the book's jacket in the wrong colour.

The segment read features a failing salesman whose boss orders him to carry his test-tube merchandise (named “Mildred”) on his person at all times. From the witty excerpt Socrates reads out, I expect it will do well upon its January release.

Tonight we'll also hear some equally impressive readings from more of Manchester's writing community- successive doses of short, sharp fiction and some vivid and emotionally-charged non-fiction pieces. Many people will laugh. Some will cry. At least one woman and at least one man will get massively drunk.

Tom Mason, curator of Manchester blog 330 Words, Is official event blogger and his fine write-up appears on the Manchester Literature Festival blog.

It is a truly entertaining night. The Manchester Blog Awards website features a full list of the night's winners, with links to their blogs. Check them out. They're well worth a read.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Search This Blog... If You Dare

My little girl is generous with secrets. I wish she weren't, frankly. Don't secrets sustain her, keep her separate, make her self-aware? How can she know who she is if she gives away her secrets?"
-CIA officer Win Everett in Don DeLillo's novel, Libra

Blogger- Soon to be Google Blogs- has an extensive list of gadgets that you can add to your blog. I've just added the search function, allowing people to check if I've mentioned a specific word or phrase.

The search tool has a benefit for me, and for you if you blog. I've been blogging for four years on this site, and have covered a wide range of subjects. If I want to show a specific post to someone, and I can contact them online, I can send them a link to a specific entry. If I meet someone face to face and I want them to check a particular update, It's now a little easier. Before I added the search bar, it would be difficult to point it out to them if all I did was give them my card. 

Now, for instance, if I'm telling someone about the time I got Trevor Sinclair thrown out of Baa Bar or I'm explaining how celebrity retweets can help blog stats, I can give someone the card and they can search for themselves when they reach the site. It helps the reader, and, of course, if it's easier to use it means more page views for the blog.

From logging into Blogger, go Dashboard – Layout – Add a Gadget. Search for “search this blog”. Click Add.

I would now like to invite you to search this blog for something utterly random. You never know. I might have mentioned it. More recently my posts have been to aid other people, and this has resulted in BIG stats. But dig deep and you'll find I've made the same mistake as Win Everett's infant daughter. I have given away huge chunks of my past for public consumption, in an attempt to be understood. I now no longer know who I am. What I'm saying is, what you might find may get a little weird.

Comment under here if you've found any surprises...

Monday, 17 October 2011

Fables & Cognac

If you're reading this blog, there's a good enough chance that you'll have at least a passing interest in good stories. You might even be a writer. Well, good news for you, my friend. Manchester writer Kenan Bailey has launched Fables and Cognac, a brand-spanking new blog investigating the art of storytelling.

Informative, sharply designed and written with dollops of dry wit, Fables and Cognac is a great resource for writers and anyone who enjoys a good story. As well as advice for authors and fiction-related updates, you'll also find a few gripping short stories nestled in too.

The site is currently looking for contributors. If you're a fiction author or you write about writing, get involved. That's what I did! Check out my article- “Duotrope: The Yellow Pages of Publishing” over on F&C.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Cave-in on the Subway

Is there a problem?

Yeah, moron. I ordered a cheese sandwich and there's hardly any cheese in here.

That's no good, is it? Here, give me your sandwich. I will fix it for you. You can't have 
complaints there's not enough cheese in the cheese sandwiches. 

Gord begins piling stupidly large amounts of cheese onto the bread.

I mean, if there's no cheese in a cheese sandwich, that's just two slices of bread. If 
word of that were to get out, well, I could lose my job. I could lose all of this! And we 
wouldn't want that, would we? Would we? Would we? Huh?!

Gord pushes the pile of cheese covering the bread at the customer.

What the fuck am I gonna do with that?

You could stick it in your bum-bum. You can put the cheese in your bum.

-Sandwich Technician Gord (Tom Green) defends his culinary skills in Freddy Got Fingered.

A month ago I blogged about Subway not being as healthy as you might imagine

I vowed not to eat Subway again. It was my intention to blog about my sub-free life a month later, and in the meantime to see how my new diet affected working out at the gym.

I just about managed. On the morning of Sunday 9th September, after a stunning night in Avici White, I crumbled. My gang were starving. I was starving. The top end of Deansgate has only one late-opening takeaway. I'm not even going to name it. My night was to end with either a six-inch Meatball Marinara or a hunger/dance induced blackout, only to be scraped off the pavement by the fuzz and thrown in the cells, where I'd be violated by a drunk.

Six inch meatball on herbs and cheese please.”

Fuck it.

On the bright side, since 9th Sept I've got a little healthier. I've lost a couple of kilos. I've improved my ten-minute power-walk and 10-minute row. I can lift more weight on 2 different abdominal exercises. I've notched up the chest press, dumbell fly, hip abductor (working the outside thigh muscle), shoulder press and wide grip lat pulldown. I've beaten personal bests on 9 out of 30 different movements that I do at the gym.

To gauge the effects of healthy eating, a month isn't really a long enough time frame. I also needed more sessions at the gym just to run through all of the movements I'm recording. So for the record, Subway is not healthy and I proved it. Good health proves itself in the long run, though, provided you eat well, sleep well and exercise regularly. And with that in mind, I'm off to bed.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Celebrity Mitherer's Handbook

The minuses of celebrity include having to live with security and the knowledge that you may be stalked.”

If you're a regular reader at Power is a State of Mind, you'll have noticed quite a few celebrity encounters popping up in the posts. Now, I'm not a stalker. But if, say, my determination to meet famous types knew no bounds, I'd imagine these websites would appear regularly in my ominous browser history. They're pretty good for mercilessly hunting down famous types. Cough. Check it out.

Book signings occur in stores nationwide. See the store locator on the site to find one near you.

Manchester's main shopping precinct. Big towns and most cities will have similar events in their shopping centres.

The highest-valued shopping centre in the UK is on the outskirts of Manchester. Massive. Elegant. Occasionally has book signings and events.

This book store/stationery shop has occasional signings nationwide.

National music retailer. Occasionally holds album signing sessions and the odd book signing.

This is a list with Greater Manchester in mind, but most venues are nationwide / worldwide chains and certain celebs will appear in many stores as part of a tour. Where would you include in the list? Comment below.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Going on the Piss in Ancient Greece

Only second night working
Flat corridor, fluffy handcuffs, trolley
At the student bar, avoiding snooker,
Narcissus falls for own reflection
Puddling sweat, he
Stares into the lake at water's edge
Toby goes ballistic, kicking pads,
a long drink for endurance.
Jab and hook combo
longing, looking out.
Blonde hair, young. Friend introduces.
Girls gang up, locked on
Confused. How do I progress?
Transfixed at self
Water pistols. Soaked. Sent reception
I kiss her, swap numbers,
She slams my stomach with a medicine ball,
Throws cue, marches out.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Ghosts on the Dancefloor Part 2

Ooooh I, I love the nightlife
I got to boogie
On the disco 'round, oh yea
  • I love the Nightlife, Alicia Bridges, 1978
The Commonword two-part poetry event concluded at Nexus Art Café on Monday 3rd October, again led by Manchester poet Segun Lee French

Following on from last week's session, we delved deeper into surrealism and Manchester night life. We also incorporated themes of cinema and perspective to create another surrealist poem.

The exercise began with our own memories of night life in Manchester. We thought of a particular night that we personally remember. We described this memory with a beginning line, a middle line and an end line. Each line was to be no more than six words. I had:

Blonde hair. Young. Friend introduces her
I kiss her and swap numbers
It's only my second night working

We then thought of another scene from our lives, from roughly the same time frame, and applied the same technique. Here's mine:

Flat corridor. Fluffy handcuffs. Shopping trolley
Girls gang up. I'm locked on
Water pistols. Soaked. Sent to reception

Same again for scene 3:

Bar under student flat. Avoiding Snooker
Toby goes ballistic, wanting a game
Throws cue on floor. Marches out.

Scene 4 was a mythical scene. We were asked to think of a myth or legend, and format it 6X3. So...

Narcissus sees a lake, walks up.
He sits at the water's edge
Sits there transfixed at himself.

It's a little clumsy but the point was to write fast, with whatever comes into your head, as is the surrealist style.

The fifth vignette was on a random subject of our choice. I chose the kickboxer circuit class that I attend at the gym. There were fewer restrictions on this one, allowing us to use short phrases of no specific length. We wrote out 5 of these.

Puddles of sweat
Kick pads
Long pad work for endurance
Jab and hook combo
Stomach slammed with medicine ball

Segun distributed a series of blank cards. We wrote each line from each verse on its own card. We then laid the cards out in order and swapped cards between rows and columns. This gave the words a surreal, mixed-up quality.

We wrote out the new text on a sheet of paper, double-spaced, and looked at whether there were any themes that emerged in the writing. With the subjects combined, was anything pertinent?

Mine seemed to have a theme of frustration or anger, or perhaps longing. Hmm. Segun suggested we add in a few words throughout the poem (hence the double spacing) to strengthen the theme.

And there you have it. One surrealist poem. I'm again uploading my poem as a separate blog post so that it stands alone. Those who haven't read this explanatory post can make their own wild conclusions...

Another great Commonword class. Contributors also got a chance to read out their poem on Manchester's Unity Radio on Thursday 6th. I was tied up. Gutted. I'll be keeping my eyes open for Commonword classes in the future as the teaching, finished products, networking opportunities and enthusiasm of everyone involved is superb.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Published: Stakeout

Emilio Estevez-unrelated

Stakeout. Matt Tuckey’s new flash fiction piece in Stray Branch magazine, Fall/Winter 2011. Available to buy here

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Making Dannii Minogue Nervous

There comes a moment for some when you realise your obsession with celebrity has gone too far.

For me, that was Friday, 30th September in WHSmiths in Manchester’s Arndale Centre. I was in a queue: a big queue full of teenage girls and -presumably gay- teenage boys. I was going to meet Dannii Minogue.

Dannii, pop star, sister of Kylie, current X Factor judge, and actress was springboarded to fame by Aussie soap Home and Away. She’s since had 20 years worth of reasonable success in pop, although I can’t name a single one of her songs.

Dannii was in town signing her new book, My Style. I got one of the last wristbands to allow entry to the signing. The queue was sloooowwww. Most of us were sat on the floor of the Arndale walkway for hours. My arse went numb. I read a huge chunk of James Ellroy’s Blood’s a Rover. A lady from WHSmiths dished out cupcakes so we didn’t resort to cannibalism.

It occurred to me, sat on the hard marble floor surrounded by girls half my age, that I had some shit to address. Why am I so obsessed with celebrity? I don’t know Dannii Minogue’s music. I hate soaps. X Factor is terrible. Why am I drawn to famous people? And why Dannii? Not to mention- the book is a largely photo-based description of women’s fashion! I need. To confront. This obsession.

A plan: If I can give my blog card to Neil Strauss, Danny Dyer and Pete Burns, I can give it to Dannii Minogue. Hi Dannii. I’m a blogger, and I bang on about all the celebrities I meet. I also write about this city. How are you finding it here?

The queue crawled forward. Butts shuffled sideways. I got through the door. Her bodyguard clocked me- this guy’s straight. He kept a firm eye on me.

She signs the book. The girl from Smiths takes our picture. There’s a pause. I lock eyes with Dannii. She keeps smiling to mask how nervous she clearly suddenly feels.

Then I thank her and walk off.


An afterthought: why didn’t I get it signed to my sister? She’d have appreciated it. And it would be one less Christmas present to buy. I always think of these things too late. But on a more positive note, how fit is Dannii?!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Where Can I Get Feedback On Screenplays?

To make a great film you need three things - the script, the script and the script.
-Alfred Hitchcock

I’ve hammered out a few film scripts recently- mostly shorts, with one 45-page piece. I’m looking for an online feedback site. Screen Adapter Andrew Davies suggested I check out The Script Factory.

Although full of info regarding screenwriting in general, it doesn’t seem to be a site offering democratic feedback. I’ve got time to give up for sharing critiques with other writers, but I’m not- as the site invites me to- shelling out money for a professional critique. I’ll still need more critiques after a post-pro-critique draft of my writing, so is it worth paying right now? I think not. Writers Connect do a good job on feedback. Their help with The Mix and The Knife Job has been invaluable. I can’t read out 45 pages of script to them, though.

Anyone want to read a terrorism conspiracy tale? Got an hour free? Get in touch.

Does anyone know what site I’m looking for? Where do people share screenplays for feedback? Again, let me know. Let’s get on with it and get our stuff out to local filmmakers.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Power is a State of Mind.

I am so happy that I am alive, in one piece and short. I'm in a world of shit . . . yes. 
But I am alive. And I am not afraid.
- Joker (Matthew Modine), Full Metal Jacket

Open a new tab in your browser. Google “power is a state of mind”. What’s the top result?

Cool huh?

Although cool it may be, I now have a responsibility to make it mean something. If you scan through this blog, you’ll see it’s the place to visit for info on social media, celebs, book reviews, creative writing and Manchester events and night life. Is it really about using your state of mind to bolster power?

Not greatly. But maybe it should be. Seeing as that’s what people are searching for when they find this site, I should incorporate it. I obviously really like the phrase. I really want to believe it and prove it by doing something- by wiping out my fears living a more fulfilled life. I could even use that mentality- in part- to springboard this blog from unknown to a popular Manchester reference point. I could make more money, have more success with women and, in theory, get my name known in Manchester- all through having a more powerful state of mind. After all, guys- how many times have you been in this situation: You meet a hot girl. She introduces you to her decidedly average-looking boyfriend. Your first thought: She could get a lot better than him. But then you hear him talk. Nothing seems to faze him. Maybe he’s not afraid of taking a kicking. Maybe he always speaks up when he’s not happy in an awkward situation.

Case in point- a floppy-haired barman I used to work with- a kid with the beginnings of a pot and- for some reason- the beginnings of a ‘tache- was in a long-term relationship with a beautiful blonde 18-year-old. They were quite an odd couple, who’d been to college together. Let’s call him R and her L. R & L studied drama at one of the colleges in Oldham. In their class, there was one student who had learning difficulties. The tutor would apparently make an example of this young man, frequently asking the group to help him out whenever the group was together.

R described objecting, not liking the way the tutor picked on him.

That’s what I’m looking for from you all,” the tutor had said. “Step forward and act when you’re not happy.”

It was probably 2004 when R told this story. Ryan already had power as a state of mind before the tutor gave the group this dubiously constructed lesson. I’m only just learning this now.

Expect a few changes on this blog. My friend and local zoological consultant Fluffy Oakes has agreed to contribute with a few articles which I’m sure will back up the theme. Fluffy is tough. Fluffy acts when he needs to. Fluffy will not let us down. Hell, I might even learn something from him. I’ll be writing a lot about women, overcoming my fears, and the growth of this blog. But I can only do that by acting and stepping forward. No theoretical bullshit. Only action.

Power is a state of mind. Hold that thought.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Mix

WALTER, 18, steps up to the camera in a checked shirt and stonewashed jeans- smart but trend-less. The camera appears to be in a doorway of some kind. He wants to get in, gesturing inside, trying a little charm. He's not doing well. As he steps closer to the camera, a DOORMAN'S FIST slams into his face. He staggers off.

Over the scene, CHRIS gives a V/O.

That's Mark, the doorman. He told me this cocky little fraggle stepped up saying “I know Chris Hulston.” Mark was like, “Don't use that name around here.”


Chris sits with IAN, his right-hand man, strangely close on the small couch. Ian has a scratch on his nose. They're watching the footage on a big-screen TV. To the left of the TV, his video rack holds the films Batman Returns, Blue Velvet, Maitresse, A Taste of Honey, Salo, 8mm, Philadelphia, Deliverance, Midnight Cowboy, WWF Wrestling and Spartacus.

What's his name?

Walter. I can't go back in there now because of him. You beat the shit out of him and I guarantee he'll go to the press. The club's door staff will see the article. They'll know I sorted it out.

Ian leans back and notices something sticking out from between the cushion and the armrest of the couch- a small riding whip.

Chris pulls out an unmarked audio tape.

Just so I know it happened. I'll be at a business meeting, so post it through the box and I'll check it when I get back. How's it going with this Charlotte, then?

Well, y'know. Can't believe I got tied down to this shit. If she didn't argue with everyone she meets, and she didn't punch grown men in bars, and she didn't drink pints and belch in strangers faces, meaning you've gotta wade in and protect her, and if she didn't get so wasted that going out with her was like looking after a fucking infant... she'd be a nice girl.

You'll figure it out with her.

I will.

Ian looks at the tape.

I have a plan.


WALTER sits on a couch. Puffing the herb, he stares at the TV. We can't see what's on-screen, but we can hear it.

Unless you want to die a slow, painful death... Stop smoking now.

New McBain chips! They go with everything! These kids just can't get enough!

There's a KNOCK at the door.

Classical music fills the room. Walter stands and slumps to the door.

Order now for Classical Vibes. Relax to this serene collection...

Walter opens the door. A large leather-gloved FIST slams into Walter's face. He flies back into the corridor.

No- no-

IAN pushes Walter onto his arse and begins laying into him. Walter's protests are heard over the music. It's a totally unfair fight. By the time the advert finishes, the man has left and has closed the door behind him.

Walking briskly down the road, Ian pulls a tape recorder out of his back pocket. He rewinds. The device SQUEAKS, then Ian presses PLAY. For a couple of seconds we can hear Walter getting the shit beaten out of him.

A tape marked THE CORRS is inserted into PLAYER A. A blank tape is inserted into PLAYER B. Fingers hit the record buttons.

The Corrs song “What Can I Do to Make You Love Me” plays over the scene, and over the following FLASHBACK MONTAGE:

Ian and a girl, CHARLOTTE, sit together. He goes to hold her hand. She pushes his hand away and sneezes into her own hand. Then she picks his hand up and smiles at him.

Ian's asleep on the couch. Charlotte carefully places some sandpaper into his outstretched hand. She tickles his nose with a pen. He reacts, scratching his face. She finds it hilarious. He does not.


Ian takes the two tapes, marked BEATING and SONG, and puts one in each coat pocket.

Ian pops the tape through the letterbox. He strokes a local cat on his way out.

Ian pulls out the other tape. As he shoves it through the waist-height letterbox he sees the markings: SONG. He freezes. The tape has fallen inside. He starts to breathe heavily. He looks through the letterbox flap.

The cassette is on the floor. Ian reaches through the letterbox, his arm no-where near.

Ian hesitates, and then backs away.

Ian's topless, doing press-ups on his knuckles.

The doorbell RINGS. Ian stands. He looks around the room.

Hang on…

He picks up a belt and stretches it out, like he might strangle someone with it. It's the only thin he can find to defend himself with.

Ian opens the door. Chris is in the hallway, smiling flirtatiously.

Chris. Listen. Fucking hell-

Chris brings a finger up to Ian's lips.

Shhh... Wow. I can't believe it took us so long.

Ian's face changes from controlled panic to blank confusion.

Chris holds up the tape marked SONG.

Ian... Ian... I would never have put you down as the romantic type. Well, Mr. Creative. You don't have to do anything to make me love you. Nothing at all.

Chris pushes Ian back into his corridor, just using the finger still pressed to Ian's lips.

Ian panics and pushes Chris' finger away.


Yes. Yes, I am out. I'm out at last. You noticed, and I'm free because of you. I owe this freedom to you.

Chris pops the buttons on his own shirt.

Now do what you want with me.

Ian's BIG RIGHT HAND lands in his boss' face. Chris stumbles out. Ian slams the door shut. Undeterred, Chris hammers on the door.

Don't fight it, Ian! Accept your feelings darling!

Shower dial being turned to the coldest point.
Water bursting out of shower head
Ian reacting to the cold.
Ian drying off. The doorbell RINGS.

Oh, fuck, here we go again.

Ian opens the door wrapped in a towel. CHARLOTTE stands in the doorway holding the tape marked BEATING.

Charlotte. I can explain, don't-

She SHOVES him back into his corridor and closes the door behind her.

There's something I need to tell you. I, er-

Charlotte SLAPS Ian, hard.

Argh! What the fuck?

She grabs him, ready to slap him again.

I know you like this, you little bitch!

Charlotte rips off her blouse to reveal a black PVC catsuit.

I can't believe it took you so LONG!

She slaps him so hard it brings a tear to his eye.

You fucking psycho!

Oh... keep talking baby. Keep talking.

She kisses him hard on the mouth. He pushes her away, HARD, mid-kiss. He slaps her face. She's laughing now.

Come on, you wuss. Is that it?

Ian runs out, still in the towel.

IAN (Shouting back at her)
Don't speak to me again, you crazy bitch!

Charlotte is still stood in Ian's flat, breathing heavily, staring at the door.

You know you liked it... come on... prove it.

She roots through his wardrobe- shirts, trousers, jeans- no PVC. No whips. No chains. No leather. No rubber.

She goes through his drawers: elastic bands, paper-clips, a pack of cards that have come loose at the bottom and have spread across the drawer. She plucks out a scrap of paper.


It's not just a scrap- it's an envelope. Charlotte opens the tucked-in flap. It's stuffed with £20 notes- a few hundred quid-deep. She checks the drawer for more. She pauses and pulls out what looks like- from the back- a white rectangular card. From Charlotte's side, it's a photograph. It's Chris and Ian. They're both drunken, shirts untucked, outside a bar at closing time. They're hugging, looking somewhat gay.

Chris and Ian locked in a kiss.

Chris opens the door in a dressing gown, eyes full of sleep.

Who are you?

Charlotte stands on the doorstep with the photograph in one hand and the envelope in the other.

I'm your boyfriend's girlfriend. Soon to be ex-girlfriend.

Er, what?

He looks at her outfit.

Okay. I can roll with this.

Charlotte puts the photo in his face.

You turned my boyfriend gay, you bastard.

I wish I had. I AM bisexual, but Chris just works for me.

You're a pimp?!

CHRIS sighs.

No. There's something I want to show you.


Chris and Charlotte sit on the small couch. Chris is showing Charlotte a scrapbook that he's assembled, stuffed full of newspaper clippings.

Look. This is all me and Ian. But you didn't see this here, okay?


Chris shrugs.

Might need to blackmail him one day. You never know.

Wow, I had the wrong end of the…

She finds the same riding crop that Ian found, down the sofa.

Stick. Is this yours?

Charlotte and Chris smile at each other.

Ian sits at his desk in his lounge, filling in an RSPCA job application form. He's on the phone. An answer machine beeps.

Chris, it's Ian. Being a gangster is gay. I'm out. Out of the game, I mean, not... Well. Enjoy your life.

On the form, under MARITAL STATUS, Ian ticks the box SINGLE.

Chris' ANSWER MACHINE blurts out Ian's message, but there's no-one around.

Chris is gimped up and chained to the wall. Charlotte stands in her catsuit in front of him. She WHIPS Chris hard. He loves it.


Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Anti- Tesco Value Challenge: Review

Tesco can't solve all, or even a fraction of, the problems in the developing world but we are a positive force.
-Sir Terry Leahy, former Tesco CEO

Sir Terry might not be able to fix the world's ills, but I suspected that he may be able to help me get back to good health after eating way too much of his company's budget-range foods. For the last month I have purposefully avoided salt-laiden Tesco Value goods, and have begrudgingly shelled out on mid-priced food at my local supermarket. I wanted to know whether eating better would make me look better, feel better and- as I documented here- perform better at the gym.

The only Value range foods I've eaten are eggs and bananas, even swapping from Value to Healthy Living chicken portions. I've started to get back into shape, losing a couple of kilos, and generally, I'm feeling a little sharper.

It's a little difficult to assess how I've performed at the gym as I've included such a stupidly wide range of exercises to work on. Some of these exercises I only managed to test once throughout the month. I've been to the gym around five or six times a week as usual. Excluding pad work classes like Kickboxer Circuit and Boxercise (once each a week), I've done weights pretty regularly. Eating better has improved a few of the exercises I work on at the gym, including:

10 minute cross trainer
Hip Adductor (inside thigh)
Shoulder Press
Vertical Dumbell Fly
Chest Press (horizontal)
Sit-up Machine

Perhaps semi-ironically, I'm not only feeling physically healthier. I'm also more mentally sharp, I'm doing well- perhaps better- in work, I'm getting to grips with memory difficulties (i.e. understanding how I should and do handle the issue, not remembering better- Tesco do not employ psychological magicians), and I'm more optimistic. I've also sorted out more Inland Revenue issues, so not buying value food doesn't hurt the wallet as much either.

So it looks like I'll be shelling out on regular food for the foreseeable future. Value products might be cheap, but- as the cliché says- if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.