Category Archives: Features

Top 7 things Oasis did for us


Happy 20th Birthday to Oasis. You know what this means don’t you? That was all 20 years ago. Twenty years. If ever we needed a doctor, a helicopter, a gin, a tonic and an Alka-Seltzer, it was upon hearing that news. Those marvellous albums have never left my record player. Although, the record player has changed a bit, from the amazing ‘Ghetto Blaster’ I had in my bedroom (with excellent stickers). Aside from great, GREAT songs, here are the top 7 things Oasis gave us:


Oasis were the ultimate kings of Britpop. Blur, Supergrass, Elastica, Pulp, Suede, Sleeper, Shed7, Bluetones, Lush. Ahh it was all so good. The charts were amazing. I’m so glad we picked up that torch when it all ended and just carried on getting better and better. Sorry who…? Jason Derulo? Robin Thicke? Pitbull? Oh bloody hell.

Taping songs off the TV

In the 90s, this is how we all got our music. We held our little tape decks up to the TV when ‘Top of the Pops’ was on, or we recorded songs off the ‘Top 40’ on Sunday afternoon so that all our music had Jane Middlemass on it. ‘Here it is, nomber won, Oaaasis with som might seey….’. Is that not how that song actually starts? Why didn’t our parents help us buy tapes? Seems awfully cruel.


Blur Vs Oasis. Summer 1995. I genuinely believed that I had an important choice to make. It never crossed my mind that, as I liked both songs, perhaps I could hold my little record player up to the TV and record both. No no. I had to choose and I’m sorry to say, I chose Blur. Bloody loved that ‘Country House’. Please don’t tell anyone.


Oasis spent a lot of time telling us they were ‘the best band in the f-ing world’ and after a while, we started to slowly nod and go, ‘oh yeah…. you actually are’. There’s a lot to be said for just telling people you’re brilliant. I’ve been trying it for twenty years now. ‘I’m the best one here you know?’ I tell them all the time at work. I reckon it’s about to kick in. Knebworth, here I come.

Singing along to guitar chords

Before Oasis, we would all sing along to great songs. Sure. We sing our little socks off. ‘I can’t liiiiiive, if livin’ is without yoooou’. But after Oasis, where huge swathes of the songs were massive, brilliant guitar solos, we had no choice but to develop our guitar-singing. Every Oasis fan can sing, note perfect, every bit of guitar in those songs. Including all the computery bits at the start of some of them. Weird. ‘Neow neow neow, nenalinalinalilllll’. D’ya know what I mean?

Album Titles and Covers

I bet you did the following: Bought, ‘What’s the Story (Morning Glory)’ off the back of liking ‘Roll With It’. Then realised this was the second album from this brilliant band. What?! You eagerly returned to HMV with your £8.99 to buy ‘Definitely Maybe’. Then possibly you went to Knebworth, or at least you felt very excited about the whole idea of it. Then a few years later, you queued up to buy ‘Be Here Now’ (OK not actually, but you went straight there after school) and then went round your friends to listen to it while you stared at the album cover for ages, thinking it was immensely cool that it showed ‘today’s’ date. Yes? Thought so.

The Tambourine

Liam turned this instrument from, frankly, an embarrassment, to the coolest instrument around. Before Liam picked it up and gave in a nonchalant shake in between swigs of larger, the tambourine was just what got tossed to you in Double Music, if you were incapable of playing anything else. The Tambourine has Oasis to thank.

Happy Birthday Oasis. I’m a bit sad you all hate each other now.

First published by Cambridge News


Soap Star Disasters Survey for First4Lawyers

Soap Star Disasters


London. E20. Where no special occasion ever goes smoothly and you can abandon your market stall on a moment’s notice. In Albert Square, getting invited to a wedding, or deciding to go for a drink, is a very tense thing.

How much compensation would be due in the following scenarios?

1. When Phil was shot down his front steps, could he have claimed compensation for dry cleaning the blood out of his only nice shirt?

2. Could workers at the Car Lot claim for being forced to spend every day hunched sideways in a porter cabin? Come on Max, it’s time for a bigger office.

3. How much could the residents do with a night out that didn’t start in The Vic and end in the R&R?

4. How much would people save by going home for a cup of tea rather than always going to the caff’?

5. Likewise, could the residents make a saving by buying a washing machine rather than taking their clothes to the launderette?

(Sorry, we’ve got sidetracked)

6. How much compensation could Peggy Mitchell claim for having never had a single mouthful of her Christmas turkey before a fight broke out.

7. How much compensation would be due when the fairground collapsed in 2010?

8. How much compensation would be due when The Vic caught fire in 2010?

An additional sum is awarded each time someone asks, ‘What’s goin’ on?’ or says threateningly, ‘I said, leave it’.


Coronation Street

The most famous and disastrous street in Britain, where members of your family are the people you should trust the least and the unhappy residents are probably due quite a bit of compensation after more than 50 years of turmoil.

1. How many people could have claimed how much compensation after a tram crashed onto the street in 2010 and trashed everything? (Hint: ‘everyone’ and ‘a lot’)

2. How much could the residents claim for the nuisance of Mary’s camper being parked permanently on the street?

3. Is compensation due anyone following the clearly limited career advice they’ve all had at school? The only jobs seem to be at ‘The Rovers’, ‘The Bistro’, the salon or Carla’s bra and knicker factory’.

4. Could Gail and family have claimed compensation after Richard Hillman drove them into a canal? Splash.

5. Could Deidre have a claim after she was wrongly jailed for fraud? Remember those glasses peering forlornly through the bars? It was a sad time.

6. How much compensation was due following the explosion of The Joinery on Peter Barlow’s stag do?

An additional sum can be awarded each time someone ‘pops’ to The Rovers, says ‘give over’, or asks for a ‘barm cake’.



Now we’ve travelled to the most dangerous village in Yorkshire, where no mode of transport is safe. In Emmerdale, it’s best avoid all of the following: Planes, buses, vans, trains, cars and…walking. In fact, just stay home, and even then, switch everything off to be on the safe side.

1.How much compensation could be due from the local hospital? No matter what they go in for, no one ever seems to come out…

2. Could the Sugdens have claimed compensation after a faulty boiler set their house on fire and interrupted their argument.

3. Could Katie Macey have a claim after falling into a mineshaft?

4. Could Jackson have claimed compensation after his van stalled on a railway line and he was hit by a train?

5. Could Genesis Walker have claimed after her car was chased over a ravine? (This might be a trick question. Think about it).

6. How much estimated damage was caused by The Great Emmerdale storm of 2004? Blustery.

An additional sum can be awarded each time someone says they’re ‘going to the Woolly for a pint’.



Over to a tumultuous village in Chester now, where disaster lurks around every corner. How much compensation would be due the victim in the following scenarios:

1.When ‘The Dog’ (pub, not pet) was set on fire, how much of the compensation money would Darren just gamble?

2. How much compensation money could Darren gamble in one afternoon?

(OK sorry, we’ll lay off Darren)

3. When Max Cunningham was run over on his wedding day, how much compensation could Niall have claimed for damage to his car?

4. Poor Tom Cunningham. Over the years, he’s had practically everyone he loves die in a tragic circumstance. How much compensation could he claim for childhood trauma?

5. How much compensation was due when a car crashed into the double wedding of Tony, Cindy, Ste and Doug?

6. Disasters don’t just mean flood, fire and theft you know. What about fashion disasters? How much compensation should the viewers be due after years of having to look at the McQueen family? Our EYES!

An additional sum can be awarded each time ‘The Loft’ burns down, an episode doesn’t begin with someone making their breakfast or Warren Fox reappears even though he’s blatantly ‘died’ several times.

Soap Star Disasters Survey commissioned by Branded3

Is the grass greener? Breaking up in your 30s

If you’re approximately 30 years old and in a long term relationship, chances are you’re already engaged. If you’re not, you may feel that bitter kernel of resentment in the pit of your stomach. Why aren’t you engaged? All your friends are engaged. Loads of them are married. If you are living in a rented flat then why don’t you have a house? Where are your children? All your friends are having children. The self-doubt swells. The panic sets in. The alarms go off. Before you know it, you’re lying in bed, tears in your eyes as you stare at the ceiling. That kernel of resentment reaches up into your throat and makes you say it. ‘I don’t think I want to be together anymore’. Gulp.

Making yourself suddenly single at 30 is serious. Someone usually has to move out of somewhere. You might have to break off an engagement. Give back a ring. Detangle the twisted wires of two lives and start all over again. If this is you, before you take a sledge-hammer and smash it through the middle of your life, you better make sure you’re sure.

In 2013, 42% of our marriages were ending in divorce. If we got married in our 20s, then 53% of us will be divorced before we cut the cake on our Pearl Wedding Anniversary. Pearl is 30 years of marriage, by the way. I never knew that one. Probably because only 38% of us ever make it to Pearl.

Reasons for breaking up are often understandable things like infidelity, domestic violence, hatred, loathing, irreconcilable differences. But in your early 30s the reason might well be purely inertia. And also, panic. A dangerous combination which yes, can sometimes lead you to bright-green new  pastures but often just leads to unhappiness, regret, ready-meals for one and living alone with too many pets.

Sadly these days, young people can’t concentrate for more than 7 seconds. They have to carefully manage their social media personas 24 hours a day and they’ll never live anywhere with stairs, unless their parents can pitch in. There’s an invisible tick list floating above the head of a 30 year old which says: Love, Job, Marriage, House, Children and when waking up on your 30th birthday,  dismayed to find that the whole thing is still unticked, it’s only natural to start at the top of the list. Who are you with and is it them that’s held you up?

Item number one: Love. ‘Whatever ‘love’ is’, as Prince Charles would say. At 30, it’s feasible that you’ve been with your current partner for a pretty long time. Ten years or maybe even more. Just bumping along. Moving in together. What fun.  Engaged maybe? Aren’t we grown up!  When suddenly, things become frighteningly serious. You’re 30. That engagement needs to turn into a wedding. That flat you live in? You need to buy it. Can you buy a flat using your overdraft and £25 worth of coppers you’ve got saved under your bed? No. Do you really love this person? Enough for it to be forever?

Lots of break ups occur under this pressure. Couples report sadly that they  just don’t feel ‘in love’ anymore. Or maybe that they love each other more as ‘friends’. They report a loss of ‘butterflies’. A lack of ‘spark’. A diminishing of ‘unicorns’ and an extinguishing of ‘wizards’. I urge people thinking and saying this sort of thing to get a grip. You are not living in a Harry Potter book.

In this wide-world of uncertainly and of war, of famine and of old people watching TV by themselves in cold front rooms,  if you’ve actually found someone in the swirling, terrifying chaos that loves you and who you love, don’t bin them over a lack of ‘butterflies’, which let’s face is, it nerves. There are nice people breaking up with other nice people, for no other reason than that they want to see if they can do better. This isn’t Deal or No Deal people. Have courage in your convictions. As Al Green said, ‘Let’s Stay Together’.

“Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.” Louis de Bernieres, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin