My Memo Moan

Well, we are not even out of the woods of that chaotic Christmas time yet and I’m already looking for bold Barrybados 2020 adventures.

Just spied the latest Nick and Shirley Hodges tasty tour on my trusty facebook feed so that’s a diary date for sure.

I absolutely love what the married duo have done with these free treats – giving us a taste of the time before, and helping the town’s tourism too.

Been on the Barry Dock Victorian outing which as an afternoon of fun and frolics that ended up with a dirty deed and a pint at the Castle Pub.

The dirty deed was a gruesome back in the day murder, the pint was very much here and now and slid down a treat.

I’m also desperate to try out the High Street Trade Quarter Tour too but just could never quite catch up the calendar with the dates designated.

And I also totally support the historic Hodges fight for a much-needed museum in our town to highlight our history and showcase the stories of old.

Now I hear that the couple are looking to take us on a reel around our town’s fountain of stage and screen at the Barry Memorial Hall so will definitely be up for that.

I have mixed feelings about ‘The Memo’ vibe actually – and its nothing to do with Barry Town Council who are based there.

Totally take on board, the their initial bid to become a bit more upmarket and I strongly supported the raising of their game during my B&D Editor days.

What I don’t get is why, all these years later, we still don’t make the most of Barry’s biggest live music, drama and film space.

Stage shows, bands, gigs, ‘am dram’ and other stage staples seem to be working like clockwork but the cinema side, in my view, is sadly lacking.

Yeah, yeah I know that films are shown at the Memo with increasing regularity, National Theatre Live is due to be beamed in, and those eclectic ‘Exhibitions on Screen’ are already advertised.

But every time I’ve popped along to a showing, it’s been almost empty, the chairs have given me a bad back, and its bloody freezing.

The Bar was open which is always a bonus, and we were chucked a blankie to wrap warmly up in, so total thanks for that thought.

For me though, the biggest killer is the complete lack of atmosphere.

I think back to those packed Saturday Theatre Royale film showings of old as we all trooped in to take in the latest big screen blockbusters armed with goodies from the store.

I absolutely loved the vibe, the darkness, the torch-bearing Usherette and even the occasional peanut being lobbed over the balcony – remember that!

No sure why we can’t catch those moments again, sans flinged foodstuffs, at The Memo.

I can so hear you shouting for me to take my rose-tinted Sunnies off – whilst also taking my tongue firmly from my cheek.

But I really do believe there’s some prime potential for a packed Picture House for all ages.

In my view, we could learn a lot from our near neighbour Arts Centre in Canton.

Chapter Arts have a welcoming walk in, a bustling bar, crammed café, gorgeous gallery, top theatre and two cute cinemas – without losing the bread and butter income of the various clubs and groups that meet there.

Call me controversial but I’d even go as far as dumping the Memo main stage for film showings and turning the upstairs rooms into a at least one cosy and cwtchy cinema.

And I’d soon sort out some fabulous, but not too fancy, food in the bar area – not advocating oysters but a burger in a bun would be a start.

No, I’m not just being nostalgic either, I just think that with no cinema left in the town, this is an idea well worth exploring, especially with a captive market waiting in the wings.

Totally get that the Memo is also a prime party venue – I had my own Wedding Evening Party, and Handsome Harry’s Christening there – not on the same day I hasten to add.

But surely, in the words of my work world, there is a ‘workaround’ that could keep the party bookings, carry on with the stage and music stuff, with some rather radical cinema renovations added on top.

For someone who has seen four films, two theatre screenings, a play and enjoyed at least one cheeky tea at Chapter, within a month, it would certainly grab my attention.

So silver screen dream or a real life resolution, you decide.

Well worth a thought though isn’t it?

Speak soon.

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Happy Mondays Live

The Happy Mondays always take me back to my joyous Journo college days of the early 90’s when I was mostly wearing a yellow smiley face Tee, blowing the obligatory whistle, and dancing around manically to the ‘Madchester’ sound.

Thirty years on and their 24 Hour Party People Greatest Hits Tour reminiscently reminded me of why I still love the Salford soldiers’ sounds of those saw salad days so much.

Take my back to those times I thought as they stepped on to the Student Uni stage to a crazy crowd of Old Skool Ravers – mixing it up with the legions of new fans not even born when Bob’s Your Uncle first burst onto the scene.

Well I say stepped – that was just the backing band. Shaun Ryder practically swaggered, Rowetta skipped and shimmied whilst the ever-entertaining Bez quickly crash landed with his trusty maracas clutched tightly in hand.

No change there then. The Happy Mondays have always been one of the most eclectic acts to emerge from the 90’s rave scene.

Formed in 1980 by Shaun Ryder and assorted others they cut their musical teeth in and round the Manchester pubs and clubs, notably the infamous Hacienda,  before being signed to the iconic Factory Records.

For me, they perfectly personify rave and all that goes with it – the sound, the style, the colourfulness, and the chaos.

A genre they made their own, especially when the powerfully-voiced Rowetta joined in 1990 to make Step On one of the sounds of that era.

And it’s still the song that turns it on today along with the rest of the band’s big Manchester scene back catalogue.

Twisting My Melons Man lit large by the laser light show that beamed bold as they played a ninety minute set of their classic fusion of funk, house and psychedelia.

Tracks such as Clap your Hands, Rave On, and Hallelujah show the songs are as fresh now as all those years ago.

For me, The Mondays sum up the rawkus rave scene and there’s not one tune I dislike in their smiley face reportoire.

Frontman Shaun Ryder is still a powerful presence. Dressed in black, he stood almost still for the whole set, baseball cap pulled nearly to chin,  gutturally singing the songs.

A complete contrast to the sweet-souled Rowetta who was ever near, and ever vocally strong, as she gently guided him through their greatest hits.

As for Mark ‘Bez’ Berry, well he never ever takes a day off does he. He bounced and bounded all over the shop, swinging and shaking his maracas.

And playfully provoking the adoring fans into mirroring his moves.

The band’s backbone, bassist and brother Paul Ryder, drummer Gary Whelan, guitarist Mark Days, and keyboardist Dan Broad stayed solidly in the shadows.

They played the seminal Step On to finish the nostalgic night before an encore of The Egg and Wrote for Luck brought the psychedelic curtain down.

Four years ago almost to the day, I had stood in the same mad mosh pit, with the same gorgeous Gig Girls, when The Mondays touted the triumphant Thrills, Pills, and Bellyaches tour.

That perfect live performance of the outstanding 1990’s album, produced by my fave House DJ Paul Oakenfold, left me and the crowd crying for more.

A sentiment rapidly repeated by Friday Night’s feeling.

Roll on 2023 then!

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good

You can exclusively read her singular adventures, when she is out of the town she is so passionately proud of, here.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Sully Dove Saga

Flippin’ eck, whoever said doves were symbols of peace sure didn’t see it all kicking off at the Captain’s Wife this week.

My much scrolled Facebook feed has been full of outraged ornithologists flapping over the fate of a bunch of birds and their babies.

The ill-fated decision by the Sully pub to just block up the dovecote has even been described as ‘barbaric’ and ‘cruel beyond belief.’

And whilst I’m no fan of our feathered friends, I think our bird-loving locals have kind of got a point.

So does the Sully pub now apparently. They have done a u turn unblock of the 80 year old structure quicker that you can sing the famous Prince song.

Bit harsh wasn’t it to just fill the whole thing in, leave the doves, and their young, allegedly trapped in the tower.

And then call the cops on the powerful protestors – even those who managed to cleverly cut some of the captive birds out.

Even harsher is the lesson learnt by the Captain’s Wife who certainly felt the pain and pressure of a successful social media stir up.

It went so viral it filled local feeds, made national news, led to the sharp shut down of the Pub’s Trip Advisor Page.

And saw investigations started by both the RSPCA and RSBP – not the SWP though who confirm no law was broken.

A local bird rescue group has now been called in by Mitchells and Butler, who own the cosy and cwtchy pub on the coast, to tackle the dovecote dilemma.

Defending their decision to block the building, they say that the mass of birds flying in and out caused a serious issue.

And they cite both Health and Safety, and Hygiene reasons, for the rapid removal.

I get that too. I’m certainly no expert but am vaguely aware that birds can carry a whole host of disease including ecoli.

Who wants to sit slurping in a bright beer garden on a sultry Summer’s day next to a dovecote of potential danger – not me.

Although to be honest, I’ve been going to the Captains Wife since I was a naughty little nipper and I’ve never even noticed the bloody thing.

I was always more caught up in the legendary ghost tales of haunted happenings there.

So I must have thought all that cooing was a spooky spectre or something.

Surprisingly, I also read this week that people flock from all over just to see the darling doves.

That’s news to me too. I just go for a sizzling steak, a pint of Peroni and the cracking company.

Whatever. I just hope that this week’s mayhem means the birds stay safe, the public protected, and a sensible, not sealed up, solution is sorted.

Talk about storm in a dovecote.

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved

Two Sides Town

Well, what do you reckon to all this fancy talk of us having our very own little Marina then – how posh is that!

Admittedly I’m waiting with bated breath to see if this is just nautical nonsense that will never get afloat.

Or if it’s a sea worthy solution to do up our Docks and take our Town’s tourism to another level.

The Vale Council, who can’t even run a Contact Centre never mind an ambitious idea, are keen though.

Hand in hand with Associated British Ports (ABP) they have forked out the funds for a feasibility study.

And are already talking of the cliched ‘challenges and opportunities’ the potential wet Waterfront wonder would bring.

Never thought I’d see the day when I’d spy a yuppie’s yacht floating past as I pootled to Morrisons with my trusty More card.

But stranger things do happen at sea so I have thrown a life belt on my sinking feeling.

To be honest, I will also grudgingly admit that it does make sound sense to always suss out some more surefire success – especially in an area that has seen a rapid renaissance recently.

Hangfire, the hugely popular hog roasty type happening, was the first to slip onto the scene, closely followed by the aspirational Academy.

Add an Asda, a purple Premier Inn and a massive million pound Good Shed foodie and work place project.

And the once barren land is unrecognisable from not just my childhood but my kids too.

The once desolate Dockland has also been beautifully boosted by the hordes of aspiring young professionals settling in our seaside town.

Discouraged by Diff’s pricey property market, the socially mobile Millennials have cannily moved into the site’s happy little homes.

Many of which have been built quicker than the wait for a booking at the aforementioned Hangfire.

Finally, if we throw in the lovely Island link then the much maligned Barry of old is a distant memory – only revisited on Nick and Shirley’s valiant Victorian Barry Dock Tours.

What a reputational rise in seeing our town become a magnificent magnet for regeneration and rejuvenation.

Barry, once the largest coal exporting port in Britain, before a slow decline and a fast downward dip in the car crime ridden 80’s, is back with a bang.

But, and here’s the real rub for me…only in certain areas.

In my view, our much loved birthplace is in definite danger of becoming a town of two halves.

The wonderful Waterfront side with its shiny new homes, trendy foodie feasts, potential upmarket marina.

All lovingly linked up to the Gavin and Stacey boosted Barry Island, complete with Danter’s daring plans and the toilet block building bonus.

And the stark East End side with its half-hearted Holton Road shopping centre, the controversial incinerator-hosting Cadoxton.

With the poorly perceived Gibbonsdown – still recognised as one of the most deprived areas in the country.

Of course, there’s many, myself included, who love a bit of mix and match and get to wherever the party’s at.

But even that sometimes feels like living in a parallel universe as the divide starts to widen.

Let’s be absolutely crystal clear here too that I’m not making any judgement on any of our resplendent residents – old or new.

The size of your heart and the strength of your character sets your vibe for me, not what home you lay your proverbial hat in.

I just sense a possible town split, the like of which we see so starkly up the road with the widely different Cardiff Bay and Butetown.

One is tarted up to the nines but has no soul or warmth, the other is a vibrant community full of life and laughter.

I would so hate that to happen here.

In my view, what we need is community cohesion driven by tourism solutions and property plans that benefit the whole of beautiful Barry.

Fingers crossed for a miracle Marina then!

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Caitlyn’s Trans Trial

How ironic that in the week of Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR), we saw some of the worst cases of transphobia.

And right out there as bold as brass on our television screens, our social media feeds, and, as always, in the largely right wing media.

The appearance of Caitlyn Marie Jenner, who transitioned very publicly some time ago, on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of here has exposed both the puerile prejudice and outright ignorance of our nation as a whole.

If the fact that her #former name, was twitter trending as the American television personality and retired Olympic gold medal–winning decathlete, stepped into the jungle doesn’t drive home that we still live in a largely transphobic world then please take a seat.

For me, dead naming anyone who has transitioned is crass, insensitive, and I really struggle to see why some people often deliberately do this.

It is also telling, that apart from our ever trusty Pink News, much more column inches, tweets and posts, were given to Caitlyn in a bikini than were ever written about the many TDoR activities, vigils, and events that took place here in Wales, and wider.

For me, it is crucial that we mark the November 20 date annually as a day to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia.

Founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman, to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts, it has slowly evolved into an international day of action.

And quite rightly so that we can draw attention to the continued violence endured by trans people worldwide

My quick internet search shows that, shockingly, at least 22 transgender or gender non-conforming people were killed by violence this year alone.

But we all know that the figure is so much higher. There’s all those non-reported deaths of course.

And you can add on the many crimes committed against our trans friends while you are at it too – everything from verbal abuse to physical attacks to damage to property.

Respect to all those who marked this day, either at vigils across the country – including at our Senedd, and other venues such as Cardiff University, or by showing solidarity on social media through posts, tweets, and blogs.

Just a shame that all this activism was completely ignored by those who could learn the most.

If I’m kind, I’d say that a lot of the Caitlyn Jenner comments are from a place of ignorance and education can play its part in changing hearts and minds

If I’m not, I’d say that many of the chatter is deliberately meant to stir up hate, bigotry and bias against our trans community.

Make no mistake, I’m not a fawning fan of Caitlyn either. I don’t necessarily agree with many of her words or deeds but this is purely from a personal point of view – not because of her gender orientation.

I also absolutely hate reality TV shows too –  why the Hell you would want to watch people living their lives when you could be cracking on with your own escapes me.

Quite partial to a bit of Strictly sometimes mind  I will admit – who doesn’t love the glitz, the glamour, those fabulous frocks –  and a well-executed Fandango.

But generally, in my view, these shows are just car crash TV designed to demean, degrade, mock and make fun.

Never has this been so much magnified than by the hype and hysteria of the first trans female being bold enough to brave I’m a Celebrity.

Not that I’ll be watching the load of old Kangaroo testicles that it is as I have much better things to do.

Get me out of here!

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.

Click here to catch up exclusively on her LGBT life, when she is out and about in the town she is so passionately proud of – and in Wales, and the wider world, too.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Gallagher Gig Shower

Awww, have I mentioned that I was absolutely buzzing after gorgeous Liam Gallagher’s Gig this week.

Bloody Biblical with Darling Daughter and I moving out of Motorpoint, with hearts happy, memorable Merch bought, aching mosh pit pain.

And voices so lost that we had to have a McFlurry on the way home so we could belt our Be Here Now in the Beemer.

Safe in my Sanctuary, it’s then time for my exclusive invite only post Gig party for one.

It’s a given that I’ll be dancing around the room, singing shakily to the songs, and watching the walls wobble with sound, as I come down from those magical musical moments.

As soon as sunlight starts, this writer scurries into the study to throw all my memories and musings on screen.

Until I finally come back to earth with a bump – and what a moody memory it was this time.

Gallagher was gorgeous but some of my fellow Liam lovers were the absolute pits.

Jeesus Wept, what is it with the throwing of full pints of pee at us poor punters at nearly every gig worth going to in Cardiff.

Bizarrely, this only ever happens in this city – think we’ve got a wee problem with this shower…in more ways than one!

Thank God I was wearing a leather jacket that’s swiftly saved by a quick wipe down with a wet dishcloth and a spritz of freshening Febreze.

Lucky also that the Neanderthals who threw the steaming pots had aims as bad as their manners or I would have been in for a seven hour long shower too.

Some poor sods had it much wetter and much worse. I’ve just been reading all the tabloid tales of soaked skin, complete clothes stink, and jackets that can never be worn again.

Liam has offered his heartfelt apology with many fabulous fans also voicing their contempt and criticism.

But, the general consensus from some men, and it is only men who wee in a pint and throw it, is that this is just the norm at a lairy and loud gig.

And if we women and ‘lightweights’ don’t like it then we should stay at home or sit at the back.

Well, I must have missed the memo Mate because in what warped world is seeing a raucous rocker synonymous with being drenched in some random bloke’s pee.

And let’s be honest, you totally do it for the sheer disgusting delight don’t you.

You don’t pee in a pint to save your spot, you get perverted pleasure at lobbing said pee at your fellow fans down the front.

If you are that desperate then you’d just go discreetly, and quietly place on the floor.

I’m not condoning that at all but soggy Superstars or grimy Gazelles is a damn sight better than clothes, hair, and even some poor bloke’s face drenched in the stuff.

In my view, this deliberate behaviour is stomach churning, absolutely disgusting, and I see no solution in sight other than a blanket booze ban inside the actual Gig.

But whether you have or haven’t got a pot to pish in, you mean-spirited males certainly won’t stop this gritty Gig Girl from pursuing her long-time love of live music.

And I’ll always be at the front, in the mosh pit, or sat ringside, so I can get right up close and personal with one of the pure passions of my life.

I’ll just have to don my waterproof Festival Parka and dust off my Stone Roses bucket hat now so I can weather the urine storm with style.

Shame on you!

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.

You can exclusively read MRS SVJ’s singular adventures, when she is out of the town she is so passionately proud of, here.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Rainbow Laces Love

I’m putting out a little plea this week to urge you to ‘Come Out Active’ to support Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces Campaign.

Admittedly, I’ll just be chucking them in my Superstars to mooch about town rather than to run a marathon or smash a squash ball – but surely it’s the thought that count isn’t it!

Seriously though, I’ve always supported this much-needed yearly shout out that was initially launched on the football field in 2013.

It has now spread to community, national and international level – in sports as diverse as cricket, rugby, basketball, judo, netball, darts and cycling.

This is both incredible and inspiring – but, as always, there is unfortunately so much more to do.

Shockingly, in my view, recent Stonewall research shows that four in ten LGBT people still don’t think sport events are welcoming places for people like them.

One in ten, which rises to three in ten in our trans community, also say they have been discriminated against in a sport or fitness setting.

What the Hell is that all about!

Sport, whether played or watched brings so many big benefits. Back in the day, I always loved being part of a team or club.

Now I love cheering on my favourite footie team, and always pop along to watch the many local races, fun runs and marathons.

There is of course the many mental and physical benefits to keeping fit and active too.

I’m not so hot on that one these days so must do better, but would hate to think if I actually got my healthy head back on, that I would be treated differently because of who I happen to love.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s not all doom and gloom, and I do get that there has been great strides in the sporting world which should rightly be celebrated.

The Rainbow Laces campaign has blossomed, with many professional bodies collaborating with Stonewall. There are fan groups affiliated to professional clubs or groups driving change, and there are many powerful Ambassadors out there.

Telling though that there’s not one Out footballer in the Premier league – and I bet there’s scores of other elite athletes who remain firmly in the dressing room closet.

That is why Stonewall are asking everyone to Come Out Active – it’s such a simple way of opening up the conversation, and supporting us all.

All you have to do is sign up, do something physical with your laces in, and tell your friends, family and colleagues about why you support LGBT equality in sport.

Check out how you can play your part here.

Why not get your regular running team to raise some cash wearing the laces, or asking your cycle team to don them whilst on a sponsored pedal?

Spectators can also nip them on, whether it’s when watching the kids’ Sunday morning rugby match, or feeling the pain at the next Bluebirds game.

This is also so not for those that live the LGBT life only. Allies are so powerful so please whoever you are, whatever you play, and whomever you watch, get involved.

The ‘Come Out Active’ starts on November 23 and runs for a week.

It is outrageous that some of our people are excluded, from what for most, is an everyday competing or spectating delight.

Please lace up for us!

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.

Click here to catch up exclusively on her LGBT life, when she is out and about in the town she is so passionately proud of – and in Wales, and the wider world, too.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Joaquin’s Joker Pain

A desperate desire to see one of the most talked about films of this year, saw me patiently wait until my usual weekly cinephile haunt Chapter beamed it up on the big screen.

The film which has been criticised and praised in equal measure was, for me, rather painful to watch.

It was also, one of the most raw, real, powerful and topical movies I have seen for years.

It tells the story of Arthur Fleck, blazingly and brilliantly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix.

Forever alone in a crowd, and struggling with his mental health, the failed comedian seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City.

Arthur wears two masks ‑ the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he’s part of the world around him.

Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, he begins a predictable decline, until one day he just snaps.

And my God, how much did I both emphasise, and sympathise, with Arthur Fleck.

The constant daily struggle to just survive with all the odds stacked against you, the struggle to just keep it altogether, and the optimism that the dream come true is just around the corner.

How much did I feel every physical and metaphorical kick in the teeth he received from an uncaring society who don’t give an absolute damn about people just like him.

Add in the battle with mental health, a childhood of abuse, the removal of any sort of support, and a complete lack of human kindness – and his decline is both uncomfortable and inevitable.

I’m not an Arthur Fleck but I get it. I know many who could be, and I also know there’s many out there in our harsh society who feel his pain.

I also totally realise that not all mental health breakdown ends in violence, murder and mayhem.

But this is a very grim and gritty portrayal of how our world treats anyone who is different.

I would, controversially perhaps, also argue that Fleck is not a born monster but shaped into one by many years of trauma, neglect, abuse.

Phoenix’s portrayal of Batman’s arch nemesis is the best I’ve ever seen. I loved the visual references to the original Marvel story, and of course, the parallels with one of my other all time favourite movies, Taxi Driver.

The 1976 psychological thriller, which was based on the theme of isolation, saw Robert De Niro play an ex-marine and Vietnam veteran.

Travis Bickle then becomes increasingly angry at the sordid society he drives around in every night – before he too snaps in spectacularly violent fashion.

How fabulous then that in Joker, De Niro plays Murray Franklin, the talk show host that Fleck takes to task on live TV before shooting point blank in the face.

My last thought on the film is, is it actually real or is it all in The Joker’s head. History sees him saying that he likes his back story to be ‘multiple choice’ so…

Maybe worth thinking about that, and also, whether true or a figment of the imagination, the film definitely spotlights the growing global mental health crisis that has been brewing for years.

This film is not an easy one to watch – absolutely everyone should go and see it!

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer girl, done good.

You can exclusively read MRS SVJ’s singular adventures, when she is out of the town she is so passionately proud of, here.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Wales Rugby Racism

Flippin’ eck, nearly a month on from one of our nations greatest Rubgy weekends ever, and some are still relentlessly ranting on my timelines.

Just what is it with this ‘Anybody but the English’ crap? For me, this smacks of a pettiness and petulance that borders on racism.

I don’t get it. Wales, please give yourself a clap for making the Rugby World Cup Semi’s. England do the same, and take a little bow too, for being there at the Final.

This is not me being especially generous, just fair. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am so not a Rugby fan. I would rather nail my tongue to the floor with a rusty horseshoe than watch a whole match.

As we always say “It’s football in our house.” And I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

Yeah, yeah, before, you all kick off, I am well aware that soccer has its tribalism too but it’s the egg-shaped ball I am focusing on here.

Telling though that when we Footie fans go turbo it’s hooliganism but when the Rugger sorts do, it’s ‘high spirits’…just saying.

I also very rarely see a Football fan wearing a daffodil hat, clutching a blow up leek, and shouting “Agy, Agy, Agy, Oi, Oi, Oi.”

How the Hell do you even spell that, and what the Hell is that all about anyway.

I cringe when there’s a massive International match and the global eyes of the world are on Wales…and there we are swinging a miner’s lamp, eating Bara Brith, and clutching a pint of Brains!

Ok, that’s a bit of a exaggeration I know but you get my drift. It’s so bloody stereotypical, and whilst we must never forget our history, this is miles away from the small, clever, modern country that I know and love passionately and patriotically.

The English don’t seem to turn up to cheer their team on dressed in a bowler hat, clutching a blow up Big Ben, and drinking a lovely cup of tea do they.

Maybe it’s because Rugby is a working class game here, and a middle class pursuit there – who knows.

Whatever the back story, we can still be proud of all our players of course. And we can be equally proud of any team in our nation, meaning the United Kingdom in this context, who reach a World Cup Final.

Spare a thought too for our many English friends, who now live in Wales and just wanted to cheer their team on without all this hassle.

Surely we judge our marvellous mates by the size of their heart and the strength of their character, not what country’s rugby shirt they wear.

So maybe you will think twice next time before you post ‘funny’ anti English stuff because of a rugby match, or indeed any sporting, or other occasion.

Healthy competition is cool. But it’s so not ok to make people feel bad about where they were born.

And you never know the effect your words, your rants, or your sharing a ‘funny video’ might have.

In my view, this kind of abuse, often described as that awful term banter, is symptomatic of the divisive times we find ourselves in today.

Why not try engaging and debating with those who hold a different point of view or support a different side, instead of dissing and demonising.

We are stronger together than we ever are, or ever will be, divided.

Please be kind!

Speak soon.

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good

You can exclusively read her singular adventures, when she is out of the town she is so passionately proud of, here.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Barry Island Beauty

Snapped up my rather fabulous Barry Island Calendar this week – a snip at just thirteen quid, from our talented local photographer Dave Clemett.

I loved getting my little hands on the collection of perfect pics of the jewel in Barry’s crown.

Called the ‘People’s Choice,’ it features 12 of Dave’s finest photographic moments as chosen by us, the residents, through a facebook poll.

For me, the Calendar is not only a superb snap shot of the Island, but also a chance for our cracking community to support their own.

I think every home should have one – and if you agree, just click this link to buy yours ready for the New Year.

Flicking idly through the Calendar also set me off speculating about the future of Fair – and romantically reminiscing about the Island of old.

How fab is the area now. We have the ever popular Gavin and Stacey effect, the posh plans for the toilet block, wonderful pit stop places like Whitmore and Jackson, the Rumba Bar and Teddy’s Diner.

And just recently I also caught up on Henry Danter’s latest ambitious plans to make our fairground even fabber too.

This includes much-needed holiday flats to bring back what we sadly lost when Butlins was bizarrely sold to builders.

If I remember rightly from my B&D days, it was, and maybe still is, the only headland site ever to be developed as a residential estate.

This, in my view, was a short sighted mistake. For me, the lack of overnight accommodation in a top tourist town is an epic fail that needs to be tackled pronto.

I’m not suggesting we turn the clock back to Hi De Hi holiday camps and those train loads of visitors coming for a fortnight, just something suited for our town today.

Mind you, who doesn’t remember the halcyon days of ‘working over the Island’ in the School Hols.

The racy red Pleasure Park Bib and Brace and the sunshine yellow polo shirt. The illicit swimming in the Log Flume, the testing of the Pirate Ship before shift.

And the sheer terror of that very vertical Funhouse Slide. I still went crashing down head first with aplomb though – always the show off.

I’ll also never forget the excitement of Challenge Anneka filming in the Fair with her infamous Chopper landing loudly on the Prom.

Be honest too, how many people can say they saw the diminutive Pop Princess Kylie at the Radio 1 Roadshow before sloping off to spend hours working the kids’ Caterpillar ride.

Remember then how the 10pm close of play klaxon called and we all clocked out and hopped on that rickety free blue staff bus home.

Happy days with many memories made, and what was most definitely the start of my love affair with the Island.

Thank you Dave, for triggering my trip down Memory Lane with your cute calendar.

And for stylishly capturing how beautiful our Barry Island is today.

How lucky we are to have this seaside speciality on our doorstep.

Find me at the beach!

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.