Friday, 24 March 2017

Friday Frivolity - 80s Music

Friday Frivolity

The 80s is my musical home - at least in spirit! The bulk of my favourite music comes from the decade, and I'm generally obsessed with 80s fashion and movies. Still, I figured for this post I'd feature a few songs about the 80s. I was feeling meta, I guess!


#4. In Love With The 80s (Pink Tux To The Prom) - Relient K (2003).

And I'm only gonna pierce my left ear,
And I've been working on this mustache all summer long,
And my favorite band will always be tears for fears,
And I'm gonna wear a pink tux to the prom.



#3. Acceptable In The 80s - Calvin Harris (2007).



#2. 1985 - Bowling For Soup (2004).

She's seen all the classics / She knows every line.
Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink; even Saint Elmo's Fire.
She rocked out to Wham! Not a big Limp Bizkit fan. 
Thought she'd get a hand, on a member of Duran Duran.



#1. PoP! Goes My Heart - Music & Lyrics Soundtrack (2007).






Thursday, 23 March 2017

Movie Night

Cinema Tickets

Sorting through some of the endless junk in the house lead me to an old scrapbook from my teens. Just check out this page of carefully collected cinema ticket stubs. I can't believe I actually paid good money to see most of these films! Most of them are from the Cineworlds in Newport and Cardiff, and the little paper stubs are from the old Scene 123 cinema in Cwmbran. It opened in 1972 and basically remained exactly the same until it closed in 2013. Apparently it was the last remaining cinema in the UK using an original mirror periscope system.

You can see some photos of the interior - looking much, er, fresher than I remember it - over at the Cwmbran Life blog. As kids we used to go to cinema club there every Saturday morning (£1 admission!) where I saw the 1998 remake of Godzilla about eight times. I went most weeks when I was in sixth form too, usually after my Saturday morning shift as a kitchen help at St. Joe's Hospital in Malpas.

There were three screens, allegedly seating 80, 100, and 130 a piece, but in one screen whole bunches of seats were missing, and in the other people would sit on the floor at the front if it was a popular film. (I remember watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that way!) I think the last time I went was before VUE Cwmbran even opened, maybe 2008 or 2009. I've only ever been to the VUE about six times though. These days I'm too skint for the cinema!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Licensing Committee Explained

Licensing Committee Explained

Welsh local government elections are coming up - May 4th - so it seems as good as time as any to write about the work local government councillors do. I served on Torfaen's licensing committee for two years (iirc!) after being elected in 2012.

Local authorities must have a licensing committee consisting of between 10 and 15 members, as laid out in the Licensing Act 2003. Most decisions are taken at sub-committee level, which is made up of three members and relevant officer support, while full committee receives monitoring reports and updates, in addition to briefings on legislation changes, and makes decisions on policy changes.

The licensing committee is a quasi-judicial body - basically meaning it has judicial qualities but is not as strictly bound by procedure, etc, as a court would be. It has four key objectives:

Prevention of crime and disorder.
☆ Public safety.
☆ Prevention of public nuisance.
☆ Protection of children from harm.

These must be kept in mind at all times as the committee undertakes 'licensable activities' - the retail sale of alcohol, the supply of alcohol in clubs, the provision of late night refreshment, and the provision of regulated entertainment.

[From Wiki: "Late night refreshment" is defined as the supply of hot food or drink (that is, food or drink that is either served at, or has been heated on the premises to, a point above ambient temperature) to the public for consumption, both on or off the premises, between 23:00 and 05:00.]

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Alcohol and Entertainment

[Note: Regulated Entertainment covers plays, films, indoor sporting events, boxing and wrestling (indoors or out), dance performances, live music, and any playing of recorded music.]

This is kind of the bread and butter of licensing work, and covers everything from club premises certificates to personal alcohol licences. Any premises looking to undertake licensable activities needs a premises licence. If alcohol will be sold on site there needs to be a named DPS (designated premises supervisor), i.e. an individual with a personal alcohol licence which can be granted to anyone who has a criminal record clean of relevant offences. Police may advise to refuse a premises application on the basis of the suitability of the DPS however.

Variations to licence conditions will also be considered by the licensing committee, in addition to applications for renewal. Again the advice of the police, along with representations from the public, will be taken into consideration.

TENs - temporary event notices - are short term licences to hold entertainment events. In truth they are basically a notification to the licensing authority; applications must be received at least ten days before the event is due to take place and, providing everything is in order and the police have no objections, there is little the LA can do to impose further limits on the event.

Alcohol

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Animal Licensing

This covers a variety of activities: animal (i.e. livestock) movement, dog breeding establishments, horse riding establishments, animal boarding establishments and kennels, zoos, pet shops, keeping of dangerous wild animals, and performing animals registration (for the training or use of animals for performance, including circus, advertising, film making, etc). [Torfaen Page]

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Charitable Collection

If you're raising money for charity, you need a licence. These come in two types - house-to-house collections and street collections permit to collect money or sell items in the street. [Torfaen Page]

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Food Businesses

Food premises - including market stalls, delivery vehicles, etc - need a food premises registration or a more formal approval which serves as a licence. Street cafes, i.e. refreshment facilities on the highway, also need to be licensed.

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Gambling

All premises that offer facilities for gambling - from bingo halls to arcades to pubs with more than two gaming machines - need to be licenced under the Gambling Act 2005. Small Society Lotteries - i.e. charity lotteries where the maximum single prize is £25,000 - also need to be registered with the licensing authority. (Private lotteries, free prize draws, and small scale raffles are exempt.) [Torfaen Page]

Gambling

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Leisure and Personal Treatment

This covers a really wide range of licences. For example, you need a licence to perform hypnotism in public for entertainment (seriously!), to operate a caravan and / or campsite, and to run a skin piercing (inc. tattooing) business. You could also include sex establishment licences under this header, for sex shops, sex cinemas and venues which offer live displays of nudity - strip shows, lap dancing, etc.

Brothels are still technically illegal in the UK, but sometimes operate under massage and special treatment licences. Torfaen is one of the few licensing authorities in the UK which does not require therapeutic treatment premises to be specifically licensed, so this was never an issue I encountered!

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Private Hire Vehicles and Hackney Carriages

I never knew what the difference between these was before I went on planning committee! A private hire vehicle must be booked in advance and cannot be hailed from the roadside. Hackney carriages, on the other hand, can be hailed at the roadside - they carry the TAXI / TACSI roof sign. To drive either you need to have a licence from the local authority you're operating in. Successful applications depend on following national legislation and the specific authority's policy; for example in Torfaen all drivers must complete child sexual exploitation awareness training. Read more at the TCBC page.

At panel level the licensing committee will grant licences, and also decide whether or not licences should be revoked for infractions ranging from inappropriately sexual banter with customers to smoking in their vehicle. Decisions can be, and often are, appealed at magistrates' court.

Taxi

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Roads and Highways

Licences are required for various road and highway related activities, from the construction or extending of a building on or over a public highway, to street works undertaken by individuals or businesses that involve digging up or altering a pavement or road. Other activities covered under this heading include petroleum licensing for the selling or storing thereof, skip permits (for skips to be placed on the highway, roads, pavements or verges), skip operator registration, and public weighbridge operator certificates. [Torfaen Page]

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Scrap Metal Dealers

Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 dealers - including mobile salvage operators - must hold a licence. In each local authority area a dealer can have either a site licence OR a collector's licence. Licences last three years and are designed to prevent metal theft as all sales now need to be conducted via cheque or verified electronic transfer for compliance. [Torfaen Page]

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Street Trading

This covers market stalls, car boot sales, and other public sales. For more information check out the Torfaen page.

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More widely, the licensing department works closely with the police, planning, Trading Standards, etc, to ensure that licence conditions are adhered to and that the law is upheld. This might be spot checks of taxis to ensure vehicles are up to standard, or following up reports of sales of underage sales of alcohol. Cuts to this area will tend to result in this kind of proactive licensing being the first victim - staff will draw up conditions, but getting them imposed can require manpower which simply isn't available.




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Politics and Opinion




Sunday, 19 March 2017

This Week

The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on - It is never of any use to oneself
Life This Week

It's been ages since I've done one of these updates! This week has been pretty standard, nothing particularly exciting to report. I had healthier scrutiny committee, and planning committee, and a meeting of the Gwent Police and Crime Panel. Possibly other things I've already forgotten about...

Photo of the Week
Marianna looking dapper
I Have Been Mostly...

☆ READING: I scanned in a news clipping about the launch of the poppy appeal last year.

☆ WRITING: About my favourite flowers.

☆ WATCHING: Southland. It's equal parts compelling and frustrating. One episode they're shooting people at the drop of a hat, and the next they're all 'omg, I am totally overwhelmed by this criminal, if only I had some kind of weapon at my disposal...'

 LISTENING: All Time Low. I'm feeling nostalgic for my youth. (RIP)

☆ WEARING: My engagement ring. I thought I had lost it last week, but I found it under a pile of paperwork upstairs.

☆ EATING: Pizza. :)

☆ REVIEWING: N/A.

On the Blog

I scanned in a couple of drawings I did for Marianna's baby book, and shared some Wales memes for Friday Frivolity.


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This Week - Weekly Overviews




Saturday, 18 March 2017

Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day

CSE - child sexual exploitation

Today is CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation) awareness day. CSE is exactly what it sounds like - children being targeted and groomed by adults for the purpose of sexual assault / rape. It doesn't just happen in the big cities either. CSE is a major issue across the UK, not least because so much of it is online based.

CSEDAY17

#CSEDAY17 is all about raising awareness of the CSE warning signs.

CSE Warning Signs

Awareness isn't only important for police, parents and carers. Anyone and everyone can spot the signs of CSE and report them.

CSE don't mask the problem

There are a number of initiatives in Wales to help tackle CSE, like Operation NetSafe. (Click the banner below for more information.) To report CSE to Gwent Police ring 101.

NetSafe

To show your support for the awareness day, join the Thunderclap #HelpingHands project. Check out the website.






Friday, 17 March 2017

Friday Frivolity - St. Patrick's Day

Friday Frivolity

Our theme for this week is St Patrick's Day but it's not really a thing here because each part of the UK has its own patron saint. Wales' is St David - we celebrate him along with Welsh identity in general on March 1st. So here are some Wales memes instead. :)










Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Angels

angel with stars
angel with stars

A couple of sketches I did for Marianna's baby book... there's a reason I don't draw. xD



Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Poppy Appeal News Clipping

Service Launches Poppy Appeal

South Wales Argus clipping, 31st October 2016.

My nan always saves me the clippings from the local newspaper when Marianna is in them - I've been meaning to scan this one in since November. (Somewhere along the way it's suffered a bit of wear and tear... It says a lot about my filing system, I'm sure!) Mary sent me the original photo too:






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15 Seconds of Fame - find me in the press


Monday, 13 March 2017

Favourite Flowers


Spring is coming! So what better time to share my five favourite flowers?

Foxglove

#5. Foxglove

Thanks to reading way too much prettily illustrated fantasy as a kid, foxgloves always make me think of fairies. The shape and the colours are so delicate.


Lily

#4. Lily

Lilies are so elegant and beautiful. I love them in colourful hybrid form and, of course, the association of the plain variety with death speaks directly to my inner goth!


Montbretia

#3. Crocosmia

They're usually called Montbretia here, but the American name is much prettier - Falling Stars. I love the colour contrast of green and orange, and they're winter-hardy.


Snapdragon

#2. Snapdragon

I like snapdragons for basically the same reasons I like foxgloves, just with the added bonus of more bright colour. Apparently they symbolise graciousness and strength.


daffodils

#1. Daffodil

Daffodil is actually the common name for a whole bunch of similar flowers in the Narcissus genus. In Welsh they're known as Cennin Pedr or 'Peter's Leek', which is why they serve as the national emblem of Wales alongside the leek. I've always loved them for their bright colour, the interesting shape of the trumpet, and the fact they just look like a happy kind of flower!


What are your favourite flowers?





Friday, 10 March 2017

Friday Frivolity - International Women's Day

Friday Frivolity

March 8th is International Women's Day - last year I wrote about my fictional female role models, and the year before I went with an essay about super popular late Victorian / Edwardian author, L.T. Meade.

This year I'm sharing my favourite songs about being a woman. :)


#5. Just a Little Girl (2002) - Amy Studt.

'Cause I'm just a little girl, you see / but there's a hell of a lot more to me.
Don't ever underestimate what I can do / don't ever tell me how I'm meant to be.

I loved this song so much in my teens! It hit #14 in the UK charts in 2002 and I bought both the single and the album on the back of it.



#4. G.I.R.L. (2005) - Robots in Disguise.

You like to throw up words / speak to us as if we got germs.
And label us with junior terms / G-I-R-L - GIRL!
It's not a dirty word!

I love my electro-pop and I was hugely into RID back in the day. I like the punk vibe of this, and the video is super fun too.



#3. Video (2001) - India Arie.

Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don't.
Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won't.
Depend of how the wind blows I might even paint my toes.
It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul.

This is such a feel good song about being yourself and not being a slave to what other people say you should do / look like.



#2. Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves (1985) - Eurythmics ft. Aretha Franklin.

More awesome electro-pop.



#1. Girls Just Want To Have Fun (1983) - Cyndi Lauper.

It's a classic!



Friday, 3 March 2017

Friday Frivolity: Kids' Books

Friday Frivolity

Our house is overrun with kids' books these days - some brilliant, some not so brilliant, and some that have to be read over and over and over for no discernable reason... Still, they're probably better than the ones I was obsessed with as a kid.

I was absolutely terrified of this book, for example, and spent years trying to remember what it was called to see if it was really that scary. Hmmm, not so much! Especially when you consider that I used to put it backwards on the bookshelf so I wouldn't accidentally look at the front cover.

The Dirty Old Teddy by Enid Blyton

This pic is of the latest edition, but mine didn't bear much resemblance. It was bound with sellotape and was generally falling apart. I loved it though and, to be honest, I still have a soft spot for it. It's about three brothers who run away from home to find an uninhabited island - only to discover that they're not quite so alone after all.

Grasshopper Island by Joy Whitby

Matilda Mouse lived in a shell house. That's pretty much the story right there, but I loved the illustrations, and it probably helped inspire my love of miniatures and doll houses too. Just look how cute the cover is:

Matilda Mouse's Shell House by Heather Buchanan





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