World of Chig   

40 in 6 days: 2000

2000 was a year of change and of travelling for me, with three trips abroad; Gran Canaria in January, Stockholm in May for Eurovision and Ibiza in September. I quit my job in August, then went to the V2000 festival and then to Ibiza for the first time, which was a wonderful way to wind down...until my Grandad died suddenly at home while I was away. I've never been able to go back to Ibiza because of the memories attached to that.

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40 in 7 days: 1999

..and today I've been road testing the food for my party next week! Yum, yum!

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It's done! The lovely Mike and the equally lovely K are legal! They have taken each other up the aisle this afternoon. Asked if he felt any different afterwards, Mike said he was "no longer alternative and counter culture". So, there you go.

Congratulations to both of you! I'm glad the wedding civil partnership ceremony went well and I hope the honeymoon holiday goes as well as, if not better than, last week's hugely enjoyable stag weekend away.


UPDATE: Photos now here on Troubled Diva.

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40 in 8 days: 1998

40 in 9 days:1997

I haven't gone away, but I have a mountain of things to do in preparation for a certain 'happening' in nine days' time. Normal service will be resumed at the weekend.

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Fab Four

What a show! Take That were fantastic! I feel thoroughly entertained. We all enjoyed it. Gary, Mark, Howard and Jason seemed to enjoy it too, and I can't remember when I last saw such a bouyant crowd of people making their way to the car parks. Even the people in the traffic jams seemed happy. The lads done good.

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40 in 10 days: 1996

Ten days. Ten days? Yikes! See yesterday's comment about the photos - I'm off to see Take That!

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40 in 11 days: 1995

...and I'm not really in for the next few days. Those photos will be back at the weekend...

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In your shops now

There's a 'hilarious' and 'informative' preview-type thing about (some of) next month's Eurovision songs in the new gaytimes, which you can purchase right now from shops or t'internet. Modesty forbids me from mentioning who wrote it. (And thank you Richard for inserting a good joke which the original writer didn't write. Obviously, I'm not going to say which one it was, so that people think it was me...)

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40 in 12 days: 1994

...and I'm sure those pesky photos are around here somewhere...

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Back for good three minutes

We're off to see Take That at the NEC on Wednesday, but the tour started tonight in Newcastle, and Robbie was in the show! Not in person, but as a reported 'hologram', with a message and a newly recorded vocal for Could It Be Magic. Hurrah!

They opened with Once You've Tasted Love, did their famous Beatles medley and walked in the aisles amongst the fans. Beverley Knight not only supports them, but also does the Lulu part in Relight My Fire. (At the stadium gigs, you'll get Lulu herself.) The guys also perform Back For Good in the rain, which leads to Jason getting his top off! They'll all have 'flu before the end of the tour, so I'm glad we're getting to see them this week.

A female fan who was there has reported on Five Live that there were some men there, and she thinks that not all of them were gay.

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40 in 13 days: 1993

Back from a brilliant night out in Manchester last night, and a beautifully sunny St. George's Day on Canal Street today, but wishing I'd sought out the photos from 1993 onwards before now. Unfortunately, I haven't. There are boxes to go through, but not tonight...

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40 in 14 days: 1992

Quiz time! Where was the photo below taken, and which TV series made this location incredibly famous in the decade before?

Also, a reminder that no one has yet answered my pop quiz question from the 1986 posting.

Good luck to Jon and Toby tomorrow in the London Marathon! It's the first time I've ever known people running in the event and I was going to go, but then I was invited to Manchester. Back Sunday night. Bye!

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Like buses

Isn't it strange? You wait 39 years and five months before you go on your first ever stag weekend and then, only seven months later, you're going on your second. So, that's why I'm getting a train to Manchester this morning, and going out tonight with Mike (and a select bunch of his chums), before he and K tie their knot next Friday in a private civil partnership ceremony. K doesn't do crowds or clubbing, so this is just Mike's thing. Now, I know this whole civil partnership social etiquette thingy is all so new that we don't quite know how to behave and what to call things, but I figure that if you're getting 'married' and you're the marital partner who's not going on the stag night, that makes K the 'bride'. Yes, I'm sure that's the correct terminology. I must tell him this before next week.

Anyway, we are under strict instructions from Mike NOT to call it a stag night, because it's not a wedding. After the notwedding, Mike and K are going away on a nothoneymoon. That's perfectly understandable, but unfortunately it means they won't be at Birmingham's social event of the year on 6th May, but somewhere hot with beaches instead. I'm sure it will be dreadful for them.

And now, at 00:26, with some of the clothes I intend wearing over the weekend still damp and draped over the radiators - great planning - it is time for bed. Have a good weekend y'all! Our full itinerary for tonight in Manchester is here, so if you fancy following us around town, I will probably have you arrested for stalking you're very welcome.

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40 in 15 days: 1991

"And what do you do?"

Happy 40th Birthday x2 today to a Mrs Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Windsor of central London. Obviously the World of Chig is an anti-monarchist woolly liberal socialist republic, but we bear no ill will towards the poor cow and her dysfunctional, money-sapping family. It's not her fault she was born, 80 years ago today, in the time of Al Jolson and the General Strike.

Well, when I say no ill will, that wasn't quite the case when she 'forgot' to pay the insurance on Windsor Castle and then got the Tory government to agree to pay for the refurbishment. If she'd offered to pay for my kitchen door when I was burgled and the insurance company said it wasn't damaged 'enough' for them to cough up, it may have been different, but she didn't.

Oh, and there was the 'totally misjudging the public mood' when Diana died.

And those bloody awful pastel shade Hardy Amies outfits that only she could ever dare to wear, but no one ever should.

Not to mention the husband.

But apart from all that, we're sure she's very nice really and we secretly hope that she hangs on for so long that public interest in the monarchy tails off completely and that the ridiculous, outdated institution comes to an end when her life does.

Anyway, back to the 40th birthday photo album of some other queen...

Taken on my Gran and Grandad's golden wedding anniversary.

At a family friend's wedding. But where are the other people? Why are Chig and his sister standing in a field? Well, the other people are all behind the camera and in a field because the bride and groom left the wedding in a helicopter, that's why!

Just one of many pictures of my sister pulling that face. That is her photo face. Obviously, I look brill, especially in that hat.

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The secret is out

It's been a weird day today. Really weird. I'm a bit busy too busy at the mo to explain, but I just have to share this with you. Nicki French and I have done the decent thing...

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40 in 16 days: 1990

Tomorrow, we may well mention someone who'll be celebrating their double 40th birthday. Hmmm, I wonder who that could be? It's had so little publicity...

In the meantime, the countdown to my own 40th reaches the 1990s, and you'll be thrilled to know that the fashion disasters and hair colouring experimentation haven't been left in the 1980s...

At the wedding of my closest neighbour and playmate from birth until secondary school (who I now haven't seen for many years). So, who does my sister look like this time?

White Levi's! Time for another comeback, surely?

Christmas at my grandparents' bungalow. I love this picture, especially since 2000, when my Grandad died.

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40 in 17 days: 1989

40 in 18 days: 1988

Why Eurovision is more important than you think

Here's a serious BBC report from a Radio 4 journalist about Eurovision in the former Yugoslavia. I had the pleasure of watching the Serbia & Montenegro final live on TV, on the day that Milosevic's death was announced, and it was the television event of the year so far.

This article is connected to a programme that's due to be broadcast this Thursday at 1102. (But there's always the 'listen again' facility.)

(Thanks to Michelle for the link.)

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40 in 19 days: 1987

May 1987 was a busy month for our family, with my 21st birthday followed by my sister's 18th just sixteen days later. Note to prospective parents: this is what happens when you have children almost exactly three years apart, so bear it in mind.

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It's been a long time since they had a teenage life

I've seen the comments boxes below, so, not wanting to disappoint Adrian, Diamond Geezer, or the Schlagerboys (even if the latter are currently in the land of schlager that we know as Sweden), here's the picture they were expecting of Daz Sampson et moi. This was taken in the early hours of yesterday (Sunday), after Daz's performance of Teenage Life and Kung Fu Fighting (the number 8 hit that he had under the Bus Stop name in May 1998).

Daz was very well received by the Nightingale crowd. He only had two girl dancers with him, and they weren't in school uniform, but I told him we would be wearing it to the final in Athens (so it's a good job my Mum gave me an old school shirt and tie yesterday). We had a good chat backstage. He's a really decent bloke, very down to earth and very enthusiastic about going to Eurovision.

Athens, the Brits are coming! With some school desks! In a van!

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40 in 20 days: 1986

1986 was a year of varying hair colour for Chig, but let's gloss over that and have a quick Pop Quiz!

Which album's inner sleeve is on the wall in this first photo?

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40 in 21 days: 1985

I was lying yesterday when I said there were no pictures of me from 1985. (When you look further down, you may wish it were true.) What I meant was that there were no pictures from 1985 in my Mum's family albums, which I ransacked a few weeks ago. That's not surprising, as I left home in September 1984 to go to university, so from hereon in, most of the pictures are in my possession. It was just a matter of going through the albums on the shelves in the spare room. Brace yourselves. Sensitive readers and lovers of fashion may like to look away now.

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Daz Sampson, Nightingale, Birmingham, tonight.

See you there, Eurovision fans!

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40 in 22 days: 1984

Quiz time! Who is this sporting celebrity of 1984, making a guest appearance at my school's 'Olympic event', in advance of the Los Angeles games later that year?

The day of my 18th birthday:

I couldn't find any photos from 1985, so we'll be back on Sunday with 1986.

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40 in 23 days: 1983

40 in 24 days:1982

Happy 40th Birthday x10

And it's a very happy 400th birthday today to Jack. That's Union Jack, or 'Union flag' to give him his proper name. It was officially created on this day in 1606, but not quite looking as it does now, because the Irish bit (the red saltire or diagonal cross of St. Patrick) was added later. Why not celebrate this 400th anniversary by buying a pointless souvenir? (Other pointless souvenirs are probably available from adverts inside your newspaper's weekend supplement.)

Some people were campaigning to change our flag, but they seem to have given up.

Chig feels very strongly that the Union flag, the flags of the four UK nations and in fact all flags, including the Kernow flag of Cornwall, should be reclaimed by their people and waved proudly. If our flags come to be associated with the far right and extreme nationalism, then those people have won and we must fight to get them back. I don't like the fact that our flag is associated strongly with royalty and government; it belongs to all of us, so we should use it.

When I've been to Eurovision (yes, there's always a link), it makes me extremely proud to wave the Union flag, even when I've known that our song is rubbish, because the atmosphere is exactly as it should be; friendly and good-naturedly competitive. It's not war - it's fun. It's also great to see people waving the flags of other nations that they support, simply because they like the song. My British friend Joe had a massive Albanian flag at Eurovision 2004; the year of their first entry, for exactly tha reason. At Stockholm 2000, I found myself seated next to Swedish people, and for the three minutes that Roger Pontare was on stage, I felt Swedish, standing on my chair, waving the little Swedish flag (which had cleverly been left on all the chairs) like a mad thing. I have a feeling that this year I will be wearing or waving something Croatian to support my favourite song in the entire contest (especially as it doesn't seem to be very high on many other people's).

I've done my bit recently for exposing the Union flag to a wider international audience. If you have a recording of last month's Melodifestivalen final, watch the beginning of Linda Bengtzing's performance. You will see a Union flag swaying backwards and forwards over her right shoulder (ie. left of screen). That's me, that is!

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40 in 25 days: 1981

Happy 40th Birthday!

Born this day in 1966, Lisa Stansfield. Many happy returns to Rochdale's second most famous female singer.

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Daz Sampson's video is out, and jolly colourful it is too. It's one of those videos that proves you don't have to spend a fortune on CGI or outdoor locations to make an impression. It's all studio based, but it's really memorable. It's certainly a whole lot better than Javine's video from last year, which looked like it cost about a fiver, which they spent on a coloured light bulb, to shine on her as she writhed around in a barn. If the phrase 'locker room scenes' makes your heart skip a beat, you should watch Daz's video now. (It's not smutty and the lads in the video can't go to Athens anyway, as the maximum quota of six people on the Eurovision stage is already filled by Daz himself and the five 'over 16' schoolgirls.)

You can watch Daz's video on his official website, or download it here. (Go down to 'United Kingdom' and right-click on 'Music video'.)
Daz's single is due for release three four weeks today, on 1st 8th May. (Now postponed for a week, to accommodate more of his European promo tour.)

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40 in 26 days: 1980

40 in 27 days: 1979

We're back up to date with the photos, so today is 1979. For most of the previous years, I was spoilt for choice with the abundance of photos, but when rifling through the family albums for 1979, this was the only half decent one of me (and it isn't even half decent). We must have become bored with photography in 1979. Perhaps it was in protest at these rounded corners. Don't they look awful? I hated them at the time and I hate them now.

This was apparently taken at a pet show, with my hamster, Pebbles. I have no recollection of the event. No, that's not a crash helmet I'm wearing - it's my haircut. Paul Weller probably thinks it looks cool, even now, but I don't.

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40 in 28 days: 1978

(Oh, how I've longed for a chance to use that Prince song title!)

Incredible! Sunderland have been saved from relegation snow!

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I only bet on two horses in today's Grand National, Numbersixvalverde (because my birthday is on the 6th) and Hedgehunter (because I thought it might repeat last year's win). They've just romped home in first and second! Fan-bloody-tastic! That's the second year running I've bet on the winner. (Last year I gambled on three horses.) It also comes only three weeks after I pocketed a 'massive' £15 for winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup sweepstake at work, which I didn't even realise until four days later, as I was in Stockholm at the time and forgot to check the result.

The sun is shining here in Brum. I've been out in it and my Paddypower online betting account balance has just shot up from £26.60 to £71.92 (for only ten pounds gambled). What a lovely day!

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40 in 29 days: 1977

40 in 30 days: 1976

40 in 31 days: 1975