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Why won’t Newcastle smile? The Results

On Tuesday, a friend and I were stuck in Newcastle, and were rather bored.  Having been to get some lunch, and having whacked seemingly thousands of moles on Holey Moley on the nearest iPlus Point, we decided to conduct a highly unscientific experiment. 

Over the course of a couple of weeks, we’d noticed that people on the Tyne and Wear Metro look, almost without exception, unhappy.  We determined to walk through the city smiling at people, to see how many would smile back.  After about two-and-a-half hours of experimentation, we had counted five smiles.  And some of those were questionable.

So: Why don’t the people of Newcastle smile?

It could, of course, be that two people suddenly smiling at you whilst walking along is more than a little unnerving, but that’s a boring explanation, and I want to think a little deeper.  It sounds a perfect challenge for the people of the interweb – and where better to challenge them than the all-new Yahoo Answers?

Expect an update in three days’ time (I’ll bump the post up, too).

The Results: 17th September 2006
The definitive answer, according to the Yahoo community, is

Sorry, which Newcastle Upon Tyne is this then?? It is a far cry from the Newcastle that I love!! The people there are lovely and have a fab sense of humour. I work in Longbenton, Newcastle Upon Tyne and I love my job to bits!!! Maybe they sensed that you and your friend didn’t like their beloved City!!!

That’s a little unfortunate, becuase it implies I don’t like Newcastle which couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a great city, with great people, and that’s why I was surprised enough to make the post in the first place. But hey ho.

Other notable contributions included these gems:

Because they are always drunk on Newcastle Beer.

They are depressed and you would be too if you had to live there.

Take a look in the mirror. I have never found this.

Don’t ever conduct your survey were I live they would probably thump you first then ask you why you smiled next

It’s called stress, anxiety, and all the other things that make up life in 21st century England, its wiped the smile off our faces.

Coz you should be in the Aussie Newcastle. Even with their problems with unemployment and what not, they still have a great football team (rugby league) and one of the prettiest women ever to win a beauty pagent (Jennifer Hawkins Miss Universe 2004).

Lots of food for thought, and most of all lots of fun.

Thanks to all who contributed.

This post was filed under: Miscellaneous, University.

Cultural barometer reads low for Labour?

Guido reckons it’s a tipping point. Maybe he’s right. Today’s Popbitch tagline:

Like Labour, but popular

Does this mean it’s all over?

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

Labour’s entertaining self-destruction

Previously, on sjhoward.co.uk:

Mr Blair’s statement has put a sticking plaster over his gaping wounds, the question is merely how long it will last. It won’t last seven or eight months. It only needs one comment from one MP, one letter, or one more resignations to painfully tear the sticking plaster away, and it’s just too tempting.

What I didn’t even begin to predict was that it would be Charles Clarke of all people who broke the co-ordinated silence, seemingly in an attempt to register that he hates the world now he’s been sacked. And now Labour’s got itself into an unrecoverable mess. Labour is entertaining complete self-destruction. And boy, is it entertaining.

Labour is divided, and by fielding a realistic Blarite candidate against Brown, as now seems likely, Blair will actually have managed to pull apart the whole party. The longer he remains in office, the greater the sniping, and the greater the division. Fielding a controversial candidate deepens the division still further, and even if a mid-way ‘third’ candidate was found and won the leadership, there’s no way the party would have chance to unite behind such a leader in just two years.

Right now, I can’t see how the next election can be lost by the Conservatives – it would take them to do something pretty damn stupid.

But, y’know, it’s quite fun to watch. Quote of the day comes from The Observer, reporting Tony Blair’s alleged comments about Gordon Brown:

I have never known how mendacious he [Gordon] was, how full of mendacity.

Of course, someone of Blair’s stature would never just say ‘fucking liar’. Not in a million years. Ahem.

And it’s fun watching them trying to pick credible alternatives, too. Let’s look at the options:

  1. Alan Milburn: Mr “I’d do anything to win“, he’s had form for some time, and probably doesn’t warrant revisiting. Ewww.
  2. Charles Clarke: You are kidding, right? Who’d be in his cabinet? He hates the world.
  3. John Reid: Mr “Attack Dog“, also a proficient liar. It would be quite entertaining to see him try to be nice to voters, rather than aggressive. Certainly a favourite from the entertainment perspective.
  4. Alan Johnson: The least offensive, but with the charisma of an earthworm. Labour’s approximate equivalent of IDS. Or IBS.

Actually, my favourite Blairite for the job would be Hazel Blears, and no-one seems to be considering her. Think of the fun of seeing if her ridiculous perma-smile and grating chirpiness could survive a humiliating electoral defeat. Is that cruel? Probably.

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.




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