Who to Vote for (Feat. Rick Edwards)

You saw all the tweets linking you to the online form; you’re registered to vote, you’ve got your polling card* through – you’re all set for May 7th. Slight problem – just who do you vote for? Your dad’s banging on about how politicians are ‘all the bloody same’, your sister’s read Russell Brand’s book and is waffling on about being a ‘Revolution Activist’, and your mate’s practising drawing an elaborate cock and balls in preparation for spoiling his ballot. But you? You don’t know. You haven’t got a clue who’s who, what’s what and most importantly, where to mark your X.

You’ve got just over a week for a crash course in British politics and to make your mind up. Here are a few things out there that can offer you some impartial help, without all the complex jargon that comes with politics:

go to link (*Don’t worry if your polling card hasn’t arrived yet, you don’t actually need it to vote. So when enter site Russell Brand claims people “are free” online prescription Seroquel when they rip theirs up, he’s wrong.)

1) Verto An online tool perfect for first time voters. Answer a series of questions by swiping left or right if you agree or not (think of it like a political Tinder) and Verto will help you find where you stand on the political spectrum

2) Who Should You Vote For? If you’re a bit lazy (guilty) and want an even quicker answer, these 20 questions, where you rank how strongly you agree with a statement, will give you a (very) rough idea of who you should vote for in under 5 minutes.

3) Rick Edwards If the former T4 presenter ever fancies a career change, I suspect plenty of students would be very keen to hear him lecture about government policies and prime ministers as a politics teacher.

The fact that Rick would have a packed classroom isn’t just down to the fact he’s one handsome devil (although it doesn’t hurt) – it’s due to how he’s successfully engaging young people in the seemingly stuffy and boring world of politics.

If you’re a quick reader, Rick’s book None of the Above, is the perfect unbiased guide to everything you need to know before heading to the polling station this May. Think British Politics for Dummies but funny. And not in the slightest bit patronising. It covers everything; from benefits and broken promises, to coalitions and celebrity involvement.

 

But what happens when you learn about all the parties yet feel no one is worthy of your vote? Spoil your ballot! Don’t just stay at home and let the government think you’re apathetic and lazy – still turn up at the polling station and make it be known you’re not impressed with what’s currently on offer. As Rick Edwards says – Your vote is your voice, don’t stay silent.

I’ve interviewed Rick last month (you can read it here but be warned, I do go on). Here are some best bits:

Rick on Russell Brand

While Rick is on a one man mission to get the missing millions to vote, Russell Brand has been very vocal about how he feels voting doesn’t change anything. In None of the Above, throughout the Celebrity Involvement in Politics chapter, Rick praises Russell’s foray into the political world but, unsurprisingly, has some concerns about his reluctance to vote. 

“He’s galvanising people in such a positive way. I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of what he says but never the less, he’s widening the political conversation and that needs to be applauded, totally.

I read Revolution excited; I wanted to know what he suggests we do if we want this revolution, not that I necessarily do, but I was interested in what he had to say. I felt I didn’t really get any answers.

I obviously disagree with his views on voting – I feel they’ll do more harm than good towards young people and that’s why I feel it’s important for me to say the opposite.

I have very briefly mentioned None of the Above to him, and the idea of spoiling your ballot etc, but I don’t think he buys into it unfortunately. Even though, deep down, I think he would like a NOTA option on the ballot paper and recognise it as a revolution from within, if you like. I feel it could sit with his principles but I don’t think he’ll come out in favour of any of that at the moment so I’ll just be the one to keep banging on about it. (Laughter)”

Rick on Pop Star Politics 

Are you old enough to remember Britpop? Back when Noel Gallagher sipped champagne with Labour leader Tony Blair at 10 Downing St, pop and politics mixed – “Cool Britannia” and all that.

Paloma Faith & left wing columnist Owen Jones

Nowadays you won’t find many acts willing to stick their neck out and risk damaging their brand with a mention of politics – apart from Paloma Faith, who’s taken left-wing columnist Owen Jones on tour with her.

“I think it’s great. It’s all about getting people talking about politics – especially those who wouldn’t normally speak about it. Having a political journalist speak to your audience before a gig, some of who will be politically engaged and some who won’t, is obviously a positive thing. Even if they disagree with everything Owen says, and they go away angry and speak with someone about it; that’s engagement and for me, that’s key. It’s really brilliant and I’ve said it to her – a great thing to do.”

Rick on Politicians

It’s become quite fashionable to declare that all politicians are the same: corrupt and evil. Surely some out there are good?

“I strongly believe a lot of politicians get into it for the right reasons and are trying to do good things to help people. I really do. I know this is not a view shared by everyone, by any means. I’ve met a few politicians over the last couple of years who I have really liked and respected and felt that they were genuine. I find that encouraging. If I took the view that they’re actually all pricks and self-serving then it would all be too depressing.”

Rick on LFC

Okay, so technically this isn’t related to politics but I have always wondered how Cambridge born Rick came about supporting Liverpool.

“I support Liverpool for a very pathetic reason; when I was a kid, my dad loved all sports but he was especially keen for me to play football. We’d watch it on TV, but whereas I loved live games and playing, I found watching it on TV boring. When I was about 6, he was forcing me to watch the ‘86 Cup Final and I was bored. He told me to pick a team to support and that way I’d enjoy it and I happened to pick the red team. That is literally it. I have been a Liverpool fan for a long time now and there is no link whatsoever. Purely random – all because I liked red at the time. It could have just as easily have been Everton!

Regarding the Hillsborough Justice Campaign; the work and dedication they have put in for getting justice for the 96 killed is just incredible and I’ve got nothing but respect for those people. It just shows what can be done if you care about something and don’t let things lie. It demonstrates just what people can achieve if they keep going – even with some serious obstacles in their way.”

Remember to vote May 7th. Find out where you polling station is here.

See also: Interview: Rick Edwards

Interview: Jameela Jamil

The owner of the fabbest fringe in showbiz ™, Jameela Jamil may have left Radio One to have a bit of a gap year, but she’s not exactly just swanned off to Australia to ‘find herself’ or down buckets at Full Moon parties in Thailand. The former T4 presenter has added ‘Kick Ass Campaigner’ to her CV with her latest project, “Why Not People?”

jam

The social enterprise aims to create incredible events for people with disabilities and stamp out the stigma attached to living with a disability. Why Not People? ignores the notion of limits and discrimination and caters to all people from all walks of life. With accessible venues and the finest talent on the planet, they promise to put on gigs, events and club nights you’ll never forget.

As a teenager, Jameela was hit by a car and spent a year badly debilitated; unable to enjoy going out with her friends or even use public transport. However, it’s not solely her own experiences that motivated her to found Why Not People?

“Two years ago I was talking with my best friend of 2 years Charlie, who has cerebral palsy. We were talking about how there is nowhere for him to go out and meet people; to have fun and socialise like everyone else. Our social experiences growing up were so different and it was purely down to him having a disability – we’re the same person so it’s not fair. I said I’d try and help him in some way which when I realised there was nothing out there; nowhere for someone with disabilities to go and be treated as an equal – not as a burden or a fire hazard. So I thought, “Fuck it, I’m going to create on myself.”

Membership opened back in March and with an impressive contacts book, Jameela has been able to get the likes of Tinie Tempah, Mark Ronson, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay on board – with Tinie Tempah headlining the first gig next month.

“The plan is to have an event every few months and scatter them across London and the UK, depending on where the artist is going to be. We’re going to try and fill up a whole load of them at the Indegio at the 02 because the access is really good there. We’re able to import a load of disabled access porto-loos which is very important. This is just the beginning then, hopefully, we’ll get our own festival space.”

“When I’m DJing and looking at a crowd of 6000 people, and not one of them has physical disability, I just imagine if it I were to play to an all Caucasian crowd? That just wouldn’t happen.  It’s ridiculous. It’s not an accurate representation of our society where 11.8 million people in the UK live with a disability and have an 80 billion pound spending power. These businesses shouldn’t even consider it charity; they should just do it for business reasons. How many clubs etc do we see closing down and you think, “If you made it accessible then you’d make so much money as there are millions of people who just want a night off and shake off the week like everyone else. “

It’s important to note that while Why Not People? may need donations (DONATE HERE – subtle hint, guys), this is NOT a charity. Instead, it acts a social enterprise – a business where society profits.

 “We don’t make a profit really, but charity is sometimes the last thing people with disabilities want. That’s how I felt anyway; we don’t want charity or pity – we just want to a normal night that’s safe and fair.

We want it to be an example to other companies; to prove that people do buy tickets, they do come out, and big artists will come and perform.

Eventually, what I’d like to happen is that in 10 years’ time so many people do this that my company doesn’t need to exist as there’s too much competition. That would make me so happy.”

Find out more about Why Not People? via any of the links below:

www.indiegogo.com/projects/why-not-people#home

www.whynotpeople.com

Follow Why Not People? on Twitter

See also: Interview: Rick Edwards

Interview: Rick Edwards

Originally published for OPEN Magazine

Over the past few years, only 38% of those aged 18 – 24 have voted in any election – that’s 18% less than the EU* average. In 2010, over 65s were 23% more likely to get down to a polling station than the under 25s. This “generation gap” is a seemingly recent development; in 1992 the difference was just 12%.  Something isn’t right. Are the youth of Britain actually apathetic and lazy, or is the system failing the younger members of society?

(*The European Union – that thing Nigel “I’m not racist but…” Farage is always banging on about leaving.)

“I so very rarely come across anyone that’s like ‘No, I have no interest in politics whatsoever’ – really, really rare,” BBC Free Speech host Rick Edwards tells us. “So something is going wrong. Is it in school? Is it a lack of political education? The barriers? Is politics not accessible?”

Whatever the cause may be, Rick is on a one man mission to recruit those missing voters. While many may have scoffed at the presenter of a show calledTool Academy turning his hand to more political matters, the former face of T4 is silencing any doubters; engaging an alienated generation in politics and urging them to use their voice and vote.

It’s all very well encouraging people to get on the electoral register, but some may not have a clue where to mark their X once they get in the polling station. That’s where None of the Above steps in to help – Rick’s unbiased guide to all the country’s major parties, the elective system and all the issues affecting UK citizens. Think British Politics for Dummies but funny, and not patronising either. If after learning about who wants your vote and what they pledge to do for you, you don’t feel anyone is a worthy candidate, None of the Above comes complete with a handy sticker to help you spoil your ballot.

With the deadline to register to vote Monday 20th April, and the election less than a month away, OPEN had a chat with Rick Edwards to find out why he thinks young people don’t vote, what needs to be done, and just how he feels about Russell Brand’s reluctance to exercise his democratic right.

OPEN: There’s a general feeling that young people* aren’t politically active. March’s budget appealed to homeowners, savers, married people – basically, an older voter. It seems the fact the under 25’s don’t vote has resulted in politicians not bothering to appeal to them.  How different do you think a budget would be if young people actually got down to the polling station?

RICK EDWARDS: I think you’re absolutely right – I think if politicians in government – and not in government – thought that young people were going to vote in the numbers that old people do then you would see that in their budgets and policies. Unfortunately, I don’t think at the moment because they kind of know that young people aren’t going to vote as much as older people are so they look after the people they know do. That’s why we have a big problem as young people aren’t getting the care that they deserve.

It’s such a vicious cycle. If I’m a young person and watch that budget, or listen to politicians of all parties and they’re not saying anything specifically relevant to me I’m going to feel like I don’t care, so I don’t vote. Then the politicians don’t have any incentive to appeal to me and the cycle continues. It’s dangerous and that’s the cycle that needs to be broken – either by young people suddenly voting in much greater numbers or politicians courting the youth vote by saying what they can do for young people with stuff like minimum wage, affordable housing etc.

 

We say young people aren’t voting but we all become older eventually. Our parents and grandparents voted from a young age – do you see this as a generational problem?

Well, so I guess the question really is, if you don’t vote when you’re younger, will you ever vote? I think the answer is, yes, but not as much as you’d expect. You’re much less likely to vote later in life and that is going to cause a decline in voting numbers which again, it’s not a good thing – you want as many people exercising their democratic right as possible. That’s democracy functioning at its best but it’s quite important to not see this as a generational war, pitting young people against old people because as you say, they’re not two distinct groups  – young people do become old people.

When I refer to generations, I mean more so like millennials etc. Will we become the under 25s that are one day over 65s that don’t vote?

Ah I understand. Actually, it’s a good question. Honestly, I don’t know the answer. It’s safe to say young people of comparative age in the 60’s and 70’s were voting much more, so there is a clear distinction there but what has that been caused by? I don’t really know which makes the problem harder to solve. If you know what’s causing it it’s easier to deal with. I suppose what I’m trying to do is focus on things I think will help, as opposed to what the causes were. Are you a millennial?

I guess, I’m 25.

And what are your feelings on it?

Well, I’m a bit of an anomaly as I’m from quite a politically active family so I grew up aware of the importance of voting so I don’t think my views are necessarily the norm. I know a few people who don’t vote simply because it’s quite a complicated process (NB – it’s not,register HERE) – I’ve struggled to register this year, taking three times online and ringing up multiple times, so I can see why many don’t bother.

Exactly. There are all these barriers to entry which shouldn’t be there. Like you say, if you’re not really kind of engaged to think “I will sort this” then you are more likely to think “Oh, it feels like they don’t want me to get involved anyway, I’ll just give up.” And there are so many ways we can change that. It’s frustrating.

I don’t think it’s just the system though – I think a lot of young people, particularly the working classes, feel like they haven’t got anyone to vote for. Many see Labour as Tories with a smile.

Do you think that? I can see why you’d think that about New Labour but I feel like with Miliband it is different. 

I quite like Ed Miliband. I think it’s funny when people say he’s not tough enough to be Prime Minister, yet they’re quite happy to vote for a man scared to debate with a supposedly weak man. The TV elections are a great thing and really help a lot of swinging voters.

They really are. David Cameron himself said those TV debates in 2010 really did engage people and that’s where a lot of people got their information from ahead of that election. I think Ed Miliband has actually been talking about trying to introduce legislation where the leaders are obliged to take part in a debate – quite interesting. 

I saw you tweeting David Cameron the other month about him appearing on the BBC Three’s Free Speech – have you had any response from him yet?

We have been nagging him for a while now to come on Free Speech, we don’t know yet, but we think his schedule isn’t going to allow it. It’s a bit of a shame as we’ve obviously had all the other leaders from the major parties on. I just thought, maybe a tweet would help (Laughter) and goad him into it but weirdly, he hasn’t got back to me. 

Do you think there’s a danger of first time voters just following family traditions and copying their parents vote?

It’s probably more worrying that if your parents don’t vote than you don’t vote – that concerns me more than “My parents vote this way so I’m going to too.”

Maybe the first time they may be led but after that you start making your own decisions, I do believe that. Also, the number of people that associate with parties strongly is so low now that’s it’s probably a small number. I suspect there aren’t many families that are die hard Labour or Tory and therefore not many kids are getting, not the right word, but indoctrinated by their mum and dad. So yeah, it worries more if your parents don’t vote, you don’t.

I voted because my parents did. Interestingly, my parents have never told me, or each other, who they vote for – which I really like. Lived together 40 years and never once told each other.

My grandad refuses to tell me who he votes for which I don’t understand – I’m proud of my vote and explaining why I vote for who I do.

Well obviously I don’t know your granddad – as far as I know – but with my mum and dad I think it’s for a few reasons. My mum is quite private and I think she’s concerned they may argue about it. My dad is a stronger character and could persuade her when she just wants to do it in peace so they don’t really talk about politics a great deal.

I like the fact I know both my parents take it seriously privately.

And to be fair, broadly speaking, I know who my parents have voted for at every election. I know them pretty well and what they want and what’s important to them – You can figure it out but they never explicitly say. Weirdly, it’s prepared me for working for the BBC – I’m not allowed to express any opinion on anything.

Do you think you would be vocal if you didn’t work for the BBC?

If I did the same kind of job to some extent in the public eye and if I felt really strongly about an issue or a campaign I think I would speak out. Though I haven’t voted for different parties at every election but nearly, so my vote is all over the place and it would be hard for me to come out and support a party. I think I’d be more likely to speak about a specific issue or campaign I imagine and that in itself might slightly align me with a party but not explicitly.

Have you made your mind up who you’re voting for next month?

I think so. As it gets closer you think more about it and it could change but I enjoy the process of thinking about it. My vote is partly to do with the candidates in my area in North London. I know the candidates, not personally, but there’s one that I like!

I won’t ask anymore and get you in trouble but you say that there is one you like which is rare – it seems the norm to hate politicians and think they’re all corrupt.

I strongly believe a lot of politicians get into it for the right reasons and are trying to do good things to help people. I really do. I know this is not a view shared by everyone, by any means. I’ve met a few politicians over the last couple of years who I have really liked and respected and felt that they were genuine. I find that encouraging. If I took the view that they’re actually all pricks and self-serving then it would all be too depressing.

It must be annoying being asked about him all the time but, Russell Brand! He’s gone down a very different route than you – encouraging people not to vote without really having an alternative plan in place. Do you wish he’d support spoiling a ballot instead?

Firstly, it’s great that he’s widening the political conversation; making more people aware of issues they may not know about. He needs to be applauded and encouraged, totally.

I obviously don’t agree with what he says about not voting. I read Revolution excited as I wanted to know what he suggests we do, if we want revolution. It’s not that I necessarily want one, but I was interested to see what he had to say, but I feel he didn’t really give me any answers.

So I don’t agree with a lot he says but never the less, I think he’s galvanising people in a positive way.

I’ve very briefly mentioned None of the Above to him, and spoiling your ballot etc., but I don’t think he buys into it, unfortunately. Even though, deep down, I think he would like a None of the Above option on the ballot paper – like a revolution from within, if you like. It could sit with his principles but I don’t think he’ll come out in favour of any of that at the moment so I’ll be the one to keep banging on about it (laughter). 

Finally, one none political question, just because I’m curious – why do you support Liverpool FC? You’re not from the city and don’t seem to have any links to the club?

I support Liverpool for a very pathetic reason – when I was a kid my dad loved all sports but he was especially keen for me to play football. We’d watch it on TV, but whereas I loved live games and playing, I found watching it on TV boring. When I was about 6, he was forcing me to watch the ‘86 Cup Final and I was bored. He told me to pick a team to support and that way I’d enjoy it and I happened to pick the red team. That is literally it. I have been a Liverpool fan for a long time now and there is no link whatsoever. Purely random – all because I liked red at the time. It could have just as easily have been Everton!

Regarding the Hillsborough Justice Campaign; the work and dedication they have put in for getting justice for the 96 killed is just incredible and I’ve got nothing but respect for those people. It just shows what can be done if you care about something and don’t let things lie. It demonstrates just what people can achieve if they keep going – even with some serious obstacles in their way.

* “By the way, I wish there was a better term for young people than ‘young people’. I know it’s hopelessly patronising, especially given I am not one. I am open to alternative suggestions. For now, though, I’ll persist with young people. Just know that I wince every time I write it.”  Expert from None of the Above

Same, Rick. Same.

None of the Above is out now

See also: Are You Registered to Vote?

The Shitty Experiences of People on Zero-Hours Contracts

As we approach the last few weeks before this year’s General Election, The Telegraph isn’t even pretending to be anything but a Tory propaganda machine. This front page features a letter from more than 100 of the country’s most senior business figures; warning that a Labour government would “threaten jobs and deter investment” in the UK. The whole thing’s a bit weird when you think about it – do these 103 multi-millionaires all lunch together at Pret and brainstorm ideas like this? Did they dismiss the (easier) idea of one of them just tweeting the sentiment and all of them retweeting it? Which one of them thought, “You know what? The general public really needs to hear about how amazing we find the Corporation Tax cuts – let’s write a letter to The Telegraph like it’s still the 90’s when that was a thing.”

Fed up of hearing the opinions of the country’s richest speaking about how taxes affect them (if it’s not business leaders, it’s pop stars crying about the proposed mansion tax) I asked a few of my friends to talk about their experience on a zero-hours contract and earning below The Living Wage.

“My experience was absolute hell,” admits Chloe from Liverpool. “I was employed on a zero-hours contract at a local pub, which I was wary of, but had no other option with the job market as it was. Initially it was fine – I was a full-time member of staff, regularly doing 35 plus hours a week, and the first time it became an issue was when I became sick and learnt that as a zero-hours contract employee I wasn’t entitled to any sick pay.”

“One morning, I travelled all the way into work to discover the doors were locked; with a letter from the bailiffs’ plastered to the window. I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I spent all day trying to get through to the owners (who ignored my calls) and eventually learnt, via the local press, that they had fallen behind on rent and the pub would be closed until they paid their back payments. I didn’t get paid on time that week and spent the next two weeks in limbo. I couldn’t go sign on, as I technically still had a job, so I started to look for other work. The pub eventually reopened two weeks later but the owners didn’t feel the need to apologise to us, or even acknowledge what had happened – it was a fortnight where I didn’t receive any income and truly learnt just how little working rights I have.”

It was only last week that George Osborne, a man who looks like his sex life is exclusively a sad hand job on his birthday, the Chancellor unveiled his final budget before the election.

“More pubs saved, jobs created, families supported – and a penny off a pint for the third year in a row,” George proudly declared to the Deputy Speaker.

“More jobs may be created in the hospitality sector but it’s not exactly secure employment based on my experience,” John from Manchester recalls.

“I had been unfairly dismissed from my job and unable to even apply for benefits for weeks.”

“Last year I was working in a city centre restaurant. It was all going pretty well and I’d been there a few months. But then one shift my manager made a mistake regarding a customer payment from a table in my section. It was quite a large amount, and as the owners were in he didn’t want to admit fault, so immediately sacked me instead. I got home and straightaway started looking at claiming unfair dismissal. However, I learnt that you can’t put a case forward unless you’ve worked for the employer for at least two years. So that was it – I had been unfairly dismissed from my job and unable to even apply for benefits for weeks.”

Stories like this are all too common. Having personally worked in venues that would take money out of wages to cover shortages from theft etc (but weirdly enough, staff would never see a penny should the till be up), bars that forced employees to work Bank Holidays for regular pay or face being sacked (all legal thanks to those lovely zero-hours contracts), and clubs where you’d be expected to work until 2am, go home and be back in by 9am. What’s that you say? The Daily Rest Rule clearly states you must have an 11 hour break between shifts. Oh, that’s so cute you think zero-hours contract, minimum wage workers have such rights – access to this ‘luxury’ is normally signed away before you start a job. When you work on a zero-hours contracts you grow to accept that paying to travel into work, only to find out your shift is cancelled, is just the way it is. You know that you have no right to strike as you’ll just be sacked immediately if you show disgust at the way your working environment is operating. You scrape together enough money to put a deposit down on renting a flat but discover you can’t be considered a tenant as you don’t have a regular employment contract; even though you’ve been working more than 40 hours a week for over a year. You have less employment rights than an animal appearing on television and you put up with it, because what else can you do?

Some may be reading this and still argue that zero-hours contracts have their benefits for the employee; students, for example, who may want flexible working contracts while they study. For those who think that, I have saved the best (or worst) until last – my friend Lauren, who couldn’t attend her own mother’s funeral without the fear of losing her zero-hours contract job!

“When my mum died I had been employed by a bar for over two years and had never really worked less than 35 hours a week. Obviously when my mum died, the last thing I wanted to be doing the next day was pulling pints. I knew being on a zero-hours contract I wouldn’t receive any wages for any time off but I didn’t expect to receive such pressure to get back to work after only two days off. Surely, if you’re going to argue that zero-hours contracts benefit the worker too, I would have been able to take a week off to grieve my mum without having to worry that I wouldn’t have a job to return to. Luckily, my friends there all covered my shifts and ensured that there would be no reason to dismiss me but it shouldn’t have been that way. I will never forget how disgusting I was treated by my employers – when I returned I was made to feel like I’d been sunning myself on a beach for a week, not burying my mother. Thank God I found another job not long after.”

While the Conservative Party and their supporters may want to think ‘Britain is Working’ they must admit that it’s only working for employers. The Telegraph may think that multi-millionaires supporting tax breaks that make them richer is front page news, but it’s not really the hot topic down the food banks; where an estimated 100,000 people are receiving emergency food parcels. The fifth of UK workers that don’t earn the living wage aren’t exactly going to be psyched to hear the rich discussing getting richer while they don’t even make 7 quid an hour.

Why doesn’t The Telegraph give a voice to the 1.8 million workers exploited in Britain on a zero-hours contract rather than the minority that have seen their average pay increase by 14% under Conservative rule? Although, that would only be too fair on low paid workers and that’s not really what Tories are all about, is it?

See also: Budget Bullshit

Capital of Boobs: Trying Alternatives to Going Under the Knife

Originally published in OPEN Magazine

Kim Kardashian’s oiled up behind attempted to #breaktheinternet earlier this year, and although the web remained intact, the hysteria surrounding her backside certainly reaffirmed our fascination with all things booty related.

2014 saw a 13% increase in Brazilian Bum Lifts across the UK, and no one could escape the 30 Day Squat Challenge. But while it may seem like boobs have taken, ahem, a ‘back seat’ to bums, breast augmentation still remains the most popular form of plastic surgery. Based on last year’s facts and figures, Liverpool is now the boob job capital of the UK; more women across the city are getting silicone implants than anywhere else in the country.

While Merseyside is certainly still in love with ballooned boobs, the rest of the country seems to be deflating. Following the lead of the likes of Victoria Beckham and Katie Price, not only has demand for boob jobs dropped by a quarter, many women have actually had their implants removed or reduced.  A shift seems to be occurring; glamour model style tits are out, a natural, ‘less is more’ look is in. Are Scousers *gasp* becoming a bit dated with our quest to fill DD bras? Liverpool normally leads the crowd, not lags behind – what is happening?

pam

Not all trends from the 90’s make a comeback

 

“For me it’s not about fashion, or having massive Pamela Anderson style boobs,” Rachel, 27 argues in defence of meddling with what God gave you. “I’m currently putting every spare penny I have towards my boob job fund. I’m a 32B and I want to go up just a couple of cup sizes, nothing fake looking. It’s for confidence – nothing to do with trends or fashion. I’ve felt this way for years so this isn’t a flippant decision.”

With Rachel adamant that she wants to go ahead with her plan, but the average cost of surgery around £5000, we decided to explore a few cheaper, non-surgical alternatives to going under the knife.

The non-surgical boob job

The effects of a boob job without the pain, surgery or scars? With this sounding just too good to be true, Pure Rise on Rodney St (the only place in the UK to offer this procedure) had to be our first port of call.

A quick look at some amazing before and after pictures had us intrigued; how are such incredible results achieved without even so much as a needle? But before we could start bombarding Caroline, the director of Pure Rise, with questions, she got something more important than increasing a bra size out the way – a breast check.

photo 2

Before a session at Pure Rise

“It’s shocking how many girls don’t know how to examine their breasts,” she revealed while feeling Rachel’s breasts for any lumps. “There is a huge history of breast cancer in my family and I want to do as much as I can to help educate women about what to look out for,” she explains. “I’d much rather girls come here to boost their breast size rather than risk going under the knife or stick needles in their boobs that can be so damaging to your health.”

With Rachel’s 34B’s thoroughly checked, it was time to see if she could become another of Pure Rise’s success stories.  The treatment involves a combination of vacuum suction, massage vibration, micro current charge and photo dynamic light therapy. And what does all that entail? Lying back on a bed while some big clear cups vibrate over your breasts, basically.

“It feels so weird,” Rachel squirmed as I laughed at her boobs jiggling in clear, cone cups. “It’s a bit uncomfortable at first but it’s quite relaxing, in an odd way.”

After...wow!

After…wow!

The whole process takes around 30 – 40 minutes with absolutely no side effects, other than a slight bit of redness straight afterwards. The length of how long the results last varies, but typically one session will last around 7 days and the more you have, the more prolonged the effects are.

Acting as a temporary alternative to going under the knife, it’s a fantastic way to ‘Try before you buy’ if you’re in the market for bigger boobs. After all, you wouldn’t drop 5 grand on say, a dress without making sure it was the perfect fit, so you need to check you suit larger breasts before parting with your cash at the plastic surgeons.

www.purerise.co.uk Prices start from just £50

Rachel’s verdict: Absolutely amazing. I still can’t get over how instantaneous the results were. Looking in the mirror was like looking at someone else’s boobs! I only wish the results were permanent then I wouldn’t even be looking into surgery. I will certainly be coming here again before my holiday this summer!

Hello Boys….and bras

Since the Wonderbra first burst into our lives way back in the 90’s, the underwear industry hasn’t stopped developing and improving bras that boost our assets. The high street has plenty of offerings promising to give the ‘Hello Boys’ effect, but which one out there creates a cleavage that could stop traffic? Well you’ll find it alongside cock rings and nipple tassels – that’s right, Ann Summers boasts the best one on the market with their Triple Boost Plunge Bra.

hello boys

 

Rachel’s verdict: Although it’s fabulous for if I needed boobs to fill out dress, or want a killer cleavage, it’s still just a bra – it’s not really a long term solution for me. However, it is without doubt the best bra I’ve ever tried.

Makeup magic

Hollywood blockbusters are praised for their CGI etc, but some of the real special effects you see on screen come from expertly applied bronzer and blending. It’s no secret that in the past, the boobs of flatter chested leading ladies have been boosted in the makeup room, most notably Kiera Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean. “They painted my tits on me for the films, which is extraordinary because it’s kind of a dying art form,” the actress revealed back when promoting the franchise. “And I loved it, completely loved it. Because it was the first time in my life I had big tits, and I didn’t even need surgery.”

Keira said the process of creating the cleavage took 45 minutes every morning before filming started.

Keira said the process of creating the cleavage took 45 minutes every morning before filming started.

This isn’t something reserved for the A List; contouring the chest is becoming increasingly popular across the region.

“A lot of smaller chested girls have asked me if I can teach them how to strategically apply a bit of bronzer & shimmer across their chest to create an illusion,” local make-up artist Louise divulged. “It’s certainly something a lot of brides look into for their special day.”

While some in possession of A cups may resent their bee stings, they can’t deny the pro of being able to wear floaty, strappy tops without ugly bra straps on show. Learning how to deceptively blend and bronze is perfect for when you want to ditch the bra filled with more chicken fillets than a Nandos.

“The first thing to remember, keep all your products Matte,” Louise wisely advices. “Too much sparkle and glitter all over your chest and everyone will be onto you.”

“There’s not much to it really,” she explains as talking us through the steps. “It’s a case of getting a large body brush with some bronzer and running it down the crease of your boobs. Then you need to take a highlight and trace an ‘m’ shape over the top of your breasts. Finish off with a brush of bronzer over the same ‘m’ shape and you should be good to go. This is a very simple guide, you can get some great YouTube tutorials, but this is roughly all you’ll be doing.”

Rachel’s verdict: This is a nice trick to master but ultimately, like the bra, it’s not really a solution. Although, I must admit, I will contour my chest as much as my cheeks now I know what to do.

And what’s the overall outcome? Will Rachel be helping Liverpool retain its title as Boob Job Capital of the UK next year or has she been swayed to stay away from the surgeon?

“I’m certainly going to carry on saving up,” she admitted. “However, after hearing Caroline talk about breast cancer and her experiences, it definitely made me slightly more reluctant to go down the surgery route and meddle with my breasts. I think I’m going to have a few more sessions at Pure Rise done and see how I get on. Getting my boobs done could end up being a regular appointment; like having your nails or eyebrows done. I’m not promising I won’t go under the knife but I really glad I explored a few options.”

See also: 10 Things Girls With Big Boobs Hate About the Summer

Jeremy Clarkson: Political Correctness Gone Mad?

I’ve had some arguments with my dad in the past but I’ve never hated him enough to buy him a Jeremy Clarkson book as a ‘present’. While I’m no fan of Top Gear, mainly because I participate in sex positions other than missionary, many enjoy the programme; it’s estimated that the show has an audience of 350 million worldwide.

This week the nation’s most infamous petrol head, and host of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson was suspended by the BBC for his involvement in a ‘fracas’ (posh people speak for ‘a fight’). The exact story isn’t yet known but Clarkson apparently punched a producer due to his dinner not being served correctly. This has caused outrage amongst many across country; over 460,000 people to be precise. That’s the number of signatures, and counting, on a petition urging the BBC to reinstate him immediately. You read correctly -they’re not horrified by Clarkson’s alleged assault, but that the public service broadcaster BBC have finally suspended a man on his final warning by his employers after his racial slur shame last year. That’s more than put their name to a past campaign to end female genital Mutilation (FGM).

For those of us amongst us that don’t feel the need to label bigoted Clarkson ‘a total ledge’, or declare his suspension as ‘political correctness gone mad’, we possess the common sense to see that if someone is constantly reprimanded for multiple counts of racism, general sexism, making disgusting  comments about the disabled and the mentally ill, constant homophobia, and let’s not forget, drink driving, eventually you’re going to be suspended from your job.

For me personally, it’s not just the fact he wants to check every box on the ‘How to be a bigot’ checklist; he’s just not funny. He reminds me of a tragic, sad old man at a party who goes around sexually harassing anyone under the age of 30, as everyone looks at each other as if to say “Don’t worry – with the amount he’s smoking and drinking he won’t be at the next function with any luck.”

As soon as you argue that you dislike David Cameron’s driving buddy you get accused of being a part of the ‘PC Brigade’ or an oppose of free speech. Not me. You can’t offend me. You can anger me, insult me and disgust me, but it’s pretty hard to offend me.  Not wanting Jeremy Clarkson to appear on your TV isn’t a strike against free speech; it’s the perfect execution of freedom of speech actually –voicing anger that a publicly funded television company continues to employ one of their most profitable cash cows. People can say whatever they want but others don’t have to like it (or be happy that their licence fee goes towards Clarkson’s estimated £12 million salary).

Jeremy Clarkson may be a ‘breath of fresh air in a PC world’ to some but to me that breath stinks of stale fags and bigotry.

If you really must sign the Jeremy Clarkson petition, do it. But please, also spend 5 minutes of your time signing something worthwhile too. Here are three petitions close to my heart:

ASK YOUR MP TO BAN RIP-OFF LETTING AGENT FEES

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll probably be aware of the fact that letting agents are one of the reasons I have high blood pressure in my early twenties. I can’t say anymore through fear of being evicted for complaining – 2015 Britain, eh? Before moving into their new home, renters often get hit with spurious fees supposedly covering administration, inventory, references, guarantors, deposit protection, maintenance charges and credit checks. Then letting agents find other excuses to charge more fees, for example when someone moves in or out of a shared house or at the end of a tenancy. Follow @genrentuk for more about the current renting and housing crisis.

SAVE THE NHS

The NHS is one of the few things that makes me proud to be British. Whatever your political stance, it cannot be denied that our national health services is crumbling and on it’s way to be privatised. This isn’t necessarily a petition but you can sign up to learn more about the biggest battle the NHS faces to date.

STOP THE CUTS TO FURTHER EDUCATION IN ENGLAND

A huge majority of my friends are teachers, and while I may make awfully tired jokes about their holidays etc, the work they do is under appreciated by many. They may get six weeks off in the summer but I know most of them to currently be working 60 hour weeks as the norm.

The cut to funds for further education will leave millions of the most vulnerable adults without access to any opportunity to improve their education or retrain and put thousands of FE jobs at risk.

And if you really can’t help yourself when it comes to silly petitions:

MAKE WRONGLY DESCRIBING A CASSEROLE WITH A PASTRY LID AS A PIE A CRIMINAL OFFENCE

This piece originally featured on Scarlett Wonderland. Below are few more articles of mine from the site:

The Emotional Stages of Quitting Smoking

The One Before The One

Why You Should Date a Scouser

Life Lessons From Bring It On

Get the Grand National Look

It Was Acceptable In The 80’s……

Full article published HERE

Recently, pictures of Jennifer Lopez looking all ‘fire emoji’ haven’t been able to be shared without someone adding a caption along the lines of ‘Can you believe this hot woman is 45?’ Well yeah, I can actually – it’s not a shock to me that a woman can be attractive after the age of 30. While it’s incredibly tedious that JLo can’t slay on the red carpet (I haven’t used the slay term correctly, have I?) without banging on about her having the cheek to be a fitty in her forties, it does always remind me that my mum is the same age as her.

Like my mum, JLo was a teenager in the 80’s – aka the worst decade for fashion since the 19th century when wearing a corset every single day was a thing (seriously, fuck that). Frizzy perms, stone wash denim, leg warmers, shoulder pads and, the most famous 80’s fashion & beauty connotation of them all – blue eye-shadow.

While my mum may have traded her baby blues for a smokey eye kit these days, her ‘Class of 1987’ pal Ms Lopez is leading the way for blue eye-shadow to be spring’s hottest trend.

Photographed at the American Idol finalist party last night, Jennifer Lopez swapped her usual bronzed look for frosty baby blue eye-shadow, and you know what? Totally pulled off this season’s hottest new beauty trend.

FUN FACT* ALERT: Did you know? Blue eye shadow in the Victorian period was considered a way of showing you had a weak and innocent heart.

*NOT IN ANY WAY GUARANTEED TO BE FUN

jlo

While Jen (yeah, we’re close – I call her Jen) may have looked a solid ten with her ice queen theme, she could probably pull off dressing exclusively in Jane Norman 2002 sale items, so I’m not entirely convinced just yet. I asked my makeup artist mate (every girl should have a MUA as a BBF – they’re so handy) whether ‘Sarah from Scotty Road’ will be able to pull this trend off as well as Jenny from the Block?

“I’m not going to lie, it’s not for everyone,” she told me while showing me a blue mascara from YSL which reminded me of the days of hair mascara from Claire’s Accessories. “It’s certainly one of the new beauty looks for the spring but it will be tricky for some to work. Baby blue will almost certainly only really suit those with fair skin and dark hair but you can always use different shades if you want to participate in the trend. Fashion and beauty is about having fun so don’t be afraid to give something a go.”

“I recently had a client going to a wedding who wanted her eyes to match her blue dress. I was a bit dubious at first but the result was fab. I suggest using 2 shadows; a light and a dark blue. Use the lighter shade to go up until your browbone and the darker colour for the eye creases. As with most eye looks, blending is key. Have a play around with different shades and see what works best for you.”

I’m off to call my mum to see if see has any more tips from the 80’s.

See also: Things All Girls With Big Boobs Know to Be True

Group Therapy: FACT’s New Mental Health Exhibition

Originally published for OPEN Magazine

It’s been 10 years since I upgraded my Morgan schoolbag to a little Warehouse number and sauntered off to college; thinking that I looked the height of sophistication. If you’re ever looking for a reminder that you’re now hurtling towards 30, the realisation that nearly a whole decade has passed since you attended your leavers’ prom, dressed like a reluctant bridesmaid, ought to do it. I sat my GCSE’s during a time when Steve Brookstein had a number one album, the Crazy Frog ringtone was very much a thing, and The Sugababes had only so far made their way through two line ups.

A lot has changed over the past decade when it comes to technology; MySpace is over (Give it up, Justin – you can bring sexy back but not MySpace); you can check your bank balance online, unlike the quite frankly barbaric days where you had to go to an actual cash machine or local branch; and possibly the most impressive – you can order, and track, your takeaway via your phone. That’s right; the Just Eat app has got your back to ensure you don’t need to go to all that hassle of making a 30 second phone call to Nabzys.

Although catering to my desire to reduce my human interactions to an absolute minimum, not all technological developments are positive. I may be the first to roll my eyes when my mum tells me all about the latest ‘Digital Detox’ she’s read about in The Guardian, but when you start to dread the sound of your phone’s notification alerts, it’s hard not to wish you had the willpower to log off everything for a few days.

Back to the start of my college days, all those years ago; the smartphone was in its infancy, and there was no danger of your teacher adding you on Facebook, as half your classmates hadn’t even got an account yet. However, although being ‘tagged’ was still associated with a playground game, not a photo of yourself online, Revenge Porn still managed to make an appearance on campus. One afternoon saw every student in the cafeteria receive grainy footage via Bluetooth (God, I’m old) of a fellow pupil engaging in a sex act. Back in 2005, Revenge Porn wasn’t even a term – let alone illegal. While teenagers (and, rather disgustingly, some lecturers) buzzed off a bit of salacious gossip, and being part of what was to become a local viral sensation, no one really stopped to think about the mental health implications for the victim of something now dubbed ‘virtual rape’.

Sadly, we all know this wasn’t a one off event; the past decade has seen many, celebrities included, become the targets of iCloud hacks, leaked nudes and gross invasions of privacy; with technology lending a hand to the abusers. Whether it’s a teenage girl having her topless one second Snapchat screenshot, or Jennifer Lawerence’s entire camera roll ending up online, the digital age is proving to be problematic. Throw in online abuse; with Twitter’s chief executive recently acknowledging in a leaked memo that the company “sucks at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform, and we’ve sucked at it for years”, and the realisation that we have to have an online personal brand and persona, as well as just, you know, an actual IRL personality, and suddenly that digital detox I roll my eyes at sounds more and more tempting.

With all this in mind, the latest exhibition at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) should be worth a visit for anyone who’s ever felt their head get a bit ‘crowded’ from the modern world. Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age (between 5 March – 17 May 2015) explores the complex relationship between technology, society, and mental health.

It’s hardly ground-breaking news to learn that today’s society is characterised by a constant use of digital devices. Simultaneously, most of us face some kind of mental health issues during our lifetime, affecting either ourselves, or a friend or family member. But how is our use of technology connected to our wellbeing, and how does it affect our values and the way we see ourselves?

Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week 2015 (11 – 17 May), works by designers, researchers and artists will encourage visitors to rethink their understanding of mental health and wellbeing, by exploring the past, present and future of mental health and wellbeing in relation to societal values and technology.

A variety of digital tools including apps, games and online forums will be displayed, illustrating the diverse ways we use technology to manage and mediate our emotions in the 21st Century.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the exhibition is certainly The Vacuum Cleaner’s major new commission Madlove, supported by the Wellcome Trust and The British Psychological Society (BPS). Based on the artist’s own experience of psychiatric hospitals being punishing rather than loving environments, he has worked with members of the public to collaboratively-design a more appropriate asylum. Madlove features advisors from across the health, high education and science as well as design sectors, including principal partner the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool.

“I began to struggle with my mental health at the age of 17; suffering from depression and anxiety,” The Vacuum Cleaner revealed in interviews prior to the exhibition. “By 19 I was admitted into my first mental hospital, for a year, and began to become fully aware that they aren’t conducive with good mental health.”

Just what is it that fails institutions?

“Aside from the fact that mental health is dangerously underfunded; there is no consideration for how the space is designed and the impact it has on a patient’s mental health. For me personally, and many people I’ve spoken to, you can often leave these places more traumatised than when you entered. A locked word, no access to outside space, nothing to do, boredom – it can feel more like a prison which is so messed up. You’ve done nothing wrong, you’re just ill.”

“This project is a test of the research that we’ve done so far – we’ve held seven workshops across the country and worked with people with mental health issues, and other stakeholders, about just what a good space entail.”

And the name – why The Vacuum Cleaner? Cocaine addiction?

“No, no. When I began making work, like a lot of street artists, a lot of it was on the boundaries of being illegal so I don’t work under my own name to protect myself. The Vacuum Cleaner comes from an exhibition I did called ‘Cleaning up after Capitalism’ in which I cleaned the streets of Wall Street and the City of London.”

Group Therapy: Mental distress in a digital age will also display how artists use new technologies to enable visitors to explore the feelings of themselves and others. Lauren Moffatt’s 3D stereoscopic film Not Eye deals with the anxiety and paranoia created by a society saturated with images. The common perception that technology distances us from our bodies is challenged in George Khut’s interactive installation The Heart Library, where the user’s heart-rate influences the colour and sound of a large, ceiling mounted video projection – digitally connecting body and mind. Katriona Beales’ new commission – an installation combining sculptural elements with moving image and audio – responds to the emerging field of Internet addiction and has been created in dialogue with Henrietta Bowden-Jones, neuroscience researcher and specialist in Internet addiction.

Vanessa Bartlett, who is co-curating the exhibition with FACT’s Director Mike Stubbs, says ‘Group Therapy proposes that art and the creative use of digital devices can challenge dated ideas about mental illness, helping to reduce stigma and encourage open discussion about our personal wellbeing.’

Part of the exhibition is also an interactive archive showing 20 years of FACT projects for participants with mental health issues, in which artists have been working closely with the community in creative projects as well as created digital tools that support mental health. These projects have been organised in collaboration with various mental health organisations, including Mersey Care NHS Trust.

Other artists include Dora Garcia, Kate Owens & Neeta Madahar, Quintan Ana Wikswo and Katriona Beales.

Group Therapy: Mental distress in a digital age

Exhibition at FACT, Liverpool: 5 March – 17 May 2015

See also: Follow at FACT Feat. Shia LaBeouf

Interview: Jamie Carragher

When it comes to Scousers, Jamie Carragher can’t ever be far from the mind when conjuring up an image of the stereotypical Liverpool lad.

The Bootle born defender spent 17 years with LFC, their second-longest ever serving player, and retired in 2013 as a one club man. He’s now a media darling; with newspaper columns and a pundit job on Sky Sports alongside fellow ex footballer (but still current rodent lookalike) Gary Neville.

When we clocked that he followed Scouse Bird Problems on Twitter apparently on the recommendation of his own Scouse bird (and he only follows 143 accounts by the way – nail emoji, ‘too fab to care’ hair flicking girl emoji) we cheekily DMed him and asked for an interview. As you can probably guess, given that you’ve clicked a link about a chat with Jamie Carragher, he agreed to it as he’s a total babe.

Given that Carragher has an accent so strong it requires subtitles now and again (“If you think mine is strong, yer wanna hear me dad!”) we were little nervous about having a chat over the phone but even with a dodgy connection (EE, you really are useless) no translator was required.

(NB: I’ve omitted quite a lot of ‘erms’ that came from the pair of us over the course of the call.)

Hi Jamie. First things first, we’ve got to ask – just how devastated would you have been had LFC actually won the league last season, just a year after you’d retired? Be honest.

Oh yeah, I would have been absolutely gutted to miss out having been there so long.

There was a tweet around this time last year that pointed out you’d have been a bit like the bloke that left the party early then the orgy started.

(Laughter) No, I would have been 50/50; the other part of me would have been made up for the supporters, my family and friends and my son – he was absolutely heartbroken. There was certainly a bit of me professionally that was thinking “What could have been?” – No doubt about it that there were parts of me that felt both ways.

Your first year after leaving LFC involved watching them almost win the league – any advice for fellow one club man, Steven Gerrard for when he jets off to LA Galaxy at the end of the season?

Forget Liverpool; forget the football club and what has been – look forward. It’s brilliant what he’s achieved, he’s a better player than I ever was, but he can’t look back. I’ve only been to Melwood two or three times since I retired – I’m doing other things now. People think it’s strange that I don’t have much contact with the club but I think it’s healthy – when you’ve left, you’ve left. Stevie should let them move on and he can focus on something else – LA, or whatever he wants to do. When you finish, if you’re not involved with the club then stay away and get on with your own life.

So we’re not going to see you as an aspiring LFC manager in the near future?

Oh listen, I still love me club; I’m still passionate about it and maybe in the future if a job came up, or if the club wanted me involved, but it’s not something I think about on a daily basis. I go to the match with me dad and son but that’s as far as it goes. I’ve got other things to focus my energy on; I’m working on TV, newspaper columns and speaking with Scouse Bird Probs

Now you’ve mentioned Scouse Bird Problems, you must have some Scouse Lad Problems for us?

Erm let me think….. Back in the day everyone used to have to wear a Lacoste tracky and Adidas Trojans, which were alright at the time, but you look back now and think ‘Fucking hell.’

Funny story actually; me son asked me for a pair of 110’s the other day and I thought that was the name of them so I’m in town asking for 110’s. The fella in the shop was telling me that’s the price of them but they’re £115 now! 115 quid for a pair of trainees!! He’s got them but they’re Nike 115’s in our house.

The other week LFC announced a partnership with Nivea Men which comes complete with a TV advert. What do you think about these footballers and their grooming habits? Ever tempted to have a word in Phil Neville’s ear about the fact he’s still getting highlights in 2015?

Oh we had it all with Jason McAteer with the Wash & Go advert – I think Joe Hart does it now, doesn’t he? I actually think the Nivea Men advert is quite funny – Jordan Henderson is really good in it.

I mean, I’ve started using a bit of face wash since I stopped playing so I can’t say too much but players dyeing their hair, putting highlights in – Phil Neville….It’s embarrassing; not just for a footballer for any grown man.

86632128 Football 272219C

What? You want me to head the ball? I’ve just had my roots done mert, you serious?

Speaking of The Neville’s – do you actually like Gary Neville these days since you started working together?

I can’t believe I’m saying this but yeah, I do actually. He’s been a really big help to me since I’ve started out in the media; he’s been doing it longer than me so he’s been able to give me a hand and we’ve got to work as a team. We do joke together, and there will always be that Scouse/Manc rivalry, but it has changed since when we were playing for England and I maybe only spoke four or five words to him.

Not exactly roommates on England trips then. Who was the worst player you ever played alongside or against?

The worst has to be El Hadji Diouf. Actually, I quite enjoyed playing against him as you could kick him them – can’t kick your own players.

And the best?

Stevie, obviously – gotta get a Scouser in.

Let’s discuss Scouse Birds – favourite thing about women from Liverpool?

I will argue with anyone that there is no set of women that will dress better than scouse women on a night out. No doubt about it.

(Make your bosses at the Daily Mail aware of this fact come Aintree please, Jamie)

Ultimate Scouse crush – you can’t say your wife!

Margi Clarke (laughter)

Nicely done. Best thing about the city?

You know what; I don’t class Liverpool as a city – it’s like a village. Everyone knows everyone, all the bars and clubs – it’s not too big. You can be anywhere in town and get a phone call from someone and they’ll only be round the corner. The sense of community, the spirit of the people, the size, the humour – there is nowhere better in the country.

Scousers are known for their colloquialisms – what are you favourite scouse words or sayings? Arlarse? Beaut?

I like boss. Actually, the word I use all the time is sound – if something’s alright it’s sound as a pound.

Any funny stories with players not understanding your accent in the dressing room?

To be honest, I think a lot of the foreign lads, when I’d speak to them, would just nod and not have a clue what I was saying – just thinking ‘Won’t say anything then he won’t lose his temper.” (Laughter)

One final question (and we’ve saved it until the end in case you get a cob on and hang up) – Are you a Red or a Blue deep down? We know you were an Evertonian growing up – is there really a hidden tattoo?

Oh I was a big Blue growing up, I’ve never hid that, but I’ve never had a tattoo.

I was a big Evertonian, no doubt about it, but I’m a Red – Liverpool, deffo. I’ve been through too much with the club and made too many friends along the way.

Liverpool through and through.

Red or a Blue, you can’t argue that he really is Liverpool through and through.

Jamie Carragher 007

XOXO

Once again HUGE thanks to Jamie for taking the time to chat to us!

See also: Nivea for Men & LFC Team Up

Nivea for Men & LFC Team Up

How did you spend Thursday afternoon last week? Don’t bother answering – I’m only asking so I can tell you what I got up to and show off. *Painting nails emoji*

Since you asked….. I was invited to Anfield for the official announcement of Liverpool FC’s partnership with Nivea for Men; the club’s new official grooming partner.

NM And LFC Logos

With Nivea Men being the world’s number one male skincare range, the Reds really have got the best in for Gerrard, Balotelli and all the other players whose names I don’t know.

The purpose of the day was to officially unveil the Nivea Men television advert, which features Oscar winning performances from Jordan Henderson, Simon Mignolet & Raheem Sterling, and give journalists the chance to grill the players on their latest addition to the CV.

 

Given the nature of the event, a mix of football and beauty, there was a mix of sports journalists and lifestyle writers & bloggers. When it came to the Q&A with the players, a few sniggers could be heard from those who seem to think that writing about football is more Pulitzer Prize worthy than reporting on an industry worth £16 billion. Even though sniggering is snide, it was actually unintentionally hilarious to hear Henderson, Sterling and Mignolet trying to describe their grooming routine as anything more than ‘a shower and some hair product.’ Personal highlight:

Reporter: “Now we’ve discussed your grooming routine, what are you wardrobe essentials?”

Sterling: “Clothes.”

Fair play to the lad though, the only other logical answer is ‘hangers’.

When it comes to the product range in question, Nivea for Men, I must give it two big thumbs up. Mainly because I received a huge bag of freebies which means I’ve boxed off my fella’s birthday and Christmas presents for the next year. I’ve already nicked the shaving foam which is fabulous. If Nivea could arrange a similar event for a women’s range that would be fantastic as I’m coming to the end of my Christmas smellies.

Here’s a behind the scenes shot of Jordan Henderson topless. You’re welcome.

Jordan 1

See also: Interview: Jamie Carragher